Stop Trying to Tame God: Rediscovering Dangerous Christianity
by Sherri Huleatt
Today’s interview is with Drew Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal, a publication of Christianity Today. He’s written more than 100 articles for Christian and secular publications, and is the author of Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith . . . and How to Bring Them Back. His latest book, Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying, releases May 13 and explores our dangerous attempts to domesticate our holy, awe-inspiring God. Yawning at Tigers directs people away from a “safe” harbor of sanitized Christianity into a deeper understanding of God’s majesty—pre-order it on Vyrso today!
1. You’ve said that this book “was born out of a deep burden.” What burden led you to start writing?
I worried we were losing sight of God’s holiness. Listening to the language we use in Evangelical circles is what tipped me off. We love talking about God’s love, but we don’t talk much about his holiness. Most of our worship choruses could be sung to God—or a girlfriend. Sermons drip with assurances of God’s affection but rarely seem to mention his holiness, let alone his wrath. We relate to God, it seems, almost entirely on therapeutic terms. Since many people find God’s majesty and holiness disconcerting, we gloss over those attributes and focus exclusively on love. Don’t get me wrong—we need to be reminded of God’s love. But something is missing. That’s why I wrote this book.
2. What is the danger of the church teaching a safe, one-sided God?
Without God’s holiness, we can’t understand the gravity of sin. And without an understanding of sin, there’s no need for forgiveness. You can’t proclaim the full gospel while teaching a one-sided God. Our worship also suffers. We lose the awe of God. We no longer marvel at his greatness and grandeur.
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3. What has your experience been like walking away from a tame and shallow faith into a deeper relationship with Jesus?
I’m as guilty as anyone of domesticating God, of choosing to live in the shallows rather than following Jesus into the deep. The times I have let go, when I’ve resisted the impulse to edit God, it’s frightening and invigorating. When I live with an awareness of both God’s love and holiness it brings a new depth and sobriety to my worship. This isn’t some buddy I’m engaging; it’s the Lord of heaven and earth, the one who Isaiah says, “dwells in unapproachable light.”
4. Why do you call God “dangerous” and “untamed?”
Because he can kill you. He can bring judgment in this life and the next. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Some assume he’s talking about Satan, but theologians agree he’s talking about God. God’s the only one who can destroy both body and soul. I’m not saying we should sit around just waiting for God to zap us. Paul assures us there “is no condemnation for those in Christ.” But for those who continually defy God, he is the ultimate enemy—omniscien
t, omnipotent, inescapable. He pursues in love but there comes a time when he pursues in judgment. We shouldn’t forget that…
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