16 December 2007

Transcendent or Immanent

What shall we say, is God transcendent or immanent? It is a very interesting question in the realm of worship. How do we see God and in light of this how do we then worship Him? There are numerous verses that support the facts that God is both transcendent and immanent. For example, Heb 12:28 & Is. 6:5 display his immanence. The Psalms are full of passages that demonstrate his transcendence. Conversely we read of His immanence, too, in passages such as John 15:15. Matt. 6:9 & Heb 2:11-12.
John Frame offers us his view, with which I agree, in his book Contemporary Worship Music. On page 14 we read, A biblically balanced view of worship must take into account both God's transcendence and his immanence, his exaltation and his nearness, his majestic holiness and his unmeasurable love. This balance is not always easy to maintain. Churches that focus on divine transcendence are in danger of making God appear distant, aloof, unfriendly, unloving, devoid of grace. Churches that focus on God's immanence sometimes lose sight of his majesty and purity, his hatred of sin, and the consequent seriousness of any divine-human encounter. To maintain this balance, we must go back again and again to the Scriptures themselves so that we may please God in worship rather than merely acting on our own intuitions.

An excellent point, indeed. I have been in churches that have emphasized one or the other and left knowing something was missing. Granted, we are imperfect and this is a tough challenge to meet but where does your church fall? Does the pendulum swing wildly to one side or the other or does it rest somewhere in the middle. May God grant us the grace to see how we should correctly worship Him.

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