Friday, April 28, 2006

Going Deep

God is big... infinite, in fact. It only makes sense, then, that a finite being like me can't understand everything about God. One thing the emergent *cough*neo-orthodoxy*cough* crew likes to point out is that we can't put God in a box. Generally it's phrased in a 'witty' sarcastic statement intended as a 'humble' rebuke of some 'fundamentalist' that goes something like this: 'Well, I'm glad that some of you have God all figured out, but for those of us who think God is too big to fit into a little box (or sometimes 'book'), we prefer to think that he is free to act as he sees fit.'

Sure. But no one was denying that. In fact, we would argue that the Scriptures themselves teach that God is free to act as he sees fit (even in spite of what we might choose).

The idea of God being 'really big' should not effect the basic doctrines the way emergents often quote it. Infinity does not negate perspicuity. When deep sea diving, it can get dark. When snorkeling, there is plenty of light to see where we're swimming. You could very well be in the same ocean either way, but in one place the water is murky and in another it's clear.

The same is true of God. Just as he has claimed to have not revealed everything to us, neither do we claim to know everything. But the things that God has revealed, we can and must know! The fact that God is bigger, deeper, more profound, complex and wonderful than me should not discourage me from ever knowing anything about God, but rather, should inspire to look into the mystery of his revelation all the more.

But the complex does not complicate the simple. Some aspects of God are plain. He is holy and righteous and he hates sin. He will not compromise, change his mind, or give his glory to another. He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. He will accomplish his purpose in history, despite sinful man's every effort to thwart God's plan (as pictured in the cross). God will always be victorious (as pictured in the resurrection and ascension). He requires propitiation of his holy wrath, and he provided it for all his sheep in the person of Jesus Christ. He will one day raise all the dead from all time to face judgment: either unto eternal life or eternal punishment. This much is plain.

When Christ returns, I want to be able to say that I used the 'talent' he left us (his word) to get to know him and that I've spoken his truth to others, not that I buried it in the ground in order to 'ask questions,' because I was afraid to conclude anything about him because he's too 'big.'

3 comments:

r a i n e r said...

Hey...I can't remember exactly how I came across your church, but I remember I was searching for a church plant less than 5 years old to do a case study on for my church planting class at Southern Seminary. I came across your church from google maybe, & then your blog & your uncle/pastors blog & began to read & they quickly became 2 of my favorite sites. I just find myself heartily agreeing to what & how you say what you say. I love how your church lets the children worship with you, your ecclesiology, theology, etc...
I've just enjoyed it, & thought that anyone who may stumble upon my site should have the option to stumble upon yours & actually be edified.
This post is another great one...thanks!

HIS,
David Rainer

JLF said...

Hey David,
Thanks for your kind words! We do love our church... we are so grateful to God for all that he has done in us and through us. We hope to do another church plant in another 2 years or so... you should come help us and put into practice what you learned in class! :)

Seriously, though, I do appreciate your words of encouragement and I would covet your prayers especially as we look to move ahead in the work here. I'm not sure yet what exactly my role will be, but I feel entirely inadequate, regardless, so your prayers would really be appreciated.

How long have you been at Southern? Have you had any classes with Stephen Wellum or Michael Haykin?

r a i n e r said...

I haven't had classes with Stephen or Michael that I know of. I started in Jan 04 at SBTS on the main campus, but am now at an extension center in Alabama where I am one of 10 interns being trained for ministry in the local church, & SBTS professors are flown in to our church weekly where we take classes. I thought it was the best way to truly learn ministry & the most Biblical.

I won't have any hands on experience with church planting until this summer when I'll spend 2 months in Manhattan in a church plant, but from what I've read & the class we've had recently, it seems like a challenge, so I would be happy to pray for you & your endeavor. Feel free to email me with any specific requests at any time.
It's been good "commenting" with you!

HIS,
DR