Category Archives: Reading – Goldsworthy – Gospel & Wisdom

Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Wisdom (1987). In The Goldsworthy Trilogy (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2000)

Christian maturity

I’ve just started reading Graeme Goldsworthy’s Gospel and Wisdom. At the end of chapter 2 he gives this definition of a mature Christian:

A mature Christian is one who is able to look at the whole of reality through Christian eyes. He is in the process of achieving an integrated overview of reality in those areas that belong to his experience as well as in those areas that he knows only theoretically. He is learning to understand all things in terms of what they are in this corrupted realm and of what God intends them to be by virtue of his redeeming work. Thus, he is an integrated person who is learning daily through the gospel how to relate, not only to himself, but to all things according to the creative purpose of God. (pp. 28,29)

I don’t know how Goldsworthy is going to develop this in the remainder of the book, but it struck me that it is only through God’s wisdom that such a view of reality is possible. Without the divine perspective, we can only know from our experience, which is limited and warped/sinful. And what we can know theoretically is bounded by our own imagination, which is also limited and warped/sinful.

Though we can conceive of a world better than it is, our ability to implement such a vision is constrained by the corruption and warping of sin. What God intends things to be by virtue of his redeeming work far exceeds our capacity to conceive. We can only wonder at what he has revealed, and worship in response.

Paul had caught the vision, as Colossians 1:28, 29 shows so clearly. The energy he refers to, also seized him when he wrote Ephesians. You can almost hear him take a deep initial breath as he launches into that majestic first sentence of the letter proper (Ephesians 1:3-14). It just washes over you as you read it, and you don’t want him to stop, even when he seems to run out of breath at the end of it. You can just hear him pause to catch his breath before he continues in prayer.

It is grasping the vision Paul had of God’s creative purpose and plan that gives that mature view of everything.