I am particularly interested in how evangelicals tend to see events in their lives and in history as expressions of God’s direct judgment. The belief that God is actively judging people through the events that happen in life is a significant source of fear for many Christians.Read the whole post here.
Much of this phenomenon transcends evangelicalism or any particular expression of Christianity. It is a human behavior that even unbelievers may engage in. When bad or undesirable events occur, there is a deep human impulse to see the event as a punishment from God (or fate, etc.) Christians, because of examples of God’s judgment in scripture and because of how many Christian teachers and leaders interpret events in the light of God’s judgment, often experience fear that God is punishing them directly and will do so in the future.
Does the judgment of God ever occur in history? Christians certainly believe that God is working his purposes out, and we believe that temporal judgment is one of those purposes. At the same time, we do not believe that a human presumption of judgment is dependable. It is not pastorally dependable and it tends towards cruelty and arrogance.
We believe that God is for us. In our suffering, he is not experimenting or entertaining himself, but we can be sure he is, even in the midst of the worst events, working towards an ultimate good. His discipline is shaping us into the image of Christ, not judging us for our sins. Christ has been judged for us. God’s wrath as judge has been exhausted on his Son. He is the propitiation for our sins, and no sacrifice - or judgment - is left.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Religion of Fear
Does God's judgement make Christianity a religion of fear? The Internet Monk has a good post on the subject. Of notable quotability: