Recently I came across an article, published in The Journal of Student Ministries – a publication that is publicized by Youth Specialties – that truly dissapointed me. In this article entitled The Limits of God’s Grace, written by Tony Compolo’s son, Bart, we are told that the author feels the need to define what kind of God is worthy of His worship. This stunning quote by an “evangelical” leader is horribly off base, in my opinion. Here’s a portion of what Campolo had to say:
Some might say I would be wise to swallow my misgivings about such stuff [like God’s sovereignty, wrath, hell, etc.], remain orthodox, and thereby secure my place with God in eternity. But that is precisely my point: If those things are true, then God might as well send me to Hell. For better or worse, I simply am not interested in any God but a completely good, entirely loving, and perfectly forgiving One who is powerful enough to utterly triumph over evil. Such a God may not exist, but I will die seeking such a God, and I will pledge my allegiance to no other possibility because, quite frankly, anything less is not worthy of my worship.
Please, don’t get me wrong. I am well aware that I don’t get to decide who God is. What I do get to decide, however, is to whom I pledge my allegience. I am a free agent, after all, and I have standards for my God (emphasis mine), the first of which is this: I will not worship any God who is not at least as compassionate as I am.
I was honestly flabergasted when reading this. To think that one would have the audacity to claim that their position as created one would ever allow them the freedom to determine who or what their God is prior to choosing to serve Him is simply beyond my comprehension. One of the key truths, in my mind, in this walk of faith is the idea that I must submit to God regardless of my comfort with His person.
In my opinion, I take comfort in the truth that God is far more complex than I can understand. I readily accept both His grace and His awesomeness. I am satisfied to know that He can easily destroy me (so as to underline His power) but that He chooses not to (so as to underline His grace) and that He does, at times, choose to utilize His power to cause the end of people (so as to underline His justice.) This is not a cause for me to deny God, or to turn away from Him, but rather it is an opportunity to accept Him in His awesomness and therefore revel in His grace. I am satisfied that Malachi 3:6 is correct, and because of that I can trust Him in all His mystery.
So, what are your thoughts? Is Campolo on safe ground by determining the worthiness of God prior to choosing to worship Him?
HT: Justin Taylor