Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Readings in Theology

The new semester for Southern Seminary students is under way, two weeks in. I have had a fair amount of work already, completing my first book this last Monday. One of the great benefits of Seminary education is the reading. I have enjoyed, for the most part, all of the readings that have been assigned to me by my professors, in almost all of the classes I have had. The book I just finished on Monday, however, might be the exception.

It was not that I didn't enjoy it, or that I didn't like the author, or the writing in particular. No, rather it was that I didn't agree with his teachings. In Systematic Theology II I have been assigned to read Dr. Bruce Ware's God's Greater Glory. The work is a look at the doctrine of divine providence and Ware's own position on the subject is somewhat unique. Only a handful of other theologians hold to what he calls "Compatibilist Middle Knowledge" as the reconciling doctrine between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. I do not agree with the doctrine, but it is interesting, and it has made me think more carefully and thoughtfully about my own doctrine of divine providence. To this end I have much to thank Dr. Ware for (and I can since he is a highly esteemed professor at this institution). But on the other hand, I have not found much other value in the work and in the coming days hope to post an assessment of his theological view on divine providence.

My point in this post is simply to admonish us all to read, carefully and with Bible in hand, those whom we disagree with. Dr. Ware has presented a thoughful and cogent argument for his convictions and they have already caused me to think more carefully and intentionally about my beliefs. This is the great benefit of discussion. So discuss, with caution, and in submission to God's word, and so grow!


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