Providence (Guest Post by David Teruel)
“What’s the least I can believe and still be a Christian?” The question may seem quite reductionist and presumptuous to those who hold the Word of God as life giving, awe-inspiring, and actually words from God. How many women want a perspective in potential suitors or their husband that asks, “How little do I need to know about you and do for you and still claim your commitment?” It is a magnificent statement of self-ism and a betrayal of true love. Yet, these words are the title of a book considered in the broadest sense to be a “Christian” book.
Certainly this is not the tenor of spirit in faithful and God loving Christian homes, at least not overtly. What does overtly mean? Well, in this context I mean what I have had to confess to God many times in my walk with God; when I don’t understand the significance of certain scriptures or don’t like the conclusions that biblical authors take us to, it is easy to ignore those portions of scripture for the lower hanging fruit. We neglect the beautifully complex order that feeds that fruit of biblical knowledge that I enjoy easily. We are, rather, quite pleased with ourselves that we are in the Word. But are we really “in the Word” if we are refusing to study biblical truths that eventually make our minds hurt for their complexity? Aren’t we really just picking and choosing what we want to consider in our Christian walk? In these moments we are acting quite in step with those who want to strip the Bible of the clear truths that clash with our culture’s current perspectives. The difference is that we have chosen not to be that overt about our rejection of truth. No, that would not be the response of a biblically centered, Christ honoring and Kingdom seeking Christian.
But what of truths like the one we are studying in this conference? Providence. Do we even know what it is? Do we understand how it works? Do we even know how it helps the believer? Last year marked one of the most trying years of my married life. The trial was not because of sin. Marjorie, my wife and best friend, went in for her regular mammogram only to find out after a couple of days that she had breast cancer. After a bi-lateral mastectomy, full reconstruction, and more knowledge about women’s breast cancer than we wanted to ever know, we are finally done. Where was the relief? What was the theology for which to call out to God? Where was the hope, where was the joy, where did we satisfy the hard questions that spring from this disease?
Providence… You may not be in the storm right now, but I assure you, you will be. Many around the world are in egregious conditions. What anchoring will you have? What anchoring can you give if you were asked by one of the loved ones of a Christian brutalized at the hands of ISIS, “where is God?” Join us at this year’s Passion For Christ Conference as we begin a journey of unpacking that anchoring truth of God’s providence. I look forward to the journey with you.
Dave Teruel will be a plenary speaker at P4C14. He currently serves as preaching pastor at Westwood Church in Evansville, IN. He is married to his wife Marjorie of 16 years and they have three children.