Identity theft is one of the most rampant crimes sweeping across America. A thief steals someone's Social Security number and personal information and misrepresents that person in order to make purchases in their name. Everyone is trying to figure out how to properly secure their identity. Not long ago, a 31 year old woman in Chicago got a note from a local car dealership thanking her for buying a new car. A thief stole her identity and illegally purchased three cars under her name. Recently, someone stole my identity and attempted to buy electronics, telephone services, and other things under my name.
It's distressing when someone tries to steal your identity. But who would have the nerve to steal the identity of God? Who would dare to take his name and use it to represent something that is not really him? But someone has done this. In many pulpits across this country, pastors are stealing God's identity by misrepresenting him to their congregations. Some try to steal his identity by calling him a prosperity God; they say he's only concerned about our health and our wealth and our material goods. Others make God into a universalistic God: all paths lead to God, all gods are one. Some promote a Burger King God, who says, "Have it your way!" All sin is acceptable and love trumps all judgment. It's not a sin, they say, it's a lifestyle.
Some pastors declare that God is limited, and evil only exists in the world because God can't do anything about it. Others affirm that God is a political God, that God has to get elected every four years, and that God has to declare a political party. Finally, some pastors say that God is a legalistic God; he is pleased when you and I determine what we should and shouldn't do. But ...
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