Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bridges, 2008. Chapter 14, "Giving Thanks Always"

Chapter 14, “Giving Thanks Always” pp. 223-234

Bridges closes his book with a chapter about thanksgiving and other responses which come from trusting God. He views these (p. 223) as “tangible evidence that we are in fact trusting God.” First, we give thanks to God both in good times and bad. In this way we show we are dependent on God. However, while we may be good at being thankful in good times, that is rarely the case in bad times. Another response as we trust God is to worship him at all times. Since he is the good God who acts according to his will, worship shows our humble acceptance of God’s will. Bridges reminds us that we do not see just God’s sovereignty but that we have already seen his love. We also show trust for God by forgiving those who bring adversity upon us. After all, we ourselves are often the people who bring adversity.

Does this all mean we do not try to escape adversity? No. We pray for deliverance. But at the same time we accept God’s will and bring him glory.

Bridges has built a convincing case for the trustworthiness of God. However, I find his arguments leave us with a Christianity which is essentially man-centered. Because of his theological starting point of God’s sovereignty, all the Christian life, or at least all its hope, is found in my response of obedience. Counter to this the more historic view of theology rooted in God’s incarnational love still points us to a God who is sovereign, wise, and good. Yet the hope is entirely found in Christ for sinners, not in my responses and their increasing godliness. I cannot bring God glory by trusting him. I bring God glory rather by repenting and asking his forgiveness for my lack of trust. Here is hope.

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