Why we need to stop defending God

“Never think that you need to protect God. Because anytime you think you need to protect God, you can be sure that you are worshipping an idol.”-Stanley Hauerwas

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who is a “truth defender” or a “God defender”? They know every single bible verse and they quote it to you too. They have to fight you on every doctrinal belief or stance you have because “they have the “biblical” one”. It’s so hard talking to people like this. It’s almost like when they read the bible, they learn it but they completely miss the point. Its stuck in there head but it didn’t transform who they are. They’re more invested in being right than actually loving and caring for the person sitting across from them. They hold “defending the truth” above helping others, kind of like how the Pharisees held “defending the law” over helping others.

My problem with people like this is that they are trying to defend something that doesn’t need to be defended. I wonder if they really believe that if I were to engage God in a battle, if I could really come out victoriously. So are we really going to defend something that doesn’t need to be defended? Are we going to get violent and angry over defending God? It seems like we lose love and peace, the very essence and ways God demonstrates himself to the world when we do this.

I kind of look at people like this like a person who is fighting tooth and nail over why “gravity doesn’t exist”. How sad would it be for a person to not believe in Gravity? They actually believe their body and everyone else is somehow floating around in the atmosphere like a stray balloon. If this person started making this argument hopefully we just reveal our deep-rooted pity for them. We all know Gravity exists, it is true. If we actually believe God is true, then we can hold to the same faith that we hold in gravity.

Is it really about God? Or are these people more interested in being right? Is it more gratifying for us to be right than to be loving and peaceful? And, when this person attacks “God” they themselves take offense because they feel attacked, not God. I am not condoning bad doctrine or theology, actually the latter, because a Christian with bad doctrine often paints a monstrous image of God. But, my hope is that we can realize that God is God, and we’re humans. Let God defend us petty humans, and, let us defend each other, rather than us violently opposing each other over something that stands True.

My hope is that we can learn to love and serve each other as Christ did for us, rather than defend something that doesn’t need defending.


11 thoughts on “Why we need to stop defending God

  1. Mike,
    So true. I have been in the same situation, and at the core of it, I felt attacked. My pride made me want to defend God. It didn’t really matter how much I shared because the other person had a comeback.
    The truth is that I am learning to become a better listener. It is taking a lot of practice for me. It seems that sometimes people just need to be heard first.
    I love your quote, “let God defend us petty humans and let us defend each other.” I want to live like that.
    Keep writing, Friend. Great stuff.

  2. Yesterday in church, I heard a compelling take: After the resurrection, Jesus tells his disciples that they are to be his witnesses. Not judges, not defense lawyers, not prosecutors. Witnesses testify to what they have experienced personally. That’s it, and that’s more than enough.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Such an amazing thought and so true. I would be curious in hearing what being a witness looks like for you.

      • I think part of it is humility, but it’s also about willingness. Many of the experiences and seasons of peace I can bear witness to have come in moments where I was willing (and needing) to be met by God. Sometimes even that willingness has been or is a grudging one. And then God has, in the words of a hymn from yesterday, condescended to meet us through the connections of faith communities, through traditions that have no innate value but through which we may meet God anyhow, through those impartations of grace, or through times of prayer, meditation, poetry, sleep, uncanny assurance or profound awe. I guess for me it’s about being willing to say those moments were real, but to do so without trying to prove anything, and without pretending to know for sure that they happen the same way for everyone or that they’ll happen for this or that person at all. I have hunches and hopes, but I suppose I ought to bear witness to the reality that God has deigned to meet me, and that in my life with God, I have come to believe very strongly that God will do so for each of us in God’s way.

      • Mike Friesen says:

        Truly great thoughts and I agree. God loves us and accepts us as we are, God will meet us as we are. You’ve got a lot of wisdom and knowledge to share.

  3. Garrett Ellipsis says:

    Mike, the thing I love most about you and your blogs is that when you write, you put into words what I have been feeling is wrong with Christianity all my life.

    If only people could learn to really love people and show Christ through love instead of using him as a slingshot to snipe people with. “The Sword” is a dangerous analogy for the bible, because then the stupid self-righteous “Christians” start swinging it at everybody they see. When in fact, the person that needs to hear the message the most is the one holding the “weapon” they are so carelessly using.

    Christians like this are in my opinion, not followers of Christ at all. If you need to say and advertise that you are a Christian, then you should really ask yourself it is really the truth. I believe the Bible says something about people will know you are a follower of God by your love. When that love becomes a weapon, what is it then?

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Thanks Garrett,
      You are right. You are wise and much more prophetic than you give yourself credit for. What I love about Jesus so much is that he didn’t defend himself or his divinity when he was about to be crucified. He told them he could use violence with a “legion of angels” but his ways are not our ways. He didn’t defend himself, he continued on with his crufixion, even healing people along the way to it.

  4. Shawn says:

    Good stuff. I sometimes struggle with having to be “right.” God has definitely humbled me in this area many times.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Its part of our ego Shawn. Sometimes, we need to develop ourselves wrongly so God can redefine ourselves rightly. Paul’s statement “through the law, I died to the law” comes to mind. Sometimes, we have to be built up to be brought down.

  5. Hey Mike – exercising a little chutzpah here . . . you gotta read my book. And then (if you like it) you have to tell everyone how it totally agrees with what you have in your blog. They can borrow it at the library or read 2/5 of it on Amazon but they definitely don’t have to buy it. Although I won’t be upset with them if they did. Seriously, I think what you have here is completely congruent with 99% of my book and I think you will really dig it. And it is IVP not a vanity press thing – in fact, I think you have a copy (so you don’t have to buy it). Anyhow – I’d love to see if you agree with me agreeing with you that my book is definitely borrowable.

    Thanks –

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: