Twenty years ago, in April of 1993, Time magazine reported that many Americans (presumably, one might imagine, the more sophisticated and discerning ones) were abandoning the time-tested foundations, precepts, and doctrines of traditional Biblical Christianity and had begun, as the magazine put it, “shopping for a custom-made God”.
Apparently, a “new” and more fashionable and trendy faith was emergent on the American scene.
The search was on for a god more suited to the “felt needs” of the population, a god more in line with and attuned to the fast-changing, progressive lifestyles of the people….a friendlier god much more willing and able to cater to each individual’s tastes and fancies. The search was on for a perpetually smiling cheerleader deity dedicated and committed to approving each and every moral and ethical leaning no matter what, a tolerant god of good will and good intentions whose sole purpose would be to boost everyone’s Self-Esteem. The search was on for an non-threatening, always-affirming, psychotherapeutic-god who would listen quietly to our wants and needs, nod and jot down notes from time to time and settle our disturbed emotions until everything was “all better”.
Conservative Christian theologian John MacArthur describes this dreamy brand of therapeutic theos-concocting as “quasi-Christian narcissism” and notes that it has “ replaced the glory of God with the satisfaction of man…[a process and plan by which] our submission to His will is replaced by His submission to our will.”
The phenomenon is nothing new. Jesus, after all, did warn his Bride about the tares among the wheat1 and the wolves among the sheep2. And, of course, the epistles of John, Paul, Peter and James re-enforced the Lord’s teaching to beware.
The “shopping for the custom-made god” goes on today just as it has always done before3, and we ought not be surprised…..nor should we be simply passive and dumbly silent in its most predictable presence.
We Want God To Be Our Mascot,
(Not a Just, Consuming Fire…)
We need God to be just “caring”…
One who winks at every lust,
One who follows our commandments,
And who puts his faith in us.
We want God to be our mascot,
(Not a Just, Consuming Fire…)
One who meets our expectations….
THAT’s the God that WE require!
We want God to be our lapdog…
Yes, a puppy we can school.
Just a friendly little fella
We can scold and overrule.
What we need’s a god who’s happy
Spreading only sheer delight….
Yes, a pliant, perky Fido,
Who just wags and never bites.
We demand a god who’s helpful,
Plus, obedient and sweet!
We require it!……And that’s FINAL!
One who’ll curl up at our feet.
We need one who’ll just roll-over,
One who heels and begs and sits….
Yes, a best friend and a “buddy”,
Who won’t bother us a bit.
We need one who’ll fetch our slippers,
Who’ll submit to our command…
One who overlooks our errors,
And will eat treats from our hand.
We prefer God inoffensive
One that’s neutered, calm ‘n’ tame…
One who’d never call attention
To our sins or cause us shame.
That’s the pedigree we’re after,
Just a lovey-dovey pet,
One who’s bred for our convenience…
Yes, a good god in our debt.
"Since the truth may not be what we would prefer. It is revealing that so many people today express approval by saying, "I'm comfortable with that," and disapproval by saying, "I'm not comfortable with that." Comfort is important when it comes to furniture and headphones, but it is irrelevant when it comes to truth."
Lord, how easily we are led astray. Please help us recognize the foolishness of our misguided ways. Help us to see and to confess this sin of Pride within us. Indeed, help us to recognize why You came to dwell among us…and why You so graciously offered yourself, Son of God and Son of Man, on Calvary. Father, have mercy on us all….