Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Limits of God's Grace

The title of this post comes from an article I recently read in The Journal of Student Ministries. Here's a link to the article: The Limits of God's Grace.

So, the basic gist of the article is that Bart Campolo (author and son of Tony Campolo) refuses to believe in the God of double predestination, and refuses to believe in a God who actively wills things like rape, hurricane destruction, murder, and other evils, to take place. He gives four possible responses to evil in the world:
  1. There are no spiritual forces and our lives have no greater meaning. In this case, he despairs
  2. There is only one spiritual force at work in the universe and everything, including the bad stuff, happens according to its will. In this case, he despairs.
  3. There are two diametrically opposed spiritual forces, and the evil force is stronger and will eventually win. In this case, he despairs.
  4. There are two opposing spiritual forces, and the good (God) will utterly triumph and redeem even the evil things in the world. He says that, "In this case--and in this case alone--I rejoice and gladly pledge my allegiance to the good and loving God."
He goes on to say that he's only willing to worship God if the fourth possibility is true. Otherwise, he'd rather be sent to hell than spend eternity with a God who wills rape and murder. As you can imagine, he's taking some major heat from evangelicals...being proclaimed a heretic and said to make God in his own image.

All in all, I think it's a great article. I think it speaks to the experience of many people who are unwilling to buy into and worship a God who would be so seemingly fickle and unloving as to cause evil things to happen.

As I've asked many times before, what is it about a God of limitless Grace and Love that makes some people so nervous? What if God really does plan to redeem/save everything in the end? What if a profession of faith is more about the benefit of experiencing God's presence in our lives now and less about our eternal status before God? What do we gain by professing a God who will evil to happen? What do we gain by professing a God who will banish some to an eternity of weeping and gnashing of teeth, or at the very least fails to save some from that fate?

Read the article and let me know what you think.