J.B. Phillips on God for a “Privileged Class”

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J.B. Phillips, the Anglican minister best known as a Bible translator, writes in his famous book “Your God is Too Small” a misconception about God:

 

It is characteristic of human beings to create and revere a ‘privileged class,” and some modern Christians regard the mystic as being somehow spiritually a cut above his fellows. Ordinary forms of worship and prayer may suffice for the ordinary man, but for the one who has direct apprehension of God—he is literally in a class by himself. You cannot expect a man to attend Evensong in his parish church when there are visions waiting for him in his study!

 

                The New Testament does not subscribe to this flattering view of those with a gift for mystic vision. It is always downright and practical. It is by their fruits that men shall be known: God is no respecter of persons: true religion is expressed by such humdrum things as visiting those in trouble and steadfastly maintaining faith despite exterior circumstances. It is not, of course, that the New Testament considers it a bad thing for a man to have a vision of God, but there is a wholesome insistence on such a vision being worked out in love and service.

 

                It should be noted, at least by those who accept Christ claim to be God that he by no means fits into the picture of the “mystic saint.” Those who are fascinated by the supposed superiority of the mystic soul might profitably compile a list of its characteristics and place them side by side with those of Christ. The result would probably expose a surprising conclusion.

 

                There is, in fact, no provision for a “privileged class” in genuine Christianity. “It shall not be so among you,” said Christ to his early followers,” all ye are brethren.”

 

(Your God is Too Small by J.B. Phillips, pp.56-57, Macmillan Paperback Edition 1961)

 

What are some misconceptions of God you have in mind? Please share it in the comment.

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