Posts Tagged Devotional

Signs of Life Episode 7: Dead End Decisions

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Quoting Bonhoeffer #7

Metaxas quotes a friend and classmate of Bonhoeffer’s, Helmuth Goes, who “recalled feeling a ‘secret enthusiasm’ for Bonhoeffer’s ‘free, critical, and independent’ theological thinking”:

What really impressed me was not just the face that he surpassed almost all of us in theological knowledge and capacity; but what passionately attracted me to Bonhoeffer was the perception that here was a man who did not only learn and gather in the verba and scripta of some master, but one who thought independently and already knew what he wanted and wanted what he knew. I had the experience (for me it was something alarming and magnificently new!) of hearing a young fair-haired student contradict the revered historian, his Excellency von Harnack answered, but the student contradicted again and again [Metaxas in Bonhoeffer, 59].

Later Metaxas writes,

Besides Harnack, three other Berlin professors had decided influence on Bonhoeffer. They were Karl Holl, who was perhaps the greatest Luther scholar of that generation; Reinhold Seeberg, who specialized in systematic theology, and under whom Bonhoeffer wrote his doctoral thesis; and Adolf Deissman, who was Bonhoeffer’s introduction to the ecumenical movement, which would play such an important role in his life and provide the means by which he became involved in the conspiracy against Hitler. But there was another theologian who had a greater influence on Bonhoeffer than any of these, and whom he would revere and respect as much as anyone in his lifetime, who would even become a mentor and a friend. This was Karl Barth of Göttingen [Metaxas in Bonhoeffer, 60].

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serve while you wait

For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 NET).

Following the sermon one Sunday, I was able to have a helpful conversation with a brother in Christ.  It involved a topic that we had discussed on a previous occasion concerning the millennium.  Our conversation was a response to the thought that when Christ returns, he will deal with the brokenness, evil, and suffering in our world.  My friend asked, “Is saying ‘he will’ good enough?”  Honest premillennialists wrestle with this question.  It seems that we have been indoctrinated to wait.  We believe that Christ will return, and we also believe that at that time he will establish a kingdom upon the earth in which all things will become new.  But should “wait” and “he will” be our answers as we seek to be springs of hope in the lives of others?

I think the passage above from 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 sheds some light on what our lives should look like as we wait.  The Thessalonians had developed a reputation not only as a people who waited for the renewal that would accompany Christ’s return, but also they were a people who advanced the new life they had in Christ having turned away from idols toward God to serve him.  They became a people who waited with hope and served with undivided allegiance to King Jesus; a people who waited for the kingdom and served with the King’s interests in mind.

So, is “he will” or “wait” enough of an answer to the brokenness in our world?  No.  I would add, “and he is through his redeemed servants – the church.”  The premillennialist must not have an unbalanced eschatology that calls only for waiting.  While we wait for the kingdom, we must be a people who serves the King by actively advancing his hope today.

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