Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chapter 9 - The Simplest Systematic Theology Ever

When I read this title I almost skipped this chapter. Seriously. I had flashbacks to my systematic theology class in seminary and it wasn't pleasant. There were two primary reasons for that:

1) The textbook was a LARGE volume of writings translated from the original German, and written by a serious theologian, Otto Weber. Never heard of him? Me either. Suffice it to say, we thought on vastly different planes, me and Herr Weber. My copy of the textbook was filled with pink highlights of passages that I was certain were very important and that I dearly hoped to understand... someday!

2) This in-depth study of theology led to a very uncomfortable time of searching and questioning for me. For a while nothing made sense anymore and I felt very much adrift in a sea of big words and concepts too complex for my very simple brain. In the end, though, I still believed what I had always believed. The difference was, that I had wrestled with the concepts on my own, and now they were truly my beliefs, not simply what my parents had taught me. I had grown up spiritually - just a little.

So, you can understand my relief to read this chapter and find the truth of the Word condensed down to two simple concepts:

"One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving."
Psalm 62:11-12

In other words:       God is Great. God is Good. 

Now, read this from chapter 9. Steven says:

"What makes world-changing Christians unique, audacious,
and powerful isn't their perfection. It's their understanding
of God's perfect nature and purposes in the world."  (p.96)

God is great. "...not only did he walk on water - he enabled an ordinary fisherman to walk on water with him."  (p.99, emphasis mine).

Read Jesus' words to his disciples in John 14:12-14:

 "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

More on that soon. But until then, meditate on those verses for a while. 

God is good. "God's goodness means that all his greatness is meant to work in your life for your good. Not necessarily your momentary happiness. But your ultimate good." (p. 102)

"We know that in all things God works for the good of those
who love him, who have been called according to 
his purpose."  Romans 8:28

"Great people of faith simply get a grip on a handful of essential truths - and then they hold on to those truths for dear life as they follow Christ in faith, one step at a time." (p.96)

How basic and simple is your theology? Can it be summed up in the simple childhood prayer, "God is great, God is good?"

Simple concept. Vast layers of meaning. How do we begin to understand? By trusting and moving in faith through those layers. Acting. Stepping out on faith and seeing God unfold another layer. Our experience opens the door to greater understanding. Saying we trust God is one thing. Actually stepping out and allowing him to catch us in his mighty hand is truly another. 

That's what this book is about, and our challenge is this:

"Live a life that can be explained only by the
existence of a God who is infinitely great." (p.99)

It's your turn:  What is on your 'step out on faith' agenda for today? Will you do it and experience God's goodness and his greatness? Share your experience and encourage someone else today.  

Tomorrow: Chapter 10: Hear.Speak.Do.

SUN STAND STILL: What happens when you dare to ask God for the impossible, by Steven Furtick.

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