I know I included a quote from J.I. Packer in a blog entry last week, but as I’ve been wrapping up his book knowing God I couldn’t help but include this quote that applies so well to what Jim taught this week. In it he is referring to what he calls “Santa Claus theology”, that leaves no room for God being good and allowing us to go through pain. As you read this quote keep in mind this book was first published in 1973. Also keep in mind that when he refers to “liberalism” he isn’t speaking in the political spectrum, but the theological one. Packer points to the fatal flaw in this thinking when he says the following:
“Yet, the Santa Claus theology carries within itself the seeds of its own collapse, for it cannot cope with the fact of evil. It is no accident when belief in the “good God” of liberalism became widespread, about the turn of the twentieth century, the so-called problem of evil (which was not regarded as a problem before) suddenly leaped into prominence as the number one concern of Christian apologetics. This was inevitable, for it is not possible to see the good will of a heavenly Santa Claus in heart-breaking and destructive things like cruelty, or marital infidelity, or death on the road, or lung cancer. The only way to save the liberal view of God is to dissociate him from these things and to deny that he has any direct relation to them; in other words, to deny his omnipotence and lordship over this world. Liberal theologians took this course fifty years ago, and the man on the street takes it today. Thus he is left with a kind God who means well but cannot always insulate his children from trouble and grief. When trouble comes, therefore, there is nothing to do but grin and bear it.“
Quoted from Knowing God by J.I. Packer (emphasis added)
Its a good thing the Bible gives us a different way of looking at pain, a different perspective as Jim taught this weekend. Today I read in 2 Corinthians 1:1-11. Notice that in the midst of great suffering Paul says “on Him we have set our hope”. This is the only way Paul knew of to approach the suffering and pain he was constantly in. There is no other way, unless of course you want your pain to be wasted.
Tags: waste management
This past weekend (as is often the case) I did not have time to delve into the implications of the statement found in Romans 8:17 that we are “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. In fact there is not enough time left for this world to exhaust the significance of that statement. One day we will just know it. Now we are just scratching at the surface of it, and that in itself brings more joy than our hearts can contain. The new testament is seemingly obsessed with the truth that true followers of Jesus are God’s children. Paul talks about how this truth knocks down previous identities that could be considered barriers to loving God and loving others in Galatians 3:26-29. John was intent on driving home this truth about who we are in 1 John 3:1-10. If you read all of 1 John you will see the phrase “dear children” repeated over and over . We are God’s children. That statement has massive implications in our lives. It first of all means that as J.I. Packer puts it in his famous book, Knowing God, “…His love finds expression in everything that He says and does. Every single thing that happens to us expresses God’s love to us, and comes to us for the furthering of God’s purpose for us.” This means that God does perfectly what parents attempt to do imperfectly. Meaning, I love my children and I attempt to make all of my actions and interactions with them consistent with the deep affection and abiding love I feel for them, but sometimes what I do does not express that well, and in fact is counterproductive to displaying that. God is not like that. Everything He does, whether we can see how or not, perfectly displays His love for us as His children. Packer says it this way, “Even when we cannot see the why and the wherefore of God’s dealings, we know that there is love in and behind them, and so we can rejoice always, even when, humanly speaking, things are going wrong.” Why? because we are His sons and daughters.
The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Tags: waste management
I’m not sure what your reaction to Jim’s talk this weekend was. Jim even said, there will probably be a couple different reactions to what he taught this weekend. Both reactions involved fast beating hearts.
1. your heart was beating faster because what Jim was saying was tapping into the deep longing of your soul, to make your life count for something. To do something with what you have for something of ultimate importance.
2. your heart was beating faster because what Jim was saying was like someone holding up a mirror in front of you and forcing you to look at the fact that you are wasting what God has entrusted you with. And perhaps that made you angry.
If you were angry you need to know, your reaction to what was said, doesn’t have anything to do with whether it what true or not. Meaning, if you didn’t like it, that doesn’t change the fact that it was true. It was true because Jesus said it and Jesus said (John 14:6) He is the way, the TRUTH and the life and no one comes to the Father except through HIm. So you can run away from this truth, but to do so you have to run away from Jesus. Maybe it would be better to run to the Truth, search the scriptures and ask God to help you not waste your talent.
If you loved every word Jim said you need to know, your agreement with the Truth doesn’t equal obedience to the truth. Saying, “yes I agree” doesn’t count for much. If you agree with the truth, then you must live it out. Or your life betrays your words.
Recommended Reading: Don’t waste your life by John Piper
, waste management