None of us do it intentionally, but we all do it. We "make" God too simple. American Christians easily "make" God simple. I have heard church movements springing from the American restoration movement are the only churches that historically began in America. All other church movements have roots in other nations and continents.

Historically, the Church of Christ as a church movement is distinctly American. We claim it is "our restoration movement." The fundamental attitudes and principles of that movement are "our attitudes and principles."

When we easily use the word "our" regarding God's purposes and will, it is too easy to wrestle ownership from God. It is too easy to make the church about "us" instead of God. We do not mean to or intend to. In our minds, that is not our intent. In fact, we are so intent on not taking the church away from God and not trying to control God that we would declare we never, never do that.

Yet, each time we Americanize God that is what we do. We do it each time we Americanize God's work, will, purposes, organization, goals, objectives, priorities, and interest. We say we seek God's will. [Seeking God's will is excellent!] Yet, often, we actually are making God conform to interests and ways that make sense in America.

Monday morning Stefann Phomasone stopped by to visit. He just has completed his studies at Sunset. He plans to live in Fort Smith for a few months before returning to teach and preach in southeast Asia. His level of commitment is astounding. He voices his faith in and love for Christ in six languages. He eagerly anticipates his return to that area of the world, but he will make excellent use of his time before going there.

Sunday night a group returned from their annual trip to Guyana to reach out to people in several towns medically and evangelistically. Late this week, another group will leave for Mexico to work with the City of Children in Ensenada.

Once again, I was reminded God is not an American. He cannot be Americanized. God through Jesus Christ is active throughout the world. God loves people of the world. Through His grace He relates to people regardless of culture, environment, level of education, daily opportunities, or level of prosperity--even in America.

While we want to relate to God intimately as our spiritual Father, while we want to come to Him in confidence in our most penitent moments (Hebrews 4:16), we must never cease holding God in awe. We always want to remember that God made us in His image. We do not make God in our image.

To think that God loves us more than any other people is conceit and arrogance. To think that God loves us less than anyone else is faithlessness and distrust.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 24 June 2001

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