Posts Tagged theology
Today we kick off a new series, Providence: A Study of the Book of Ruth. In today’s sermon, we discuss the role that God plays in governing all things, but especially suffering and pain. This is undoubtedly a difficult subject and can’t be fully grasped, especially in any kind of quick way.
A helpful resource for any wanting to go deeper into this subject is the chapter on God’s Providence from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology [Dr. Grudem is a professor at Phoenix Seminary, and this large book is an excellent resource for anyone looking to study theology, as are his condensed versions, Bible Doctrine (medium) and Christian Beliefs (small)].
All things come to pass by God’s wise providence. This means that we should adopt a much more “personal” understanding of the universe and the events in it. The universe is not governed by impersonal fate or luck, but by a personal God. Nothing “just happens—we should see God’s hand in events throughout the day, causing all things to work together for good for those who love him…A deepened appreciation for the doctrine of providence will not make us more superstitious; it will make us trust in God more and obey him more fully.
I recently had the opportunity to lead a breakout session for the Acts29 Phoenix Bootcamp on “Planting a Missional Church in the Suburbs.” In case you’re interested in what I had to say, you can listen to it here. You can also download a PDF of the notes I handed out here.
Additionally, you can get all the audio from the various sessions here.
In preparing for this Saturday’s seminar on how to read and understand the Bible, I was reminded of this tremendous quote by J.I. Packer from his classic book, Knowing God.
For the fact that we have to face is this: If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate and dismiss them as very poor specimens. For, as Paul told the conceited Corinthians, ‘Knowledge puffs up…. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know’ (1 Cor 8:1-2).
To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception. We need to guard our hearts against such an attitude, and pray to be kept from it… there can be no spiritual health without doctrinal knowledge; but it is equally true that there can be no spiritual health with it, if it is sought for the wrong purpose and valued by the wrong standard.