Theological Wisdom for Preaching and Teaching, Issue 86

May 5, 2016 by Presbyterian Foundation

Theological wisdom (and theological foolishness) is not the private preserve of professional theologians. Many contemporary novelists deal sensitively with religious themes, often offering provocative insights that pastors can use to good effect in preaching and teaching. Brief quotes do not do justice to the novels from which they are taken, but they can provide wise, often startling, sometimes humorous, but always thought-provoking resources within sermons and adult education.
From time to time, the Presbyterian Foundation shares some wisdom from novels as a small contribution to pastors who seek to proclaim the gospel faithfully week in and week out.
On Truth:
To know all is to see all, and omniscience is God's alone. I state the obvious, I suppose, for if God exists, so does truth, and if there was no God (a thing not to be imagined in seriousness, but a philosophical jest alone), then would truth disappear from the world, and the opinion of one would be no better than that of another. I might also reverse the theorem, and say that, if men come to think that all is merely opinion, they must come to atheism as well.
Iain Pears, An Instance of the Fingerpost
On a Secular Age:
It always seemed to him, whenever he was in an airport, that the entire, vast multi-storied complex pretended to be a playground of secular delights, a galaxy of consumerism in which religious faith simply did not exist. Every shop, every billboard, every inch of the building right down to the rivets and the toilet plugholes, radiated the presumption that no one had any need for God here. The crowds that queued for snacks and knick-knacks, the constant stream of passengers recorded by closed-circuit TV's, were wondrous proof of the sheer variety of human specimens, except that they were presumed to be identically faithless inside, duty-free in every sense of that word.
Michael Faber, The Book of Strange New Things
On Prayer:
“I haven't forgotten. I pray for Charlie every day. How is he?”
Grainger snorted … “God doesn't tell you?”
“God isn't … my employee,” said Peter. “He's not obliged to send me progress reports.
Michael Faber, The Book of Strange New Things
Featured Video: A Culture of Giving
Pastor Rob Erickson of First Presbyterian Church in Jefferson City, Missouri encourages his congregation to know the importance of giving back. He discusses the generous donations that members have made to not only sustain, but grow the church.

Live Forward Give Forward: A Culture of Giving from Presbyterian Foundation on Vimeo.

Featured Resource: Wills Toolbox
Creating and promoting a Wills Emphasis Program in the local congregation opens an important avenue for members and friends to leave a lasting legacy of their faith and to the meaning the church has offered them throughout their lives. A well-planned program gives both donor and recipient guidelines for how gifts can be made and how they will be used. It can avert the complications and confusion about gifts that are narrowly restricted by the donor, or unclear in their intention and future use. The Presbyterian Foundation offers a host of resources to get your church started on the path to a successful Wills Program. Check out the toolbox