Thanks to all of you who prayed for time at Ohio University. Let me start by saying that God was so kind to me in giving me safety (despite a snowstorm on the way back!), strength, and a calmness in the midst of speaking and answering questions. And I want to express my gratitude to my student Gabe Tribbett, who accompanied me. Our fellowship was one of the highlights of the trip, and I want to especially thank him for typing up a rough transcript of the Q&A session.
My message on Thursday night I spoke at the weekly Campus Crusade meeting–“God of Vengeance, God of Love: Is the God of the OT the God of the NT?” As you might suspect, I argued that they are one and the same. In my 35 minute talk, I tried to make three points that I suggest seeing continuity:
- The testimony of the early church, the NT authors and Jesus himself. Here all I wanted to accomplish was to show that they in fact believed that the God who spoke and acted in the OT had now revealed himself definitively in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
- God’s character is consistent in the OT and NT. Here I argued that the common misconception that the God of the OT is all about wrath and justice while the God of the NT is all about love and mercy is not accurate. God’s love and mercy are evident in the OT, and in fact are more prominent than his wrath/justice. God’s wrath and justice are evident in the NT, and the person who makes the most frightening statements about hell is Jesus himself.
- God’s character intensifies in its expression. This is an extension of the previous point. As God progressively reveals himself and his plan for human history in OT and into the NT, the expressions of his character intensify. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than the cross, where Jesus willing takes upon himself the wrath and justice of God so that all who believe in him may experience God’s love and mercy.
The following day I held a two-hour Q&A session. I hope to post later in the week some of the dialog from that time. I was grateful that the overall tone of the questions was inquisitive and respectful, even at points where there was substantive disagreement.
On a personal level it was fun to return to my alma mater. It was the first time I had been back since the fall of 2002, and much has changed since then. The former church that my wife and I were married in is now an apartment building! I also had a lot of fun spending time with the director of Campus Crusade for Christ @ O.U., Brian McCollister and his family.
Again, thanks to all who prayed. God is doing some amazing things at O.U. as students are asking these important questions. Please continue to pray for the students and staff of CCC as they continue the conversation.