Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Sovereignty of God: A Neglected Teaching?

Last week, I mentioned and asked about my recently-assigned topic: The Sovereignty of God. Several ideas and suggestions came in. Thanks!

Getting started in my study, just for kicks I did a few searches over at Restoration Serials Index, a really useful resource I've blogged about before. Here are the words I keyed in, followed by the number of matches:

attendance: 291

obedience: 801

baptism: 1570

sovereignty: 45

reign: 44

supremacy: 10

Now, I know, simply giving the number of hits for certain words is arbitrary. (Ever tried to find the word love in the Book of Acts?) At the same time, I can't help thinking that the huge disparity of those numbers has to be saying something.

It's reported that G. C. Brewer once preached night after night about the greatness of Christ, the sacrifice of Jesus. A church member asked him, "When are you going to start preaching the gospel?" Brewer understood what he meant. He was asking, "When are you going to start talking about the mode, necessity, and purpose of baptism?"

It seems that in the Churches of Christ we've talked a lot about certain acts of obedience. And that is extensively appropriate. According to Romans 1:5, the gospel of Jesus Christ calls us "to the obedience that comes from faith."

However, what we haven't done so much is to talk about the source and the reason for our obedience. Earlier in the same verse, Paul mentions it. The apostolic mission of announcing the gospel of Jesus Christ is "through him and for his name's sake."

We must obey the Lord. We must continue to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. But the reason and the power must come first: "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:12-13).

Got any thoughts about this you'd like to share? I'm still studying and thinking, and would be glad to hear what comes to your mind.

1 comment:

mattdabbs said...

I think we have gotten really good at talking about certain issues. We get comfortable with our pet issues and terms and miss out on so much. There comes a time when you finally have to say "Okay, we have been talking about that for 50 years. We get it. What's next?" It doesn't mean you don't think obedience, etc is important any more it just means you actually hunger for learning about other important topics.