Your God Is Too Small

He translated the Bible while hiding from a power hungry tyrant.

Martin Luther? Nope. He was a British pastor in the early 1940s who had grown tired of teenagers in his church not being able to engage with the Shakespearean language of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.

During Hitler’s focused air attack on the city of London, known as the London Blitz,  J.B. Phillips spent his time in bomb shelters penning a modern translation of the New Testament. Atheist turned Apologist, C.S. Lewis, was one of the biggest supporters of Phillips endeavor. He later turned his attention to demolishing false constructs of God in his book, “Your God Is Too Small: A Guide for Believers and Skeptics Alike.” He explained over a dozen incorrect constructs of God, followed by a robust biblical explanation of the Creator of the Universe.

Starting next week, I will begin reoccurring weekly posts (on Tuesdays) of  an excerpt from Phillips work. Each post will provide one description of a false view of God from the book with a few thoughts and comments of my own. The following excerpt comes from the introductory comments of Your God Is Too Small:

It is obviously impossible for an adult to worship the conception of God that exists in the mind of a child of Sunday-school age, unless he is prepared to deny his own experience of life. If, by a great effort of will, he does do this he will always be secretly afraid lest some new truth may expose the juvenility of his faith. And it will always be by such an effort that he either worships or serves a God who is really too small to command his adult loyalty and co-operation.

It often appears to those outside the Churches that this is precisely the attitude of Christian people. If they are not strenuously defending an outgrown conception of God, then they are cherishing a hothouse God who could only exist between the pages of the Bible or inside the four walls of a Church. Therefore to join in with the worship of a Church would be to become a party to a piece of mass-hypocrisy and to buy a sense of security at the price of the sense of truth, and many men of goodwill will not consent to such a transaction.

It cannot be denied that there is a little truth in this criticism. There are undoubtedly professing Christians with childish conceptions of God which could not stand up to the winds of real life for five minutes. But Christians are by no means always unintelligent, naive, or immature. Many of them hold a faith in God that has been both purged and developed by the strains and perplexities of modern times, as well asby a small but by no means negligible direct experience of God Himself. They have seen enough to know that God is immeasurably “bigger” than our forefathers imagined, and modern scientific discovery only confirms their belief that man has only just begun to comprehend the incredibly complex Being who is behind what we call “life.”

Many men and women today are living, often with inner dissatisfaction, without any faith in God at all. This is not because they are particularly wicked or selfish or, as the old-fashioned would say, “godless,” but because they have not found with their adult minds a God big enough to “account for” life, big enough to “fit in with” the new scientific age, big enough to command their highest admiration and respect, and consequently their willing co-operation.