It seems that my blog post, “God Has Answered our Coronavirus Lament. Contra. N.T. Wright” has caused offence among some ardent admirers of N.T. Wright. It has been suggested in the social media that I was small-minded and most uncharitable in trying to discredit someone just because of theological disagreement. It was alleged that my response betrayed vanity and presumptuousness as I tried in vain to discredit a world class scholar who is unquestionably way far more accomplished than I am. One critic concluded that I have been so caught up with abstract theologizing that I have lost the ability to empathize and offer pertinent pastoral counsel to people who are struggling with their faith in times of crisis.
I re-read my response to NTW to see if indeed I have been guilty of the charges levelled at me. To be honest, I am still puzzled in trying to identify the grounds on which these defenders of NTW drew these awful conclusions about me when other readers responded positively to the same post.
In my blog post, my main purpose was to offer a constructive response to NTW’s article which I judged to give inadequate counsel to the grieving as it stops prematurely, in my view, at lamenting before God while expecting no answer from him. While the sad reality is that life at times gives us cause to lament, lament that is informed by Christian eschatology and soteriology will always be tempered by the hope we have in God.
I fully agree that theology should display empathy towards believers who are struggling with their faith. However, a theological blog post is ill-equipped for this purpose which is best addressed either in the context of pastoral counselling or in preaching. As such, I am thankful that I now have the opportunity to share with my fellow Christians a sermon which I preached recently at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, KL. Hopefully, the sermon will help those of us who are struggling with the crushing burdens caused by the Covid crisis and to move beyond lament to find peace and hope in our sovereign and ever faithful God. May I encourage viewers to focus on the wonderful assurances found in God’s Word, without being distracted by the limitations of the preacher.
As we rededicate and consecrate of our lives with a renewed vision of God and his work, we learn to trust in his promises regardless of circumstances. We regain hope when we discern the smile of God behind his frowning providence.
From Fear to Faith,
From Perplexity to Praise,
From Why to Worship.