This upcoming series will take a look at how a doctrine of Providence indicates the practices of faith in the life of the believer.
If we believe that the Triune God has not only created but also continues to govern our lives for fellowship with him, a doctrine of providence functions to help make sense of who we are and who God is, and, as a corollary, it also functions to make sense of the seeming madness and horrors that surround us. When something goes wrong, pointing the finger at God is too simple a move to make.
What a doctrine of providence should do, is draw our attention back to the scriptural testimony of God’s character and actions. As the Spirit funds our faith, we turn in prayer to God and, though we can’t make sense of the madness, we submit our lives in trust, believing God’s loving care and governance is for our good and his glory.
When evil shows up and it always does, we are reminded by John Webster that ‘What makes evil problematic for providence is not its existence but the fact that we resist applying belief in providence to cases of it, especially those in which we are concerned’.
This study enters into a discussion with Terrance Tiessen, who has written a book on the subject. As we work through the book, we will evaluate those models of the doctrine which he sets forth and include the following, just to name a few: A Process, ‘Openness’, Thomist, Barthian, and Fatalist model.
The goal is twofold: (1) to trace how this doctrine has been described by better and more able theologians both past and present and in so doing to move toward a biblically reasoned account that is informed by these voices, and (2) to be directed through this conversation to help articulate our prayers in the midst of this life under God’s fatherly care.