Friday, May 9, 2008

Since I finished my class class of my MDiv career on Wednesday, I have been able to do some pleasure reading. One book - which I used as a source for my biblical decision-making paper - which I have been reading is by Bruce Waltke entitled: Finding the Will of God: Pagan Notion? And this book is superb! In a nutshell, Waltke reveals that "finding the will of God" is a pagan notion which has a lot of pagan connotations back to the ancient world of casting lots and inquiring of some pagan "god" in order to find his "will." Regarding this, Waltke says:

In the New Testament, God never calls us to "seek His will," but rather to seek
His kingdom and do His will. We ought to stamp out of our vocabulary the
nonbiblical and misleading expression "finding God's will." Rather than talk
about "seeking the will of God," we ought to speak of following the guidance of God. This is not just semantically different, since He is
calling us to draw close to Himself and to live holy lives. God's will for us is
that we be holy; there is no mystery to His will. As for those questions about
changing jobs, getting married, going to school, and the like, finding answers
will require growing close to God (p.169).

Don't think that because it is Dr. Waltke writing this work, it is some "above-your-head" scholarly book about the nuances of Hebrew (though, of course, Waltke could do this). Rather, this is as practical as theology gets. Along these lines, Waltke insightfully reveals:

We live in a golden age for Christian publishing. Never have so many words been
written nor so many pages published on the Lord Jesus Christ. Every city in
North America seems to have a Christian bookstore, and their shelves are filled
with interesting, helpful, and profound books on the Christian life. The downside
of all this is that I think many people have shied away from Scripture itself.
There is so much out there, and much of it seems awfully interesting to
Christians, so it has become easier to read the latest popular book on God or
the church or the family than it is to read the Bible ... you must
spend time reading God's Word or you will never mature in your Christian faith
... I am simply reminding you that all of those good books will amount to very
little in your life if you do not spend time in the most important book of all,
the Holy Bible (p.63).

Finally, at the end of the book Waltke notes that all this theology that people can (and should!) learn must not be sheer "head knowledge." As he notes, "theology, what we know about God, changes our lives" (p.183). And if it doesn't, then it's a hypocritical ("non-Christian") religion. As he concludes:

Knowing God, which we inadequately refer to as "theology," designates more than
the involvement of a personality in the presence of the Lord. God is known
through doing His will. One author put it: "the knowledge of God is defined
throughout as obedience to His will. The Bible consistently demands action, not
words. God was pleased to validate His own character in the acid test of
history. He was not content with merely propositional truths about Himself

So, Christian, go and learn God's Word; study it; revel in it; bathe in it; clothe yourself with it; let it find its abode deep in your heart and soul. And then, only then, when that infallible and inerrant Word has deeply impacted your heart and life will you be being led by God!


Anonymous said...

Geoff, this post on The will of God really helped me. I have a friend (new believer) that kept telling me that he wanted to "find the will of God" for his life. That statement always bothered me, and now I know why. Your post allowed me to talk more about getting close to God with him. Thanks for your blog.

Andrew (St. Louis)

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