Archive for the ‘Providence’ Category

The following is a satirical catechism put together by John Owen, highlighting the consequences of Socinian error.

Question 1: What is God?
Answer: God is a spirit, that hath a bodily shape, eyes, ears, hands, feet, like to us.

Question 2: Where is this God?
Answer: In a certain place in heaven, upon a throne, where a man may see from his right hand to his left.

Question 3: Doth he ever move out of that place?
Answer: I cannot tell what he doth ordinarily, but he hath formerly come down sometimes upon the earth.

Question 4: What doth he do in there in that place?
Answer: Among other things, he conjectures at what men will do here below.

Question 5: Doth he, then, not know what we do?
Answer: He doth know what we have done, but not what we will do.

Question 6: What frame is he upon his knowledge and conjecture?
Answer: Sometimes he is afraid, sometimes grieved, sometimes joyful, and sometimes troubled.

Question 7: What peace and comfort can I have in committing myself to his providence, if he knows not what will befall me tomorrow?
Answer: What is that to me? See you to that.

Wow! Owen wasn’t pulling any punches. How we think about God goes a long way in how we think about life and reality and whether we can find comfort in God’s providence. Carl Trueman observes:

[T]he issues at stake when it came to the doctrine of God had profound pastoral implications; and the Arminian and Socinian proposals were not simply intellectually disastrous; they were also disastrous for the economy of salvation, and thus for Christian pastoral practice, and for the experience and aspirations of the ordinary believer as well. – John Owen: Reformed Catholic, Renaissance Man, 66.

Doing theology isn’t merely an exercise in mental gymnastics. No, it’s immensely practical. In fact, it’s the only way we can explain and cope with reality in this beautiful, yet sad, world.


Read Full Post »