Dog-Day Hiatus

Because some people can't just say, "well, I didn't mean that God's sovereignty isn't important: I just mean that we should be good-workers, too," I have a few words to drop in here in the midst of hiatus.

The first one is this: there are no workers-out of the "problem of evil" vis a vis the bridge collapse in Minnesota this week who have said, "geez -- God pushed His hand down on that bridge like a black belt breaking boards, so hosanna!" Every one of them -- all of them, starting with the object of one man's particular scorn (John Piper) all the way down to the least of these (our freakishly-tall brother in Christ Friel) -- framed God's sovereignty as the place to take comfort in tragedy in that what happened did not happen without purpose, with no final value or meaning. The entire point of preaching the Gospel when a tragedy strikes is to underscore that tragedy is not worthless and tragedy is not meaningless.

In that, there were also no God-centered advocates who were simply waving a hand at man's culpability: in fact, man's culpability has no meaning without the context of God's sovereignty. The loose talk about, "Yeah, sure WCF and all that, but who was checking the rivets?" is Shemp theology. That is to say, it's not even funny it is so inept. In what way does the demand for a list of incompetent engineers or civil servants offer comfort to the injured and the grieving? Will a pound of flesh now, after a father is lost or a daughter is found drowned in her own car because the electric windows couldn't roll down once they were wet, bring solace?

No: the admission that man is incompetent in fact requires us to determine where we must place our trust and our hope. Should we trust men, and make public lists of who is inspecting our bridges, so that they will do a better job? Will that fix it up so it doesn't happen next time?

Listen: even if it does, does that make the deaths here meaningful? And if it doesn't, is that when we should ask the question, "how do we live with ourselves when we know that people die seemingly-meaningless deaths because we are frankly small, weak and frequently off our best game?"

It's sort of sickening to watch people make this first of all about better civil service and then second about whether they are in compliance with some Confession of Faith. This is not about a confession of faith: this is about demeaning the preaching of the Gospel when nothing else will do.

If you think that we need to be driving the bulldozers and the ambulances and the lunch wagons when tragedy hits, I'm with you: that's what we do. But we don't do that in spite of our theology, or in place of our theology. We do that, as Paul said so well to Titus, "so that in everything [we] may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior."

Don't defend yourself against non-existent complaints if you were on the wrong side of this tiff this week. The question is not whether you'd pass an examination in the local session. The question is whether you have openly taken offense when someone is rightly explaining the doctrine of God our Savior to people who are obviously in need of it.