The inadequacy of “I like to think…” theology

I’m sure you’ve heard it. Maybe you have even said it. “I like to think of God as…” Or “I like to think God would…” Oftentimes it’s well meant but ill thought through. In our therapeutic age we are reluctant to leave someone worried or uncertain or sad or grieving, instead we utter sentences like those above aiming to help people feel a bit better, to ameliorate some of the sadness or tension or worry. But here’s the problem, not only are such theological imaginings untrue, but they gradually erode our, and others, belief in the adequacy and inerrancy of scripture. They shrink God down to less than he reveals himself to be.

There are times when life throws up hard things for us to face and to wrestle with scripture over. We miss out, we fail to mature, we will be a spiritual stunted if our response is to forego the wrestling in favour of “I like to think…” theology. Because let’s be honest my heart and yours is so sinful at it’s root that we could twist that “I like to think” theology to make it say anything we want.

As followers of Jesus we live in a world at odds with him. We live in a world at odds with the kingdom and out of step with the compassion and glory and holiness of the king. And that means it will throw up points of tension. There will be times when we feel caught between the kingdom we have been redeemed into and the world we live in now. There will be times when it is hard to work out what God is sovereignly doing, when faith will mean not having an answer, not “liking to think”. But clinging to what we know God’s character, plans and purposes. That is not easy. It is comforting but not comfortable. But truth matters.

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