Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thinking "Gross about God"

I wanted to take up John Piper's challenge to read through John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion in one year (one of the most significant books ever, an explanation of Protestant theology addressed to the King of France, Francis I, written when Protestants were being killed by the thousands), but it felt a little ambitious.
Instead I have a book called 365 Days with Calvin. Calvin was an incredibly clear thinker and communicator, deeply and passionately committed to God's Word, and a lover of the church. Here is a short excerpt from yesterday's reading to whet your appetite: "'To lift up prayer,' therefore, is to pray in such a manner that our hearts do not grovel on the earth or think anything earthly or gross about God but rather ascribe to him what is suitable to his majesty."
Consider the Greeks with their wicked gods. One can live quite comfortably with that kind. But in Psalm 50 God rebukes the wicked who "thought that I was one like yourself." If you find yourself defaulting to an earthly view of God, you may want to be especially careful to begin prayer with some acknowledgment of God as the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, majestic, holy, and Almighty. It fits the model for prayer that Jesus gave.

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