Thursday, April 07, 2011

Man-centeredness vs. God-centeredness

I posted this because in a very real way I have been struggling with the issues discussed here - God's fairness, putting Him in the dock, judging Him by my human standards. God spoke to me through this phone call on the program. More and more I am beginning to see my problem is not so much about questions I am asking, but that the questions themselves come from a worldview that is not consistent with the Bible.

This something I have prayed about - that my heart would be in sync with the Bible. And it's not. I'm beginning to see that I am following a man-centered Gospel instead of a God-centered one. God showed more of Himself to me last year - that alone took a divine work - but all the intellectual learning never went on beyond that. The world made sense, God made sense; let's not rock the boat.

My Dad's death rocked that boat. It capsized it. All of a sudden the world didn't make sense, God didn't make sense, nothing in my entire life made sense. Since then I have been drowning is a sea of my own doubts and questions about God's goodness.

Why? Because what I leaned last year never got down to my heart. I still think in a man-centered way instead of a God-centered way. Maybe He is trying to change that and make that head learning travel the long 18 inches from my head to my heart, to really change how I view things. What lens will I see the world through?

The Dividing Line
March 31, 2011
Dr. James White
Excerpt from 59:54 though 1:05:43, talking to a caller, Daniel
Full audio here.

Daniel: In having a proper foundation for defending our being born with a sinful nature, I’m looking at how that relates to Adam being our just representative and trying to articulate that in a faithful way. I’ve heard everything from "well, sometimes we get Presidents we didn’t elect and their decisions effect us" to "we were actually sinning in Adam" to "we had him on our fantasy football team and so when he lost, we lost." I feel like that has to bear a lot of weight because that relates to the justice of having inherited corruption. So I’m just wondering how you would articulate that.

JW: I would articulate that by challenging the direction of argumentation behind the question. In other words, you just said it bears a lot of weight because of the issue of justice. Yeah, if you’re willing to put God in the dock and judge His justice and how He has dealt with mankind, as if we are even invited to do so, yes. But I think the Biblical response is that this is what God has done, and since it is God doing it, that’s what defines justice. Fundamentally, Adam’s role as the Federal Head of the race is an act determined by the Creator Himself. God has determined that Adam is to represent us in the same way that He has determined – without asking our permission – that Jesus be the Federal Head of those who are in covenant with Him.

And so the issue is "Are God’s acts just?", and by definition they are, and we live in Western culture where that has been reversed, to where - at one point that would not even be questioned – now we actually think that there is some standard outside of God by which to judge His actions as to whether they are just or not, and honestly I would challenge that on a presuppositional level.

...We do know how (these things) work in the sense that the Judge of all the earth will do right, and in essence the foolishness of the question is that we could actually pick somebody better. If God created Adam so as to function the way that Adam did so as to bring about His greatest glory through the redemption of a particular people through Christ Jesus, the whole idea of putting God in the dock and saying, "Well, we’re really not sure that we like the way You did this," is really more of a fundamental rebellion against the creatorship of God as it is anything else.

There is a sense in which we struggle today because so many are so infected – including within the church – are so infected with a humanism that lowers God and subjects Him to external criteria, that it’s really hard to talk with folks who have been infected that way, and they’re in the church. That’s why we need a lot more...preaching on the transcendence and holiness of God...Just to be taken with the "otherness" of God is normally enough of an answer for us to realize, "Wow, that’s a dumb question to ask."

I’m not saying “dumb” in the sense that we shouldn’t deal with this, but that if we recognize our creatureliness, and recognize His creatorship, we will actually be staying on the proper grounds to understand the Biblical response. If we have dragged Him down to where He’s standing on the same ground we are, I’m not sure we can answer the question in a meaningful fashion.

Daniel: I think the big problem is [people say], “Well, I was born this way and I can’t control it. Now it’s not my fault; it’s Adam’s.

JW: ...We see it all around us. It’s amazing how we have dehumanized ourselves in that sense. [You need to ask], "What do you mean I have no choice about this?" We are human beings, we are created in the image of God, and to recognize our falleness in Adam, to recognize total depravity, is only to make sin all the more guilty, because we know we can control ourselves, but we don’t want to.

This whole idea that people have developed – Oh, we can’t control ourselves; it’s all genetics… The Christian view of man is much higher than that – it is much higher than that. It makes the guilt of man even deeper because we are created in the image of God and we can control ourselves. I don’t buy this "We can’t control ourselves" stuff. Sin, yes – it's our nature – but we do it because we love it. And every single one of us knows when that temptation arises, we don’t have to do it. And yet so many people today have bought into the idea that we do have to.

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