God's Way with Man: Variations on the Theme of Providence

God's Way with Man: Variations on the Theme of Providence

God's Way with Man: Variations on the Theme of Providence

God's Way with Man: Variations on the Theme of Providence

Excerpt

Although this book deals with some momentous issues, it is actually a rather modest approach to them. It has grown slowly, but inescapably, out of my conviction that the doctrine of God's providence has not received from present-day theologians the attention it deserves. True, my chosen theme has doubtless lost for many if not most of us the naturalness and lived reality it used to have. Its affirmations have become questions. Is God in actual control of human destiny? Does he take anything like a personal interest in the course of events? Can he be counted on to support and undergird our striving after good in the face of so much that is plainly evil in the world we have to live in? Today many people start out with a prejudice against the very notion of providence. They are likely to agree with one of the characters in a play by Christopher Fry that

A man has to provide his own providence,
Or there's no knowing what religion will get hold of him.

Thus it is that this great doctrine, which lies so near the heart of Christian worship, preaching, and pastoral work, has not yet come as it should into the focus of our theological task. And this is something of a pity, for while theologians have been notably busy elsewhere, our popular religiousness as expressed in jazzed-up . . .

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