There are doubtless many reasons for the degeneration of Christianity into churchiness, and the narrowing of the Gospel for all mankind into a set of approved beliefs; but the chief cause must be the worship of an inadequate god — a cramped and regulated god who is a ‘good churchman’ according to the formulas of the worshipper. For actual behaviour infallibly betrays the real object of the man’s worship. All Christians, whatever their Church, would of course instantly repudiate the idea that their god was a super-example of their own denomination, and it is not suggested that the worship is conscious. Nevertheless, beneath the conscious critical level of the mind it is perfectly possible for the Anglo-Catholic, for example, to conceive God as particularly pleased with Anglo-Catholicism, doubtful about Evangelicalism, and frankly displeased by all forms of Nonconformity… The ultra-low Churchman on the other hand must admit, if he is honest, that the God whom he worships disapproves most strongly of vestments, incense, and candles on the altar. The tragedy of these examples — which could be reproduced ad nauseam any day of the week — is not difference of opinion, which will probably be with us till the Day of Judgment, but the outrageous folly and damnable sin of trying to regard God as the Party Leader of a particular point of view.
— J. B. Phillips, Your God is too Small
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Photo credit: Edgewood Baptist Church