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What I Read Online – 05/22/2012 (a.m.)

22 May
    • Now whatever we think of Flew’s parable of the Invisible Gardner, we can all relate to the motivation behind the parable. The motivation behind the parable is the sometimes horrendous affliction that comes often to people, and that is obvious to anyone whose eyes are open. And the difficulty with such atrocities is that they continue to happen, and happen with nauseating regularity, in the face of our insistence that God, who is goodness itself, exists.
    • The first thing that needs to be said is that the problem of evil is, perhaps first of all, an intensely pastoral problem.  To have it reside simply on the intellectual level is an evil in and of itself.
    • The problem, however, is that inscrutability is located in the wrong place, initially. It is best, when thinking of this problem, to begin thinking, not of Theodicy, but of Theophany.
    • The initial problem with the problem of evil is that God Himself is inscrutable.
    • Not only has He revealed a sign of concern, He has entered into and identified, in the most excruciating way imaginable, the very problem itself –  because He has come down.  And the One who was in the very form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be held on to, but emptied Himself, taking the very form of a servant, and becoming obedient, even to the point of death on a cross (cf. Phil. 2:5-11).
    • So our response to Flew’s parable, and to others who demand that God bow to their inquisition, is simply this: Whatever God’s ultimate reasons for evil in this world, far from being unconcerned, He came down, and, at the costliest expense imaginable, as the only innocent one who ever lived, was put to death on a cross. Therefore, those who put their trust in Him can say with the apostle Paul, that whatever God’s reasons, in spite of the sheer inscrutability of His ways, “I consider that the suffering of this present age is not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) Because He who knew no evil, came down, and became evil on our behalf. In that way, by way of Theophany, he, personally and painfully, resolved the problem of evil for eternity. Do we really need to know more than that?
    • Oh, God, I don’t know what you are doing and why you are choosing us for this position, but your past grace and evidence gives me strength for this moment and beyond and joy in the work of YOUR hand that so lovingly is leaning into Bethlehem.
    • Finally, I do plan to “pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people” (Psalm 116:13). I can quote these words only because I believe in future grace. I vow to be a faithful pastor. In answering this call, I will always remember that the pastoral office is not my office. It is the office of the people. I am called to serve you as an under-shepherd of the Chief Shepherd. And I will not forget the centrality of his cross. I can only pay my vow to be a pastor because I know the great vow of the gospel: “I, Jesus, take you, sinner, to be my bride, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward … and because I have defeated death, death will never us part.” Let us rejoice together in the vow of the gospel and the centrality of the cross. I am a blood-bought pastor for a blood-bought church. I believe that last night was a blood-bought vote. The glory is his.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 22/05/2012 in Current Issues

 

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