Author, Pastor J.D. Greear explains how our “small” perception of God can propel doubts, misunderstanding
RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 13, 2017 – A 2016 Pew Research study exploring why individuals left their faith found 49 percent of those who call themselves religiously raised said a “lack of belief” led them to move away from religion. According to a 2017 Barna study, 65 percent of Christians admit experiencing serious doubts about their faith.
J.D. Greear, pastor of the Summit Church – one of the fastest-growing congregations in America – explains how many of the problems we experience in faith—from doubt to anxiety, insecurity and apathy—arise from a conception of God that is too small. Rather than approaching God for who he is, we have opted for a god that is safe, domesticated, convenient, practical and manageable. In his new book, “Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems,” releasing Feb. 6, 2018 from Zondervan, Greear points out this “small” version of God is actually holding us back from genuine, confident and world-transforming faith.
“I am the product of a Christian culture that has fostered and promoted a small, domesticated view of God. The Western Christianity in which I have been immersed focuses on the practicality of faith,” said Greear. “We present God as the best way to a happy and prosperous life. We show how God is the best explanation for unanswered questions and the best means to the life we desire … These shallow glimpses of God are fine as long as our faith remains untested, but they are utterly insufficient in the midst of serious questioning or intense suffering.”
While many feel ashamed of their doubts and confused by their lack of passion, in “Not God Enough,” Greear honestly opens up about his own struggles with faith and shows how they were overcome through a vision of the awesomeness of God. It was, in fact, Greear’s doubts that first led him to this deepened experience of faith.
“The inability to understand the ‘why’ of God’s ways has been the greatest challenge to faith since the beginning of time. It certainly has been mine,” writes Greear. “When we are in the throes of pain, it is difficult to feel assured of God’s wisdom and love. But if God is as big as Scripture says he is (and as big as the creation itself demands that he must be!), then our inability to perceive his purpose doesn’t mean there’s not one at work. Our inability to discern God’s purpose has more to do with how limited our perspective is.”
Throughout “Not God Enough,” Greear explains how the way to overcome doubt, and other struggles of faith, is to understand the sheer magnificence of God. Using Scripture, personal anecdotes and current illustrations, Greear shows how God’s major attributes, including his wisdom, holiness, love and wrath transform our lives. What we think about God, Greear demonstrates, is the most important thing about us.
“Our vision of God determines whether our beliefs will make it through the inevitable storms of doubt, temptation and suffering,” said Greear. “The real God is not a god who simply makes us feel sentimental during worship; he is a God who humbles us and transforms us from the inside out.”
“Not God Enough” boldly addresses some of the top issues causing disbelief or uncertainty in faith in contemporary Western culture. These include the existence of hell, God’s desire for his own glory and suffering experienced in this world.
“There are things about God that can be difficult to understand, but that makes him a God worth serving,” said Greear. “A God we can predict, instruct and control is not a God who will captivate our affections or command our devotion. A God small enough to be understood is not big enough to be worshipped. Instinctively, we crave an awesome God, not a deified version of ourselves. A God whose presence is so magnificent that we’re not sure whether we want to draw close or run away. This is the God we find speaking to us in the Bible.”
“Not God Enough” will release nationwide on Feb. 6, 2018. For more, visit http://www.zondervan.com/not-god-enough.