Thursday, June 30, 2011

Without Excuse

I'm always hesitant to write about things that may be opinionated or controversial because I am very aware of my lack of authority or qualifications to talk about theology. The questions I have and topics I don't understand far, far outweigh the minuscule list of things I am sure of.

But I have read a few things lately about the topic of the 'final judgement'. I have not read it yet, but there has been a lot of talk about Rob Bell's book Love Wins and I read a blog by Rachel Held Evans and she discusses similar sorts of things.

There are many things that people question and struggle with, such as what about children who are too young to make a decision? What about people in remote places who have never had the chance to hear the gospel?

I'm no theologian, and nor do I think I ever want to be, (although now I've put that out them, I'm sure I'll end up eating my words one day) for while I find the discussions interesting to a point, I feel like the more I read or here the more convoluted the whole issue becomes to me. Not just for this, but for all the hotly debated topics of God and Christianity.

For me, whatever the exact details of how judgement works, I have peace in the unfailing justness of God's nature. I have no doubt our idea of 'just', or fair, does not exactly match the perfection of God, but I know that we can trust in Him. He is not arbitrary or volatile. And He is loving.

I think if we worry about people who have not had a chance to hear the gospel because they live where missionaries haven't reached them, we are essentially saying that we don't think God is powerful enough to reveal himself to people without us.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Even where people are surrounded by opportunities to head about God, even where it is literally shouted on street corners, they never accept it until God becomes real to them. If you believe God because He is real to you, why would He not be able to be real to someone else, regardless of whether they have ever heard of Christianity? Sometimes God uses others, but always He speaks to the heart.

I believe God will not leave anyone without the chance to choose Him. It just depends on whether we listen or not.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper
1 Kings 19:11-12

How has God made Himself real to you?

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