April 29, 2014 | by: 0 Comments|
Over the past several months I’ve been reading up on a few theological trends and thoughts. Some of these issues have risen during my preparation of sermons in John’s Gospel, while others have come up in personal conversations and evangelistic endeavors. While these theological issues, thoughts, and trends have been varied and disparate, they all have a similar undercurrent. These various trends away from orthodox biblical theology all seem to have one (and sometimes more than one) common element carrying them downstream.
What is that common element? It is an unwillingness to let God be God – an unwillingness to accept his revelation of himself and his character and instead to redefine his revelation concerning himself into a more palatable form. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the “Openness of God” proposal put forward by Clark Pinnock and others. Pinnock and others have proposed that God could not possibly know all the details of the future. Perhaps in his study, he failed to account for John 18:4 where we’re told that Jesus knew “all that would happen to him.” Or perhaps Pinnock was unwilling to let God’s revelation stand as supreme, final, and authoritative. Sadly, the latter seems to me to be a more likely scenario given what he said in 1994. In a book he edited, he wrote, “I believe that unless the portrait of God is compelling, the credibility of belief in God is bound to decline” [Clark H. Pinnock, “Systematic Theology,” in The Openness of God, ed. Clark Pinnock et al. (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1994), p.101.].
Doesn’t this beg the question, “Do we make the portrait of God compelling?” Has not God portrayed himself in a sufficiently compelling manner to accomplish his purposes of saving sinners? Do we take the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) and refashion it so that others may receive it as compelling and credible? Or do we contend (again Jude 3) for this already perfectly delivered faith, letting God be God and trusting that he will do what he will? Yes, that is precisely what we are to do – we faithfully announce the truth about God, and we let God be God.
From what I can tell, this common element of an unwillingness to let God be God, finds its roots in Genesis 3:5. When Satan tempted Adam and Eve with the prospect of “being like God, knowing good from evil,” he was tempting them to overthrow God. He was falsely tempting them with the power to sit on God’s throne and rule as he rules. He was tempting them with the prospect of “knowing,” which in the context of Genesis 3 is discerning or deciding what would be good and what would be evil. When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they thought that they would take into their possession the power that only God possessed. Namely, the power of determining what is right and wrong – what is good and evil.
God reveals the truth and we receive it from him. When theologians adjust or eschew the Bible’s teaching for the sake of palatability, they are doing precisely what Adam and Eve did. They are taking the truth about God into their hands and they are saying to the Potter who formed them, “I believe that you are the clay. Let’s make you pretty, so that someone will want to take you and bring you into their home and life.” The impulse against letting God be God is what lurks beneath every sin of every human being ever committed. This is not a danger relegated to the ivory towers of Christian academia (though it certainly makes itself known there); rather, it is a danger resident in every human heart – my heart and yours. This is why we praise God for Christ, the King who conquers and lovingly subdues our sinful and rebellious hearts, and calls us to follow in his way instead of Adam’s by letting God be God.
Comments for this post have been disabled.