In a morning meeting seminar in June 2005, Ralph Winter talked about glorifying God by more than merely becoming aware of God, but by coming alongside of him in the conquest of evil to defend God's character in the eyes of the onlooking world. Hear audio excerpts from Winter's seminar here.
A. W. Tozer is famous for many wise words. One of the things is said is, “The most important thing about you is what comes to mind when the word God is spoken.”
But what comes to our minds has to be more than just words. It has to be reality. The words have to refer to something else.
To glorify God isn’t a simple proposition. There is another factor in the picture. Much of what we know about God really doesn’t belong to him. We hear people asking day after day, “what is God doing?” when it isn’t really God that’s doing what we’re talking about. It may be an evil intelligence.
What comes to our minds when the word God is uttered, like Tozer says, is a very, very significant thing. We have to listen; we have to watch; we have to see what others may not see.I was very much blessed by a statement that occurred in the journal of the American Scientific Affiliation. [This quote is from a Letter to the Editor by Bruce McLaughlin, "From Whence Evil," in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, vol. 56, no. 3 (Sept.) pp. 237-38.]
"According to Scripture, the universe was originally good and the glory of God is still evident in it (Rom. 1:20). But something else—something frightfully wicked—is evident in it as well. Of their own free will, Satan and other spiritual beings rebelled against God in the primordial past and now abuse their God-given authority over certain aspects of creation. Satan, who holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14), exercises a pervasive, structural, diabolical influence to the point that the entire creation is in bondage to decay. The pain-ridden, bloodthirsty, sinister, and hostile character of nature should be attributed to Satan and his army, not to God. Jesus’ earthly ministry reflected the belief that the world had been seized by a hostile, sinister lord. Jesus came to take it back. This explanation of evil in nature is persuasively set forth in Gregory Boyd’s Satan and the Problem of Evil (InterVarsity Press, 2001).
"Evidence suggests that Satan, not the Christian God, is the author of evil (1 John 5:19; Rom. 8:20–22; Isa. 13:11; Pss. 5:4; 97:10; Job 34:10). Perhaps Isaiah 11:6–9 reveals a true reflection of God’s character in nature."
Ralph Winter went on to say:
"We can’t glorify God by what we do against the powers of evil if we don’t recognize those powers of evil. If God is getting the blame—if we say to malaria victims, “our God wants us to give you a cup of cold water, but he doesn’t know about malaria, or he doesn’t care, or he doesn’t know what to do”—if our actions speak those words that loudly, what kind of a gospel can we preach? What can we tell them about God if that’s the kind of God we’re telling them about?
"I’m talking about improving our understanding of who God is, and our understanding of what is going to be necessary to glorify him. This is the definition of mission: what is necessary to glorify God? And if what is necessary is more than merely becoming aware of him, but coming alongside of him in the conquest of evil so that no longer are evil deeds associated with God’s initiative—then we have a huge mission to attack."