Theology 1 – God’s Goodness

God Goodness

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Here I am, send him

Matthew 9 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest tosend out laborers into his harvest.

Romans 10 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Isaiah 6 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Thinking Theologically – Is something wrong?

Rob Bell (famous for the Nooma videos) is publishing a new book, Love Wins. This is the video publicising it:

One quote from the blurb issued by Harper Collins, the books publishers;

Fans flock to his Facebook page, his NOOMA videos have been viewed by millions, and his Sunday sermons are attended by 10,000 parishioners—with a downloadable podcast reaching 50,000 more. An electrifying, unconventional pastor whom Time magazine calls “a singular rock star in the church world,” Rob Bell is the most vibrant, central religious leader of the millennial generation. Now, in Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing that a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering. With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly optimistic—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.

Is there anything wrong with that statement?


Brad Pitt thinks theology

In class we have talked about God being God-centred – it is not an easy concept to take hold of especially when we like to think salvation and the plans of God are all about us. I shudder to think how many Christians cannot see beyond themselves to the greater plan of God. Anyhow on the Desiring God blog we see Bradd Pitt finding the same difficulty and John Piper answering his problem.

In a 2007 interview for Parade, actor Brad Pitt describes how he stumbled, as C.S. Lewisand Michael Prowse and Erik Reece before him, over God’s ego.

Pitt was raised a conservative Southern Baptist. For a while, his religion worked. But not for long.

Religion works. I know there’s comfort there, a crash pad. It’s something to explain the world and tell you there is something bigger than you, and it is going to be alright in the end. It works because it’s comforting. I grew up believing in it, and it worked for me in whatever my little personal high school crisis was, but it didn’t last for me.

Why not? He points to the ego of God.

I didn’t understand this idea of a God who says, “You have to acknowledge me. You have to say that I’m the best, and then I’ll give you eternal happiness. If you won’t, then you don’t get it!” It seemed to be about ego. I can’t see God operating from ego, so it made no sense to me.

So there it is again.

God is infinitely wise, just, holy, strong, and good. But God’s command that we see him for what he is, and be glad about it, is the reason Pitt found God unintelligible. God’s god-ness has always been the main problem.

There is an answer to the seeming egomania of God, and his demand that we embrace him as the supreme—and supremely satisfying—Treasure of the universe:

Reason #1 — He is supremely valuable and supremely satisfying.
Reason #2 — Receiving him as such is the only way we will find full, everlasting joy.
Reason #3 — Therefore, his demand that we do so is love, not egomania.

Pray for the thousands of Brad Pitts to see that God’s demand for worship is a demand that we enjoy what is supremely enjoyable.

Avoid these men

wrong-men.jpgWho are these men: Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, Geuel?

You might well have guessed that they are the ten men sent out from the tribes of Israel with Joshua and Caleb to explore the Promised Land, and who came back with a report lacking faith – you can read it in Numbers 13.

Faith can be a battle in which we need all the help we can get. Consider the command (not advice) contained in 2 Timothy 3:1-5

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Grace before criticism

I read these quotes here:

The following conversation took place between D. L. Moody and a critic:

Critic: “Mr. Moody, I don’t think your approach to evangelism is very effective.”

Moody: “I am certain that it can be improved upon. What method do you use? I would like to learn how to do my work better.”

Critic: “I don’t have any method just now.”

Moody: “Then I will stick to my way for the time being.”

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“None are more exposed to slanders and insults than godly teachers. This comes not only from the difficulty of their duties, which are so great that sometimes they sink under them, or stagger or halt or take a false step, so that wicked men find many occasions of finding fault with them; but added to that, even when they do all their duties correctly and commit not even the smallest error, they never avoid a thousand criticisms. It is indeed a trick of Satan to estrange men from their ministers so as gradually to bring their teaching into contempt. In this way not only is wrong done to innocent people whose reputation is undeservedly injured, but the authority of God’s holy teaching is diminished. . . .”

[T]he more sincerely any pastor strives to further Christ’s kingdom, the more he is loaded with spite, the more fierce do the attacks upon him become. And not only so, but as soon as any charge is made against ministers of the Word, it is believed as surely and firmly as if it had been already proved. This happens not only because a higher standard of integrity is required from them, but because Satan makes most people, in fact nearly everyone, over credulous so that without investigation, they eagerly condemn their pastors whose good name they ought to be defending.”

John Calvin

When were you last prophetic?

There is a consistency in the Bible (Old and New Testaments) declaring that the people of God  should prophesy – and I think within that should be prophetic in their life, but more of that another time. Prophecy in its most basic form seems to indicate that in some way we are hearing from God, or should that be far more challenging in that it says we are listening to God?

Moses said, Numbers 11:29,

“Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!”

Paul said, 1 Corinthians 14:5

“Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy.”

The Holy Spirit spoke through Joel, Acts 2:17-18

“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;…in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”