Is God bigger than Christianity?

This is a question that has been a matter of a lot of thought and discussion over the last few weeks for myself and others. My thoughts are concerning to me, as during the process of thinking I have decided a lot of my concern comes from what other people may think. I like to think that I do not worry too much about what people think of me. I’m fairly used to being on the edge of things and so feeling outside of the ‘in group’ a lot of the time. So I have been surprised that I am worried what people will think through my asking this question…

How big is God?
God is bigger than the church, I think most can accept that. Church does not contain God, God created the church and lives outside of it; I think that is quite easy for many to grasp and to sit comfortable with.

But … is God bigger than Christianity?

I immediately respond, yes, (because after all God must be!) but then all my past evangelical upbringing reins me back and tells me I am stepping into dangerous ground … possibly even heretical ground because this might imply that there is truth of God elsewhere, outside Christianity, maybe even some truth in other religions and viewpoints? As I think on that it is then I get worried as to what other people think I may be sinking into! It’s madness to think like that.

So … what do you think …. is God bigger than Christianity?
Or … to put it another way … does Christianity hold everything we need to know about God?

8 thoughts on “Is God bigger than Christianity?

  1. Is God bigger than Christianity??Rob you've set my mind racing with that one. I like you struggle with an in the box response as I often find God more outside the box in the work I now do. I find God in some of the most surprising places, 'unchristian' places…, Is there such a place a place where we cannot find Jesus. In previous ministry working closely with folks from 'other' faiths I found that when we were able to have an open discussion about what we believe there was a fairly broad meeting ground. On the day of the 7/7 bombings I was in a room with Muslim leaders from across West Yorkshire and the Archbishop of Canterbury we all found common ground in an horrified response and a turning to prayer. I feel that there are things that I would want to hold close to but we do worship a God who is so vast.

  2. Great questions that I think many dare to think but few dare to ask openly, let alone answer.Another balding prophet…Mr Campolo with whom I know you hold a lot of affinity(!! Solar panel for a…)did simlar things in his book speaking my mind, and if I'm right (it's a while since I read the book) looked at this question in some depth. He started it by saying that many christian leaders are asking big questions like this, but are so scared to do so openly for fear of not only what others will think but say.Sadly I don't think there is room to openly ask these questions in some circles of Christianity, especially for those whose livlihood, or pay packet depends upon a certain brand of theology.What I do find very interesting is that other expressions of Christianity have no problems with asking these questions…why on earth has the western evangelical church gotten so stuck?Anyway…in fear of getting the sack…I couldn't possible say what I think!! :-)Malc

  3. I have to say that my immediate response is of course God is bigger than Christianity! In fact this has to be a no-brainer if you start to think about it. I have yet to meet a sane person (or insane either) who believes that they truly understand the mind of God, or even all that God has set out before us in the universe. Given this it would be ludicrous to believe that our poor understanding of God, expressed through such a blunt instrument as the written word, even comes part way to describing and acknowledging the wonder of our Creator. I do not mean this as a license to hersy but simply that if we believe that Christainity as it is expressed now is the limit of God then we are not only fooling ourslves we are effcetively asleep in our spiritual lives. I do believe as a Christian that the exploration of the nature of God is better carried out under the auspices of our religion as it provides guideposts to point us in the right direction. Not sure if this helps…

  4. as a post script…I wonder, if God is bigger than Christianity…and is building his Kingdom outside of the sphere of the church, does he use others who do not call themselves Christian to do so…If this is the case then it follows that others have experienced something of God's truth as they have encountered the missio dei in his Kingdom building work?Malc

  5. Is God bigger than Jesus?Yes. If you affirm God as Trinity.And if we say God is fully revealed in Christianity then which Christianity? Catholic? Protestant? Orthodox? Ancient Eastern?I think it is difficult to deny that there are Christianities unless one utterly repudiates all the others except one's own.I affirm the uniqueness of God's revelation in Christ. But when we get down to it, again, whose Christ? The historical Jesus? Unknowable. The Church's Christ? Which church? The Christ of our personal experience? That experience is not unmediated by either tradition or our own uniqueness.Surely the first and second commandments make clear that God is not confined to any human conception of God. You can't honestly look at the history of Christianity without recognising that there is a degree to which Christianities are human conceptions as much as they may have been touched by the reality of God. Personally I think we're closest to the mystery we call God when we are poetic, metaphorical, artistic than when we're systematic. And we have much to learn from other faith traditions beyond our own, whatever their creed.

  6. thanks for the comments – good to hear that others are thinking on this also.Vaughan – I think you are right – there is no where where Jesus is not present …. and therefore Jesus maybe found anywhere, even those surprising places!!Mal – I understand the predicament … but I think sometimes there's surely a need to stand up and go for it Wesley style …Darrell … you sum up my concern without saying it … a sub question I guess which is how do we remain on the edge and engage without falling into heresy – I guess looking at past heresies here can be a help as I bet people did not wake up one morning and say 'I'm going to believe a heresy today!' … they stumbled into it as they tried to be real …anonymous… sorry but Idon't think that is a better question because as Mr Pompey points out the answer is the Trinitarian God is bigger than Jesus …Mr Mark Pompey … thanks for your comments and, again, you ask the questions that we need to continue answering and draw the conclusion that somehow we need to live with … God is not confined to any human conception we come up – the jewish faith seems to be able to accept this with their 'God will be God' answer and approach tostuff they do not understandThanks again people ….

  7. I definitely think that God is bigger than Christianity.There's no such thing as the perfect doctrin because they are man-made. And even when they were created by people inspirated by God, they're corruptible. He want us to have a close relantionship with Him, because even when Christianity gives us the tools to know God, there's no better way to really know Him than going directly (praying, reading the Bible…) to the Father.

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