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IF THE GOSPEL REALLY IS TRUE . . . We Have a THEODICY! (Part 6)

This profound question raised by Karl Barth is fundamental to biblical Christianity. Certain conclusions follow IF Christianity is true, such as we have a message for the world which is both good news and bad news. We’ve also seen that we have every reason to challenge other worldviews and religions as to their response to the gospel. If the gospel is true, we have a complete justification to make the Bible our absolute guidebook for life. We looked at a fourth conclusion which was we desperately need the people of God, the church.

Let’s look at a fifth conclusion and it is this —

IF THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, THEN . . .

We can honestly face the suffering in the world without becoming cynical or callous. Biblical Christianity affirms the reality of suffering. But it also affirms the truth of the goodness of God. Putting those two truths together — which many worldviews deny — is called a theodicy (a defense of God’s justice in the face of evil’s reality).

The “thorns” in our world come in many different varieties. There are self-inflicted thorns; pains produced by others; brokenness inherent in our fallen world. Some thorns are given directly by God (one thinks of 2 Corinthians 12 and Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”); others sovereignly allowed by Him.

Biblical Christianity provides the best theodicy for it acknowledges that this world is fallen (it is not what God intended it to be), mankind is in rebellion against God, and a Savior has been provided for those who turn to Him in faith. He solves the problem of personal evil and suffering and one day will deal with the issue of cosmic brokenness.

In his very helpful book Why a Suffering World Makes Sense, Chris Tiegreen makes the following points:
(1)  He writes: “I will never understand those who believe that spiritual problems can be solved with social programs, that peace can be achieved by treaties, that prejudices can be eliminated by discussion, that rebellious youth can be corrected with heavy doses of esteem and understanding, that scars can be healed through therapy, that wrongs can be righted by litigation, and that diseases can be eliminated by research. Evil is woven into the fabric of humanity, and it’s obvious.”
(2) Philosophically, “I both know that philosophers and theologians have found the existence of evil plus the existence of God more than a little troubling. They have also found the existence of evil plus the theoretical nonexistence of God utterly depressing.”
(3) “The Bible teaches that God is sovereign and that he is love, in spite of clear evidence of rampant evil and excruciating suffering in this world.”

Today’s Challenge: There so much that is helpful in Tiegreen’s book that I’ll do the following: For any of you who reads his book, I will send you one of mine free. You can choose from DocTALK, DocWALK, When Temptation Strikes, Unlike Jesus: Let’s Stop Unfriending the World, and even The Other Side of the Good News! Deal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2021 in gospel

 

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Loving the Lord with Our Minds — Our Divine/Human Example (Part 2)

How do you know when to postpone or even cancel your church (or synagogue) picnic?  You might check weather.com or look at Farmers’ Almanac or notice a twinge in your shoulder that a bad storm is on its way.

I’ve recently been looking at the topic of loving God with our minds in preparation for speaking at Emmaus Bible College’s screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-4-55-42-am“Christian Ministry Seminars” on February 6-7.  My theme is (was) “Anti-Intellectualism Isn’t Spirituality.”  By the time you read this, the conference will have taken place.

But I digress.  Jesus Christ, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, is our model in loving God with our minds.  He commanded faith “like a child” not childish faith.  And on the matter of weather, notice what He says in Matthew 16:

screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-5-06-10-amJesus clearly advocates the use of one’s reason in determining whether or not to hold the scheduled synagogue picnic.

He says that you Pharisees and Sadducees use your cognitive powers to observe the sky and draw certain conclusions.  He does not challenge them to simply flip a coin, but to use their minds to come to specific decisions.

He says you know how to make prognostications about the weather, but are unable (or unwilling) to objectively look at the evidence for His Messiahship and come to the appropriate conclusion.

Jesus reminds them that man’s sinfulness has affected screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-5-22-07-amhis mental ability.  “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign,” He says.  Man’s fallenness has impacted his God-given skill of drawing rational conclusions.  Wickedness and spiritual adultery affect one’s intellectual process.

Rather than giving the Pharisees and Sadducees a sign (although He does predict His own resurrection), He gives them a brief sermon on how their sin inhibits their ability to love God with their minds and affirm His as the Promised Messiah.  Such mental short-circuiting affects people today.  But we should still look for ways to appeal to them on an intellectual basis.  And that’s part of what it means to love God with our minds! (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2017 in loving God with our minds

 

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Time for a Great Question: “What Is WRONG with You?!”

My wife Linda and I sell books on Amazon.  We ship out about 10-15 books per day.  Most of our sales are straightforward.

Occasionally, we have to deal with the “20% crazy factor.”  This refers to those Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 6.28.51 AMcustomers who complain or send their book back and write things like, “No longer needed” or “There was writing on one page” or “I ordered the wrong textbook.”  We (mostly) cheerfully refund their money.  Without arguing.  Without criticism.

But one customer was so incensed with her purchase (the book had some highlighting in it which we accurately described in its listing) that she wrote us an email that simply said, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

Now, we could have gone into a lot of detail as to what is wrong with us, what is biblically wrong with her, etc.  But we didn’t.  We simply refunded her money.

It did remind me of the great Tozer quote you see above.  ‘Cause we are all broken. And there is a LOT that is wrong with us!

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2016 in sin

 

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