It may be that my memory is already greatly impaired, but the only song I recall from my early Sunday school years is “Jesus Loves Me.” Another memory is a picture on the wall of Jesus welcoming the children. Jesus…tender, loving, gentle. All true. However, this left an impression that Jesus was like a nice, cuddly teddy bear (or, a cute little lamb). For a while, that was enough to keep me interested in Him, but as I grew older, teddy bears became lame and boring…and so did Jesus.
This is one reason I really resonated with this article by Tony Reinke, “Stop Apologizing for God.” Here is one of the points he makes:
The living God of the Old Testament roars like a lion (Isaiah 31:4; Jeremiah 25:30; Hosea 11:10; Joel 3:16; Amos 1:2).
The living God of the New Testament is the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5).
As Michael Horton says, “Nobody today seems to think that God is dangerous. And that is itself a dangerous oversight.”
It’s dangerous because before we yawn at God, we must first replace the majestic, holy, awesome Tiger of Scripture with a domesticated kitten, conformed to the standards of the world, measured by the yardstick of political correctness. Who wants a God who roars, who threatens, who judges? Why not rather fashion a god in our taste—a friendly god we can pet, leash, and export for popular appeal?
I think that there is a tendency–however well intentioned–to give children a tame and “cuddly” version of God. We highlight Jesus as the Lamb of God, and that is right and good. But sometimes we fail to emphasize that He is also a dangerous lion, someone who is not to be treated lightly. A cuddly version of God may draw our children in at first, but ultimately it will leave them longing for something truly worthy of their greatest love, obedience, honor, and worship. I hope and pray that we might pass on to the next generations the truth of the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah.
(Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)