In the period of our present time system (Gregorian Calendar), the world has done everything to change God.
The majority of America’s churches teach that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. though when they would look at the person many take as their god and the God of the Bible, you would expect them to see that they are totally different entities. One is an Eternal Allknowing Spirit God, not having birth nor death, and having no flesh, bones or blood, and Who can not be seen by man. The other person they take for god, is called the son of God in the Bible, and was born and seen by many people. That man of flesh, bones and blood also had to learn everything and at the end of his life still did not know a lot of things; He even did not know when he would be coming back or when the Last Days would take place, which would be very important and not to be missed moments for all people.
Lots of Christians and certainly lots of Americans do not seem to see those differences between those two Biblical characters. Considering their country’s near-400-year history, can we honestly say that their concepts and perceptions about God haven’t evolved?
In a column for CNN, Matthew Paul Turner wonders if the contemporary American God is the same as in 1629, when the Puritans began organizing a mass exodus toward their “Promised Land”?
Is our modern God the same as in 1801, when Christians at a revival in Kentucky became so filled up with God’s spirit that they got down on all-fours and barked and howled like wild dogs?
More recently, is our God the same as in 2000, when born again Republican George W. Bush won (sort of) the presidential election by rallying America’s then thriving evangelical electorate with a Jesus-tinged GOP rhetoric he called “compassionate conservatism.”
The truth is, no. God is likely not exactly the same as God was yesterday, not here in the United States, not among America’s faithful. Here, God changes.
According Matthew Paul Turner the American’s making God into their own image isn’t a new trend. He recognises that they’ve been changing God since Anglo Saxons first stepped foot onto these shores of the New World. He gives five examples.
1. The Puritans’delusions, who had the idea that God had chosen them and ordained their prosperity before the foundations of the Earth.
2. God creates evangelicals. One of the biggest influences of the Great Awakening was how God altered the way he interacted with America’s people.
3. America falls in love with Jesus. Looking at Baptist and Methodist, congregations which boasted a more laid-back approach to worship and faith as opposed to the stuffy religiosity of Congregational and Anglican gatherings. – The simpler approach to Christianity that Methodists and Baptists offered would eventually be tested by the nation’s debate over slavery, a conflict that divided America’s churches long before it divided a nation.
4. America’s apocalyptic obsession In the decades after the Civil War, America’s Jesus-focused Christianity led to John Nelson Darby’s apocalyptic-heavy theology, dispensationalism. Among evangelicals, dispensationalism also cultivated a culture of fear, defensiveness and carelessness about helping a “doomed world.”
5. The Billy Graham effect As the country sought healing after World War II, Americans began searching for hope in the God-smorgasbord that Christianity had laid out, from Bible-believing fundamentalism to Holy Ghost-inspired Pentecostalism, from education-minded Roman Catholicism to progressive-leaning high church spiritualism.
Today, most Christians can’t distinguish between God and GOD®, which has made America’s deity into a superpower, an almighty deity that can be mixed with just about anything, from enterprise to politics, from hate campaigns to promises of prosperity.
Here in America, God is constantly changing. It’s a divine story that we edit and manipulate—sometimes innocently and sometimes intentionally—into our own narratives.
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Matthew Paul Turner is the author of “Our Great Big American God: A Short History of Our Ever-Growing Deity.” The views expressed in this column belong to Turner.