Many of you will know of my ongoing crusade against Christians talking of God as nice, a sentimental view of God. In an effort to convince you more here comes one of the big guns – D. A. Carson. as quoted by Andy Naselli this quote does have wider implications than just about the love of God, it affects the way we view God:
“…popular culture saunters between a sentimental view and an erotic view of love. The erotic view is fed by television, movies, and certain popular books and articles; the sentimental view is nurtured by many streams, some of which we shall think about as we press on, but the result is a form of reductionism whose hold on the culture is outstripped only by its absurdity.
- Applied to God, the sentimental view generates a deity with all the awesome holiness of a cuddly toy,(emphasis added) all the moral integrity of a marshmallow…
- Applied to Christians, the sentimental view breeds expectations of transcendental niceness. Whatever else Christians should be, they should be nice, where “niceness” means smiling a lot and never ever hinting that anyone may be wrong about anything (because that isn’t nice).
- In the local church, it means abandoning church discipline (it isn’t nice), and in many contexts it means restoring adulterers (for instance) to pastoral office at the mere hint of broken repentance. After all, isn’t the church about forgiveness? Aren’t we supposed to love one another? And doesn’t that mean that above all we must be, well, nice?”