A Simple Theology

A Simple Theology

I believe God is always saying one thing: “I love you.” And He always follows up with a question, “do you believe me?” What would our lives look like if we could answer this one question that God is always asking?

Doubting Thomas?

Years ago, I overheard my mom in the kitchen telling my sister, Aimee, how Thomas was her favorite disciple of Jesus.

I was a little surprised by her choice and thought I’d be clever.

“Mom, I don’t want to be a doubting Thomas, but I’m pretty sure your favorite disciple was the fella with the underwhelming moniker.” I yelled into the kitchen sarcastically.

 My mom came out of the kitchen and gave me a fiery look. One I saw too many times in my youth; a look that releases the awe-inspiring fear of God, “Jason, it’s just horrible we call him that! Think about the scripture we have because Thomas was bold enough to ask when the others weren’t?”

And just like that, my whole thought about Thomas changed. Thanks, mom! I am so grateful for your wisdom!

Jesus, attempting to prepare His disciples for the coming dark days of His death, tells them, You know the way to the place where I am going.” (1)

And John leans over to Peter and whispers. “Hey Pete?”

“What?” Peter responds in a whisper yell. Peter was a horrible whisperer.

“Do you know the way to the place Jesus is going?” John asks with sincerity.

Peter furrows his brow, “Of course!”

John raises an eyebrow, “So you have no idea then.”

Peter waves John off brusquely. John is a little concerned but then he remembers and smiles, “No worries, Thomas will ask Him.”

And Thomas did. And we are all infinitely glad he did.

“Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (2)

“We don’t know…” It was nice Thomas included the other disciples, but because of his question we all have an answer, and it’s one of our all-time favorites!

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’” (2)

Thomas’ “we don’t know” makes room for Jesus to highlight the tension of mystery and revelation, “You will know” and “From now on, you do know...” Jesus’ answer is the beautiful invitation to live in the tension of not knowing with a promise of knowing.

Like always, Jesus is speaking in the infinite language of sovereign love…

John and Peter looked at each other after Jesus was finished. They still didn’t understand, but that wasn’t unusual. Jesus was always saying stuff that was not only confusing, but also often seriously controversial.

The fact is, most of the time, most of the people listening to Jesus had little to no idea what He was talking about.

One time Jesus told His followers that the only way they could experience eternal life was if they ate His flesh and drank His blood. A lot of people stopped following Jesus that day. When Jesus asked the twelve disciples if they would leave Him also, Peter famously said, “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life.” (3)

Interpretation, “I don’t know… but God is good” and that’s enough.

Peter, John, Thomas and many others have revealed that to truly follow Jesus, we must be willing to live in the tension of not knowing and the invitation to know; to “get wisdom. Though it cost all (we) have, get understanding.” 

We must embrace mystery if we are to gain revelation.

Jesus is the way to where we are going; He is the lens by which to discover wisdom, the key by which to unlock understanding.

I don’t call Thomas “doubting” anymore. He was a man of faith willing to live in the tension of the question so he might discover the whole story, the greater revelation. Thomas gave everything up to follow Jesus and after He ascended to heaven, Thomas is believed to have shared the gospel of sovereign love, planting churches in Syria, Babylon (Iraq), Persia (Iran) and even into India before dying by a spear, martyred for his profound faith in the way the truth and the life.

**This is an excerpt from Jason’s new book on the sovereignty of love entitled, God Is (Not) In Control

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Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

If God Is Good...

If I type into Google’s search bar, “If God is good…” Google will finish my search with the following suggestions:

...Why is there suffering? 
...why do bad things happen? 
...why is there evil?

These questions reveal something sad and devastating— most Google users, which means pretty much everyone, believe a lie about the nature of God. The lie? God is in control.

In my early twenties, I had a conversation with a co-worker friend who wanted to know about my faith. This girl didn’t know Jesus; she didn’t know about his always-good love. So I told her about him. I spoke with passion and power. She listened raptly, wanting and needing to believe me. I could see it in her eyes.

But then she asked me the question. It’s the question Google gets all the time: “If God is good, why do bad things happen?”

She wasn’t asking to be confrontational. She was sincere. It was clearly a question she had agonized over. It seemed to me she was desperate for an answer. She wanted to believe that a good God loved her.

I had no answer. In fact, if I’d been truly honest, I was conflicted with the same question. But I responded the same way many well-meaning Christians have when faced with the question. 
“God is in control,” I said.

Then I continued with the sledgehammer of misunderstood scripture, saying, “and He works all things for good” (Rom. 8:8).

It was meant to be comforting. It wasn’t. My answer was anemic at best, destructive at worst. And I knew it. Something wasn’t lining up.

She looked utterly disappointed, a heavy weight crushing her soul. I watched her shift from hope to sorrow and then anger.

“I can’t follow a God who allows child abuse!” She said with force. She described the darkest evil this world knows, and I felt her confused and angry grief like a fist to the jaw.

