Welcome to The Pilgrim Inn! This is the place of conversation, reflection and growth. For a time, this blog was home to the writings and thoughts of Andrey alone. Then, Andrey opened a different blog that focused more on the issues that he wants to be writing about. During this season, the tables sat empty, collecting dust. But during a weekend mountain retreat filled with coffee, bacon, steak and theology, the idea came up to pull back the dusty curtains and bring a new season of life and light to the place.
We are just a group of guys who love God, love his church, love history, love theology, and all that other good stuff. This is the place where we share our thoughts and experiences from our common journey to the Celestial City. This is that Inn that sits by the side of the road, from who’s windows a warm and inviting light glows. A place of fireside chats, arguments, questions and laughter. A place for weary pilgrims to be equipped, challenged and encouraged. We are glad you stopped by!
This weekend I had the privilege of hearing Aleksey Prokopenko speak on the biblical teaching on God’s providence. The key question that this doctrine addresses is “What is God’s relationship to the universe?”. Prokopenko made a key observation at the outset of the conference: very often tend to grossly oversimplify the issue of God and his purposes. To me, this was a critical point of insight. It is, I think, one of the foundational reasons why so many people, both religious and irreligious, find conversations about a personal God’s relationship to the universe so frustrating, unrealistic, contradictory and even foolish.
Is the God of the New Testament really that different from the God of the Old? This is the claim of many people today. The central idea that was made in the previous post was the fact that, when we read a little more carefully, we see that, in the whole Bible, God is a God of grace. The story of God’s relationship with the Israeli people highlights over and over the central reality of his grace and mercy as the one and only reason for all that they had. This is coupled with the fact that the main command of the Old Testament is not that people obey a long list of moralistic laws and rituals. Rather the heart of God’s message to the people is that he be the central object of their love and affection. Making anything outside of him the object of their worship inevitably sends them tumbling down a destructive life of self centeredness.
It seems to me that one of the sources of the most misunderstanding of christian thought and teaching is the Old Testament. This is especially true of the first four books of the Bible. The lack of careful reading in these sections has lead to broad and inaccurate generalizations. One such generalization is that the God of the Old Testament is completely different from the God of the New Testament.
It is stated that the God of the Old Testament is the God of law and judgement while the God of the New Testament is a God of grace and mercy. One section that completely debunks this idea is the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is an address of the people of Israel before they enter the promised land. This is a section where God takes an important moment to stop, reflect on all that has happened, and point forward to that which he desires to do for these people. Deuteronomy is a reflection of all that has come before. It is a moment when God reminds Israel of their history and identity, and his role in it all.