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God in a Suffering World

God in a Suffering World: Trusting and Ministering
Based on Yet Will I Trust Him (College Press, 1999)
The 24th W. B. West, Jr. Lectures
Harding University Graduate School of Religion
February 17, 2000
John Mark Hicks

A Lecture Outline

I. Trusting in Godís Providential Work.

†††A. General Typology.

††††††1. God as Spectator (Modern Deism).

††††††2. God as Coach (Postmodern Personalism).

††††††3. God as Player (Traditional Providence).

†††B. God as Player: Varied Understandings (Ch. 2).

††††††1. Three-fold Typology.

†††††††††a. The Pre-Programmed Game: Determinism.

†††††††††b. The Emergency Substitute: Occasional Interventionism.

†††††††††c. All Over the Field and Always On the Field: Concurrentism.

††††††††††††(1) Hard Concurrentism: God is at Work in Everything.

††††††††††††(2) Soft Concurrentism: Nothing Without Specific Divine Permission.

††††††2. A Concurrentist Theology of Providence.

†††††††††a. God as Player: Synergistically Creating the Future.

††††††††††††(1) God as Player Alongside Other Players: Divine Permission (Ch. 4).

††††††††††††(2) God as Player Directing Other Players: Divine Acts (Ch. 5).

†††††††††b. God as More than Player: The Sovereignty of God.

††††††††††††(1) Permission, Not Autonomy.

††††††††††††(2) Self-Limitation, Not Impotence.

†††C. Application of a Concurrentist Theology.

††††††1. Godís Intent: The Goal of the Game (Ch. 3).

††††††2. Our Relationship with God in the Game.

†††††††††a. The Dynamic of Prayer: Relational and Co-Creational.

†††††††††b. Trust: God is at Work.

†††††††††c. Confidence: God Cares.

††††††3. The Certainty of the Goal (Ch. 10).

†††††††††a. God will win.

†††††††††b. Will we trust?

II. Ministering in the Context of Godís Providential Work.

†††A. Fundamental Orientation Toward Sufferers.

††††††1. Comforters, Not Interpreters.

†††††††††a. Donít Interpret: You donít know what God is doing.

†††††††††b. Comfort: Express love and testify about Godís love.

††††††2. Theocentric, Not Androcentric.

†††††††††a. Donít Rationalize: No rationales are sufficient.

†††††††††b. Remind: Focus on God in Jesus Christ.

††††††3. Story-Formed, Not Metaphysical/Philosophical.

†††††††††a. Donít Explain: No theory comforts the soul.

†††††††††b. Tell the Story: Re-live Godís Narrative.

†††B. The Comfort of a Theocentric Story-Formed Pastoral Theology (Chapter 11).

††††††1. God Loves Unrelentingly.

††††††2. God Listens Sympathetically.

††††††3. God Understands Empathetically.

††††††4. God Reigns Sovereignly.

††††††5. God Wins Unconditionally.

†††C. Here We Stand!

††††††1. We donít know, but God does and he cares.

††††††2. We donít understand, but God has his reasons.

††††††3. I have reason to trust the God of Israel and Jesus; therefore, ďYet Will I Trust Him.Ē


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