I think somewhere along the way she experienced the devastating horror of a broken fallen world, and I had just told her a good and loving God was responsible for it. My attempt to share God’s good love had only cemented her resistance to Him.

Even though I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, I instinctively knew my answer contradicted my premise. There was disparity in the idea that God is in control and God is good.

At the time, I had a misunderstanding regarding God’s nature, his sovereignty. I believed God was in control.

The premise that God is in control can’t help but raise the Google questions—then why does He allow evil, suffering, and bad things?

That premise forced me to bend scripture to redefine his “working all things to good.” A good God who wants control of our lives and will partner with evil to get it; a good God who will compromise our freedom by manipulating evil circumstances to gain our affections; a good God who will allow love to be distorted and perverted to capitalize on our needs; a good God who is an accessory to murder, starvation, sickness, and poverty so that we would know He loves us...

Or in the case of my friend, a good God who would allow child abuse so He can work it all for good.

This contradiction to His nature is of epic proportions. It can’t be further from the truth. God is either good or He is in control; it can’t be both.

God is not in control. God is Love.

The premise that God is in control manipulates his nature into something contrary to love. There are no manipulations, no ulterior motives, no compromises; He is always good, He loves us and wants us to live powerfully free and in all the authority He won for us through his death and resurrection.

For centuries, much of the church has defined God’s sovereignty through the premise of control. I want to define it the way Jesus revealed it—as Love. Jesus revealed that Love has all authority and that every control of need was answered in the authority of Love.

God is love, and that’s what makes Him sovereign.

Love redeems, restores, heals, empowers, and transforms. Love trumps every controlling need this fallen world and the enemy of our souls throw at us. Love is the answer to disappointment, devastation, and abuse. Love empowers freedom to choose to be loved, to trust love, and to become love.

If I could talk to my co-worker friend today, I would apologize for how I misrepresented God’s nature. I would challenge the premise. I would tell her that God is not in control; Love doesn’t operate that way. I would tell her that God has nothing to do with the evils of this world or the devastation of sin. I would tell her He plays no part in the destruction of humanity.

I would tell her God is love and His love is always good. Always.

Then, I would tell her of the wonder of Jesus’ love, a Love that “works all things to good.” Not because Love controls, but because Love has all authority, relentlessly redeems, always restores, and powerfully resurrects.

I would tell her that Love can be trusted because Love is revealed perfectly in Jesus. I would tell her how Love trumps every disappointment, every evil, and every controlling need.

It is my heart’s desire that someday Google will have a new answer. When asked about the goodness of God, I hope Google will report stories of the church revealing the authority of Love--a love that redeems and restores and miraculously meets every controlling need. May we, the church, discover and live out this love that does not control, that is not against, that does not condemn and works all things for good.

This article is excerpted from Jason's book, God Is (Not) In Control


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Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

Imagine with Jason Clark - Episode Three // Mahesh Chavda

I am so excited to release a new episode of Imagine in which I had the incredible privilege to talk about miracles and the powerful love of God with Pastor Mahesh Chavda.

For over thirty-five years, the Chavdas (Mahesh and Bonnie) have been reaching the nations with the gospel accompanied by signs and wonders. Hundreds of thousands have come to salvation and thousands have received healing from critical diseases like AIDS and cancer through their ministry.

Many of these miracles have been medically documented, including healings of Stage IV cancer, the lame, deaf and blind as well as the resurrection from the dead of a six-year-old boy.

In this episode, Pastor Mahesh tells the story of how God raised that 6-year-old boy to life. It was so amazing spending time with him.

Imagine with Jason Clark - Episode Three // Mahesh Chavda

Imagine with Jason Clark is an interview-based web series. The guiding purpose is to reveal the always-good transforming love of God.

With over three miracle-packed decades of experience, Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda lead Chavda Ministries International, a worldwide apostolic ministry. The vision of CMI is to proclaim Christ’s kingdom with power, equip believers for ministry and usher in revival, preparing for the return of the Lord.

For over thirty-five years, the Chavdas have been reaching the nations with the gospel accompanied by signs and wonders. Hundreds of thousands have come to salvation and thousands have received healing from critical diseases like AIDS and cancer through their ministry. Many of these miracles have been medically documented, including healings of Stage IV cancer, the lame, deaf and blind as well as the resurrection from the dead of a six-year-old boy.

In addition, Mahesh and Bonnie have produced many useful tools for believers including their books, Only Love Can Make a Miracle, The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting, The Hidden Power of a Woman, Storm Warrior and their latest books, The Power of the Cross: Epicenter of Glory and Getting to Know the Holy Spirit.

Together, the Chavdas pastor All Nations Church in Charlotte, NC. They also spearhead a global prayer movement, The Watch of the Lord®, where they have been leading their congregation in weekly corporate prayer for more than a decade.

For more information on Mahesh Chavda go to chavdaministries.org

Thanks to Seth Snider for the use of his song My Angel in the title sequence - from the album Pitch Black Pines - sethsnider.bandcamp.com

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Jason Clark is a writer, producer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers,  to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.