We have been talking about theology lately…how much God knows, how little, whether it is important that we know how much he knows, and so on and so forth. It’s all very interesting, time consuming and, to an extent, tiresome. Fact is, the Bible is silent on some issues, speaks loudly on others, and is rather ambiguous about still others (such as whether or not Jesus had long hair). All jesting aside, I don’t think it is unreasonable to believe that there are some things that simply cannot be known by us about God.
But that doesn’t mean it is unhealthy to talk about such things and debate them.
Many years ago I read this book by John Sanders called The God Who Risks. I was too young at the time to fully grasp what I was reading, but in light of recent conversations (among others), I have been thinking about the book’s contents and arguments (it seems even back then, more than 10 years ago, John Piper was on the radar in these conversations). One interesting thing I noted about the book is that I didn’t mark it up like I normally do a book I am reading. Seriously, not one ink mark on any page. Strange. Although I do vaguely recall disagreeing with quite a lot of it (what I understood at the time).
So, here’s Sanders on salvation, what he calls the Relational Model of Salvation:
God takes risks with enabling grace in that people are not forced to believe. God does not believe in himself through us. The love of Christ and the prompting of the Spirit create the context in which we may respond in penitence and faith to God’s gracious gift. God is the initiator and provider of salvation, yet he does not want a relationship without our consent. (246)
I believe this conversation is meaningful enough that I will post some more of Sanders’ thoughts later this week and next. For now, though, I am curious. Do you think God takes risks? I remember one time, when I was but a young preacher, preaching a sermon that expounded a point that went something like this: God is courageous. I remember one of the elders questioning me closely after the sermon and then informing me, in no uncertain terms, that God doesn’t need to be courageous.
Years later, I wonder…