This episode starts with John thinking more about topic of justice from the things Gregg shared in Episode #5. Gregg takes issue with John’s assertion that we’d all be better of if we all assumed other people were always doing the best that they can. Gregg wonders exactly what that means, especially when the stakes are very high.
John observes that some Christians are very focused on the idea that one day God’s justice will reign on the earth. Gregg sees this preoccupation as problematic and the easy way out. Gregg relates to his own orientation–that God loves him furiously. As a result, for example, Gregg is not focused on wishing justice for the wrongs previously done to him by his father.
Gregg observes how in the story of Job that God doesn’t respond to any of Job’s questions, but instead responds with God’s self. In the same way Gregg has experienced God showing up for him in a way that is real and meaningful and as a result he doesn’t need God to set past wrongs straight.
John wonders if the desire for justice is seeking revenge. As Gregg ponders this, the conversation shifts to Calvinism, predestination, Arminianism, and God’s sovereignty. From there Gregg notes resistance he ran into during his grad work where personal experience was heavily discounted in favor of scripture as an “informer.”
The irony to Gregg is that experience and emotions are trusted in positive situations when they relate to feeling connected to God, but discounted and mistrusted in negative contexts. Gregg relates experiences from graduate school where he and others questioned doctrines and viewpoints that didn’t square with their own study and the frustration of having these topics closed to further discussion by the professor.
Gregg finds this problematic and notes the trickle-down affect it has when other people put faith in the viewpoints of others without completely doing their own work. As a result malformed ideas spread in Christian culture as “truth” without allowing room to question or grapple with them.
Next we look deeper into what Gregg means by reformed theology and predestination against the backdrop of Augustine and John Calvin. Gregg observes that reformed thinkers are very focused on knowledge, appeals to scripture and high view of God’s sovereignty. Gregg believes this emphasis fails to balance or factor in personal experience, real life experiences, and love.
As Gregg focuses on the idea of love he draws parallels between parent/child relationships and human/God relationships while noting that the good relationships between parent and child go far deeper than obedience–love is a central part.
And so Gregg contends that putting God’s sovereignty as the highest priority does not reflect the priorities he sees in the bible resulting in an over emphasis on on holiness, truth, and justice and under emphasizing mercy, love, and compassion.