DBG Weekend Spotlight (10-28-16)

Josh Buice

In this sermon, Paul Washer is addressing the subject of biblical manhood.

12 Theses on a Christian Understanding of Economics – “Regrettably, many American Christians know little about economics. Furthermore, many Christians assume that the Bible has nothing at all to say about economics. But a biblical worldview actually has a great deal to teach us on economic matters.”

Addressing the Dressing IX: The Second Amendment – “I won’t do another summary of what’s come before, except to say that I’ve argued at length that “modesty”, in the Bible, has more to do with general demeanor and flaunting wealth than it has to do with dressing inappropriately.”

How to be a Member of a Church While in Seminary – Some helpful words of advice for those attending seminary.

As a Pastor, Did You Use Church Growth Strategies? – Some words from John Piper regarding his own use of “strategies” in ministry.

The New ESV Reader’s Bible: Six-Volume Set – Something worthy of your attention.  It’s more than a set of books for the shelf.

Theology Word of the Week:  Vision of God

Vision of God. The vision of God, also called the beatific vision, is one of the classic theological definitions of the eschatological goal of humanity.

The idea that the ultimate destiny of the righteous is to see God face to face has its roots in the OT (Ps. 17:15) and was known in intertestamental Judaism (4 Ezra 7:98), whence it was taken up in the NT. It owes something to the oriental court, in which the king was normally inaccessible, but his close personal attendants were privileged to enjoy his immediate presence (Rev. 22:3–4). There is also a contrast between the indirect, fragmentary and obscure knowledge of God which we have in this life, and the direct, clear apprehension of God as he really is, to which we aspire (1 Cor. 13:12). The moral qualifications for enjoying the vision of God are stressed (Mt. 5:8; Heb. 12:15; 1 Jn. 3:3). Finally, the NT belief that the glory of God has been revealed in Christ (Jn. 14:9; 2 Cor. 4:6) makes the revelation of Christ at his parousia the vehicle for the eschatological vision of God (1 Jn. 3:2).

The pagan world into which early Christianity spread also aspired to the vision of God in the form in which this was envisaged in the Platonic tradition (cf. Neoplatonism). This influenced the development of patristic and medieval thinking about the vision of God, with some unfortunate results. Instead of the context of personal fellowship with God in which the biblical notion of the vision belongs, Platonic influences promoted a more purely intellectualist and individualist understanding of the vision, as intellectual contemplation of eternal being, anticipated in this life in solitary mystical ecstasy. With it came the Greek distinction between contemplation and action, which created a tension in medieval Christianity between the pursuit of the vision of God in the contemplative life, which required withdrawal from society, and the practice of neighbourly love in the active life. The Platonic form of the vision of God also tended to relativize the incarnation. Because the beatific vision was considered simply as the goal of monastic flight from the world, of ascetic discipline and of all-too-Platonic forms of mysticism, the Reformers, followed by most Protestant theology, largely neglected the notion; but in doing so they neglected an important element in the eschatological hope of the NT and lost some of the valuable insights of medieval theology and spirituality.

In medieval Western theology the beatific vision was defined as the direct, intuitive, intellectual vision of the essence of God, whereas the Eastern church denied that God can be seen in his essence (see Eastern Orthodox Theology; Hesychasm; Iconoclastic Controversies). The Council of Vienne (1311–12) and scholastic theology insisted that the natural powers of the created intellect are incapable of the vision of God, which is a supernatural gift of God’s grace to the faithful after death. Controversy over the views of Pope John XXII (1316–34) led to the decree of the Council of Florence (1439) to the effect that the beatific vision is already enjoyed by the redeemed in heaven before the last judgment.

Properly understood, the doctrine of the vision of God teaches that God himself is the ultimate goal of human life, that he will be known by the redeemed in heaven in an immediate relationship involving their whole persons, endlessly satisfying both the love of beauty and the love of truth, the object of all their attention and the source of all their joy. As Augustine (City of God XXII.29) well recognized, the vision of God will not exclude but will include the corporate life of the redeemed and the reality of the new creation; for in the new creation all things and people will reflect God’s glory and he will be seen in all.

  1. Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 710–711.
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Author DBG Weekend Spotlight (10-28-16)

Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.