God Of Our Church Alone

We rarely hear the term “concubine” these days. But when I was growing up in Korea, quite a few rich men had concubines. One of my friends was actually born to a concubine mother. A concubine’s children were usually adopted by their natural father and raised by a stepmother. It must have been hard for them to grow up among their stepbrothers and stepsisters. And it must have been just as hard for the natural sons and daughters to live with someone who shared the same father but had a different mother. I remember reading an article in which the author described the odd feelings he felt when he first heard someone call his own father “Dad”.

I had similar odd feelings last Sunday. One of the Korean churches in Houston had a building dedication service and I was invited to give a short speech. The building was large and beautiful and many guests were there to celebrate together. The building committee chairman made a progress report where he acknowledged God’s guidance and expressed his profound gratefulness to the Heavenly Father. The pastor of the church choked up with emotion when he tried to speak of the goodness of the Heavenly Father.

While I was listening I found myself thinking, “Why are these people calling my Father their Father?” It was then I realized that on some level, I saw God as our God only, one who cares only about our church!

It is easy to fall into the trap of privatizing God. And this belief always leads to sin. When people see God as the God of their race alone they become arrogant and despise other races. When people think of God as the God of their nation alone they become willing to start holy wars and become oppressors. When people think of God as their group’s God only they tend to condemn other Christian groups and turn themselves into a cults.

We are proud of our church. God has truly been using us in a mighty way. But we have to remember that anything good that happens occurs purely by His grace. God wants everyone to be saved. Many churches are indifferent to this. But we understand God’s desire and have focused our ministry to reach the unsaved. And God has blessed us. But if we put our pride in the church instead of in God Himself, His blessings will cease.

Some of our church members still have a desire to invite other church members to our church so that they can be saved and grow into strong lay ministers. But this kind of mindset is similar to thinking that our church is the only place where God works, and God is the God of our church alone. We must always keep in mind that God rejects the proud.

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