Almost five years ago, Paul Washer preached a dramatic message called “Ten Indictments against the Modern Church.” It’s a long, and at times difficult message, but if you want to hear all of it you can go here.
One of the indictments is that the modern church has an ignorance of God. He asks “Do you know why all your Christian bookstores are filled up with self-help books, and five ways to do this or that, and six ways to be godly, and 10 ways not to fall? – because people don’t know God! And so they have to be given all sorts of trivial little devices of the flesh to keep them walking as sheep ought to walk!”
Why this ignorance? In large part, Washer suggests, because our pulpits are silent when it comes to truly teaching who God is. Rather, we teach who we want God to be, who the people want God to be and so on. One way to overcome that is to spend time teaching on the attributes of God as we read about them in Scripture.
Washer says this: At times I am asked, “Brother Paul, please come and do a week long series on the attributes of God.” And many times, I will say this: “Well, brother, have you thought this through?”
I remember one specific conversation, and the pastor replied, “What do you mean, ‘Have I thought this through?’“ “Well, it is quite controversial, the subject that you are giving for me to teach in your church.” “What do you mean it is controversial? I mean it is God. We are Christians. This is a church. What do you mean it is controversial?” I said, “Dear pastor, when I begin instructing your people on the justice of God, the sovereignty of God, the wrath of God, the supremacy of God, and the glory of God, you are going to have some of your finest and oldest church members stand up and say something like this: ‘That is not my god. I could never love a God like that.’ Why?—because they have a god they have made with their own mind, and they love what they have made.”
Wow! Is this true, or is he being overly harsh? Actually, that’s not even the harsh part. Listen to this (or technically, read this…) “I would submit to you that it would be better not even to have a Sunday morning service. Sunday morning is the greatest hour of idolatry in the entire week of America, because the great mass at least of people are not worshipping the one true God. They instead are worshipping a god formed out of their own hearts by their own flesh, satanic devices, and worldly intelligence. They have made a god just like themselves—and he looks more like Santa Claus than he does Jehovah. There can be no fear of the Lord among us, because there is no knowledge of the Lord among us!”
Since hearing that message, I have often reflected on this question: Is that true in my own church? Would our people run from the building because these things about God are unknown? Is our worship idolatry? I pray not. And I have made every effort to be sure that the God we speak of on Sunday and Wednesday and every other day is the God of Scripture: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
In fact, every now and then we do have that study on the attributes of God. We’re starting it again right now. And we’re using a study based on A. W. Pink’s book on the subject as presented by the Chapel Library. I would highly recommend it for use in your church, in your family, even for your personal study.
You can download the study for free from the Chapel Library website, mountzion.org. (Scroll down the studies to the "Doctrine" section and find The Attributes of God). You can also find a printed copy of Paul Washer’s message there in booklet form which you can purchase, or as a download for Kindle, etc. (Just put "Ten Indictments" in the search field) It’s worth your time to read as well.
I pray our churches will recapture a true knowledge of God, and that our lives will be radically altered as a result.