1. Atheism (There is no god – just me and the cosmos.)
2. Theism (There is a god.)
3. The Fear of God (There is a God and I respect him and care what he thinks because it must be important and I believe it has something to do with me.)
4. Calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
5. The belief in the Triune God. (Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit of Christianity)
These are all milestones on a continuum of “right belief”.
The one in the middle, the “Fear of God” is peciliar. Versus the utter arrogance before it, this is a dream of immortality and primary creation – acknowledging the boundrieds of time, the fear of death and darkness.
It does not seem that God is impressed by mere theism, but the “Fear of God” seems to be very valuable in His eyes, even lacking proper articulation.
Look at Jethro in scripture. He was the “priest of Midian”, not of Israel.He clearly feared and worshiped the one true God. But how well could he articulate it? He knew nothing of the divine law that his son-in-law Moses would later deliver. He knew nothing of the prophets or of Jesus Christ. There is no question that he was God’s man though.
I think about all the people I work with. There are quite a few agnostic materialists. There are also several Mormons, a Muslim, and a couple of Ba’hai as well as a Roman Catholic and several different flavors of evangelicals. This “fear of God” is what we share with some of our brothers and sisters in other faiths despite their technical rejection of Christ. Lewis seemed to think there was something to this as well if we remember the young Calormen in The Last Battle. I don’t think that he was implying that all religions lead to the same god, but that perhaps God may pull people to Himself despite their religion!
At the day, I am left concluding that it is good to desire that God reach down and pull us to him. Our variety of self-generated right belief will not propel us closer to him. We love him because he first loved us. (John 4:19) At the same time, I believe more than ever that Trinitiarianism completely rocks the house dope y’all.