Editorial: Our Greatest Need and Privilege: Knowing our Triune God. -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 16:1 (Spring 2012)
Article: Editorial: Our Greatest Need and Privilege: Knowing our Triune God.
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: Our Greatest Need and Privilege: Knowing our Triune God.

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Wellum received his Ph.D. in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has also taught theology at the Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary in Canada. He has contributed to several publications and a collection of essays on theology and worldview issues.

What is simultaneously our greatest need and privilege as human beings? The Bible’s answer to this question is singular and it may be stated in three simple words: To know God.

The Bible’s answer is no doubt the opposite of how our world would answer this question, which ought not to surprise us given our sin and rebellion against our Creator and Lord. However, sadly, one wonders whether the church would immediately answer the question this way—especially if we evaluate our actions, behaviors, and what we most value, more than our mere words. Lamentably, in the church, at least when it comes to our daily lives, we often betray the truth that we are more enamored with this world and what we think it has to offer than with the true and living God, our Creator, Lord, Judge, and Redeemer.

David Wells, in his very helpful, yet alarming book, God in the Wasteland, now over a decade old, documents this sad reality. Developing the research of such people as Peter Berger, Os Guinness, and Charles Taylor, he describes the effects of secularization on religion. He argues the thesis that “modernity” (which includes within it what is often dubbed modernism and postmodernism) has blinded us to the reality of God. It has sought to focus our thinking and lives simply on the “here and now” which, surprisingly, has not led to the abolition of religion from society, but the marginalization of religion and God to the periphery of our lives. The result is that in a secular society, religion may still survive, even flourish, but its influence in the public world is basically nonexistent; instead religion, and more importantly God, is relocated to the private domain of our lives where he is safely kept from becoming central. In this way, Wells rightly notes, God becomes weightless to us—not in the sense of ethereal—but in the sense of unimportant and insignificant. As Wells observes, even though a majority of people continue to assure the pollsters of their

belief in God ‘s existence, he rests upon us so inconsequentially that he is barely noticeable.

Even more alarmingly, that whi...

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