And The Power

Why do we say God has the power? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Something I found interesting when I went through the first part of Aquinas’s Summa Theologica was that questions were being answered that are really just now becoming major issues. Before the new atheism had hit, most of the arguments were already answered by Aquinas and other medieval theologians. Augustine has a wonderful paragraph on Christians and scientific issues that could have looked like it was written today.

One such question asked is if there is power in God. Then, it was asked if He was omnipotent or not. Aquinas answered the questions and answered all the objections to them. Note that I said objections. The medievals were thinking about these things long before we were.

So what about power? That shows up in the Lord’s prayer. God’s is the Kingdom and the power. Why do we say that?

Because if you’re going to rule a Kingdom, you have to have the power to bring about that Kingdom if it isn’t already there, and you have to have the power to rule it. Only God, and specifically God in Christ, can be the true king because only He is omnipotent and only He is without beginning and without end. He has the power to make what He wants happen and the power to sustain it when it does.

Which should really make us all think seriously about things. If you know the king has the power over everything in your life, how are you going to respond? Are you going to treat Him in a nonchalant way? Are you going to act regularly against His authority and power? If so, then you are a fool.

And by that, we are all fools.

The Lord’s prayer is meant at this point to remind us not to do that. Everything is about God. We ask God to supply our needs because we realize we are dependent on Him. We ask God to forgive us our debts, because we know that He alone can forgive us and we know that He is the one we have wronged. It’s His Kingdom and we are all traitors to the King.

Serious stuff. Do we really think about this when we pray this prayer? Do we consider that He has the power?

If you do something wrong at your job and know that the boss knows about it, you can be in fear since he holds your livelihood. If you have an affair and cheat on your spouse, you can live in fear because if they find out, they can leave. If you are guilty of a crime, you can live in fear of the police lest you be arrested.

Should we not live with an appropriate fear of God? Should we not want to do the same with Him? Should we not want to make it our goal to avoid wronging Him?

It is always tempting to take God lightly and to take prayer lightly. We should do neither. We should realize that we are entering into the presence of the King. Dare we make requests when we have not considered His power and holiness (The prayer reminded us that hallowed be God’s Name)? Yet we do.

Let’s not take the Lord’s Prayer lightly either. God has the power. We need to respect that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: 3D Gospel

What do I think of Georges book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

3D Gospel

If you have an interest in missions, buy this book.

If you have an interest in understanding other cultures, buy this book.

If you have an interest in understanding the Bible and how it would be read in its own context, buy this book.

If you have an interest in seeing the Bible beyond your own cultural perspective, buy this book.

So yes, I want you to buy this book.

The 3D Gospel refers to the three different types of cultures we see in the world. Here in the West, we live in a guilt-innocence culture. Unfortunately, we often think so does the rest of the world, including the world of the Bible, and read our modern culture, perspectives, and individualism into the Biblical text, which can often produce disastrous results. There are two other kinds of cultures.

There are also honor-shame cultures. These are cultures where honor and shame are the main forces at work as people live seeking to cover up shame and claim honor. In these cultures, what happens in the group is of utmost importance as you want to maintain not just your honor, but the honor of your group, and you do not want to be shamed by the people of your group. What you do reflects on everyone who identifies with you. This viewpoint is in the Middle and Far East.

Then there are fear-power cultures. In these cultures, unseen powers play a big role. This is not just God, but also demons, angels, spirits, dead ancestors, etc. In these cultures, you seek the means to gain power over the unseen world and the defenses to protect yourself from what happens in this world, such as following what steps it takes to avoid curses, perhaps visiting someone like a shaman. This is in some southern nations and tribal nations.

It is important that we learn how to interact. As Georges says on location 161, “For cross-cultural workers, a truncated gospel hinders spirituality, theology, relationships, and ministry We unintentionally put God in a box, only allowing him to save in one area.”

And this is the main theme throughout. Georges writes this so that we can understand the Gospel better and realize that it has something to say to all three cultures and we dare not just go by ours alone. If you go to a culture that is honor-shame and start talking about the Gospel in individualistic terms, you will not get much of an audience. You will need to appeal to the need of honor for people, You will need to relate to them passages about honor and shame in the Bible and about seeking the honor of God rather than the honor of men.

If you go to a fear-power culture, you do not want to talk about gentle Jesus meek and mild. You need to talk about the warrior Jesus. You need to talk about the warrior Jesus who in Colossians 2 disarms the powers that are against us and triumphs over them by the cross. You might also need to be prepared for some real work with prayerful preparation as you could really encounter darker powers in places where this viewpoint is prevalent. What we call power evangelism really plays a role here.

This book is also not long. You can read it in a day easily. That will be a day well spent as you will get some excellent insight into how these other cultures work. Note of course that this is just a start. From there, you need to move on to the best works of scholarship in the field, but if you want to get your feet wet, this is an excellent start in order to do that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters