I am in the final stages of editing a book called Conversations About God. The title not only reflects the book’s content, but also its origin in a series of twenty programs by that name presented at the Loma Linda University Church in 1984. In that memorable series, Dr. A. Graham Maxwell opened each evening’s topic with a presentation, followed by questions and comments from the audience, moderated by then-pastor Louis Venden. The book will be an edited version of the original “conversations.” I have sought to preserve the flavor of the original conversations as much as possible; guided by Graham’s daughter, Audrey Zinke, and his close friend Cherie Kirk. The manuscript is also being enthusiastically examined by Pastor Venden. The words that follow here are from the introductory summary by Graham Maxwell.
These conversations offer another look at our heavenly Father in the larger setting of a universe-wide conflict over His character and government. God is infinite in majesty and power. Yet, when He came in human form, He didn’t try to intimidate or overwhelm people with a show of majesty and power. Instead, He sat down among them. He conversed with them. He even invited their questions. As a matter of fact, Jesus taught some of His most important truths while reclining at tables, eating supper with His audiences.
As indicated in the title of this book, these twenty conversations are primarily about God. But one could fairly raise the question, whose God are we talking about? God is not the exclusive property of any particular denomination. For example, the Methodists and the Baptists worshiped God before Seventh-day Adventists came on the scene. The Lutherans were worshiping God before the Methodists and Baptists came on the scene. The Jews were worshipping God centuries before there were any Christians. Adam and Eve were worshipping God before there were any Jews. And before there were any people on our planet, God’s loyal angels worshiped Him throughout the universe.
God belongs to all of us. While there are religious differences among us, and those differences may be important, we are all members of His family. Or should we rather say that only the good ones among us are members of God’s family? Is that the way you count your children? Will you report today that you have only one child; while tomorrow you may report three? And the next day only two? Do you only acknowledge the children who are behaving well? Frankly, we have all misbehaved. And yet God recognizes every one of us, counts every one of us as members of His family. It is this amazing, gracious God that is the subject of this book. And “conversations” like this are needed today and will continue to be needed. Even eternity will not be long to enough to fully understand and celebrate our God.