George MacDonald: God does not “oppress us with His will”

“God does not, by the instant gift of his Spirit, make us always feel right, desire good, love purity, aspire after him and his will. Therefore either he will not, or he cannot. …. The truth is this: He wants to make us in his own image, choosing the good, refusing the evil. How should he effect this if he were always moving us from within, as he does at divine intervals, towards the beauty of holiness? God gives us room to be; does not oppress us with his will; “stands away from us,” that we may act from ourselves, that we may exercise the pure will for good. Do not, therefore, imagine me to mean that we can do anything of ourselves without God. If we choose the right at last, it is all God’s doing, and only the more his that it is ours, only in a far more marvellous way his than if he had kept us filled with all holy impulses precluding the need of choice. For up to this very point, for this very point, he has been educating us, leading us, pushing us, driving us, enticing us, that we may choose him and his will, and so be tenfold more his children, of his own best making, in the freedom of the will…”

 –       Scottish pastor/poet/novelist/mystic George MacDonald  (1824-1905) Unspoken Sermons, Vol. I “The Eloi”

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Thomas Jay Oord

I can remember a time when I knew who all the theology faculty of each of our Nazarene universities were, and the kind of work they were doing. Unfortunately, the life of the pastorate and having a family of six kids has precluded me from keeping up, as I wish I had, on who’s who currently in Nazarene theology. But I am fairly familiar with the work of one of our theologians and I want to recommend him to you. Thomas Jay Oord is a Nazarene theologian serving at Northwest Nazarene University. Tom is doing outstanding work, being widely published across a spectrum of publishers, and makes me proud he is one of ours. Much of Tom’s work revolves around  ‘love’. I would not be surprised if Tom is one of our leading thinkers, period. I heartily recommend you explore his blog. There’s plenty to catch up on there. http://thomasjayoord.com/

If you are intentionally Wesleyan in your theology, (as opposed to being a fundamentalist or Calvinist hanging out in a Nazarene setting), I’d be interested in what you think of Tom’s list of ten reasons Wesleyan thinkers are attracted to process theology: http://thomasjayoord.com/index.php/blog/archives/process_and_wesleyan_theologies/#.UbpRhvk4u0A

What do you think?