Theological Correctness

Brian Bauknight



I am not someone to quickly correct another person’s theology; but on some occasions, I cannot help myself.  We heard a lot of banter about “political correctness” in the recent presidential campaign.  Is there such a thing as “theological correctness?”  I think there may be times….
Recently, someone posted this thought on FaceBook:

When God pushes you to the edge, trust him fully, because only two things can happen: either he catches you when you fall or he will teach you how to fly.

 On the surface, these words sound comforting and supportive.  But what does it say about the nature of God?  Does God EVER push us to the edge?  Is it within the nature of God to push us toward some kind of terrible or very difficult situation?  (The story of Job in the Old Testament notwithstanding.)  I think not.  The God I worship—the God revealed to us in Jesus—does not deliberately direct us into hardship or pain or stress.
Rather, life can do these things to us at times. A bout with cancer, a debilitating accident, organ failure, or a sudden loss, even the 9/11 attack, as examples.  Life can hand us any of those things with no advanced notice.  And in those times—never caused or manipulated by God—God is with us to help and sustain into the days ahead.
I vastly prefer a statement I heard very early in Seminary over 55 years ago—from Dr. John Godsey, professor of systematic theology:

          God does not will everything that happens; but in everything that happens God wills good.  

I have used this statement more often than I can count.  Many times in the face of tragedy or trauma!  (I even preached this idea on the Sunday following 9/11/2001—from Romans 8:28.) I find this to be a vastly different kind of Good News under which to live and a very different way of seeing and knowing God.  And I feel called to lead and influence the thinking of someone who seems to find comfort in statements similar to the FaceBook posting above.
I would hope each person I know and influence would have the right experience of God and the right words to share that experience. 
Give thanks in this Thanksgiving Week for a God who promises to indeed “catch you when you fall,” who knows that life can dish out a setback at any time, but is a God who directly desires to make every event in your life move toward a higher and more sustaining good.
For that assurance, I am eternally grateful.


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