Beyond the Symbols

Jan 04, 2005 05:02 PM EST

'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' (Matthew 16:15-16 KJV)

I have noticed lately among so-called evangelicals a renewed interest in the religious gadgets that our Protestant fathers once threw away to make room for the Holy Spirit. It is becoming more common now to see in our churches (and in some Alliance churches, I regret to say) huge pictures of Christ, crosses on the altar, candles and other symbolic objects. This is the sure way back to formalism and death. In proportion as the Presence of Christ is felt in a congregation these things will be unnecessary, even offensive. And as the Presence lifts and withdraws, these symbols are brought in as poor substitutes.

The human heart must have something to love and fear. If it misses the true God it will make a god of its own. A crowd of persons who pray to a false god is not a church in any sense of the word, even if the word ìChristianî or ìchurchî appears on the front of the building.


Today may I take the time to be quiet before You and recognize Your presence, O Holy One.


Symbols of Christ's presence hardly substitute for that presence. Do we sense His presence among us and within us? If we experience the genuine there is no reason to resort to representations.

Used with permission.

A.W. Tozer