Nearer My God to Me

Jul 24, 2023 9:13:25 AM / by Erwin Lutzer


The Economist is one of the most influential periodicals in the world, and each year they come out with a special volume titled: “The Year Ahead.” Looking into 2022, they highlighted an article titled: The Church of England’s God is becoming more liberal. An on-line version of the article is titled, “Nearer my God to me.” The author of the article is Catherine Nixey, a British correspondent.

The article details changes among the Methodists and the Church of England regarding same-sex marriage, and some are entertaining the possibility of describing God as non-binary, that is with the pronoun she as well as he. Few people, the author said, celebrate a “homophobic God.” In other words, God is becoming as inclusive as we are.

And then Nixey reminds us that the Lord’s prayer reads, “May thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” but today in the minds of many, the prayer runs in the opposite direction, it reads, “As it is on earth, so it shall be in heaven.” So, earth, not heaven--- determines what happens both on earth and in the heavens.  

My point? As we anticipate our consideration of Ethics when we gather for our Shepherd’s 360 Pastors Conference October 16-18, we must keep in mind that unless we return to the God of the Scriptures we will flounder as individuals, families and churches. When the dominoes begin to fall, first and foremost it is because we have lost sight of God, high and lifted up, the God who is holy and the One to Whom we are accountable.

Let us fear lest we worship a God who is much like ourselves. It is true that God created us in His own image; it is also true that we as humans have always been tempted to return the favor. And the more we domesticate God, the more we turn Him into a “manageable deity,” not only will morality suffer but so will the Gospel and all of Christian living. As Tozer is quoted as saying, “no nation can rise higher than its conception of God.” And what is true for our nation is true of ourselves, our churches and our various ministries.

As someone who is scheduled to participate in this Pastor’s Conference on Ethics, I plan to speak about the eclipse of God in America, and how the ideas of humanistic philosophers have helped plunge our culture into irrational darkness. I will also emphasize that we are called to this moment in history to shine a light in a world that loves “darkness rather than light.”

As pastors we must give our people guidance as to how to navigate this present darkness and be a light for the glory of God. So, although the culture writhes in darkness, we as believers are called to walk in the light and shine the hope of the Gospel into the lives of all those whom we meet.

Join me for the Shepherd’s 360 Church Leaders Conference on October 16-18. There will be general gatherings, and many breakout sessions on the general theme of Christian Ethics. And we pray that as we as pastors give leadership in our dark culture, many might proclaim as they did in the days of Elijah, “The Lord he is God; the Lord he is God!” (I Kings 18:39).

Let us sing, “Nearer my God to Thee” and not “Nearer my God to me!



Erwin Lutzer

Written by Erwin Lutzer

Erwin W. Lutzer is Pastor Emeritus of The Moody Church where he served as the Senior Pastor for 36 years. He earned a B.Th. from Winnipeg Bible College, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a M.A. in Philosophy from Loyola University, and an honorary LL.D. from the Simon Greenleaf School of Law. He is also the featured speaker on three radio programs that are heard on more than 1,000 outlets in the United States and around the world: Running to Win, Moody Church Hour, and Songs in the Night. Dr. Lutzer is also an award-winning author of numerous books including: Rescuing the Gospel, He Will Be the Preacher, The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent, One Minute After You Die, When a Nation Forgets God, and Christian Bookseller’s Gold Medallion Award winner, Hitler’s Cross. Join Dr. Lutzer and the rest of this year's speaker line-up at the ninth annual Shepherds 360 conference in October.

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