WHAT KIND of THEOLOGY
BY: JOANNE ANSTINE
APRIL 13, 2008
A most interesting writing came across my email this morning, written by a man named Rich Nathan…and his title was “Life Boat Theology vs. Ark Theology.” Surely a provocative title…and his premise resonated in my spirit.
His rationale came from his illustration of “the difference between the narrow focus of contemporary American evangelicalism and the big focus of the Bible.”
The first name (title) came from how D.L. Moody, the great 19th century evangelist, described his calling; he said that he essentially understood the world as being like an ocean liner that hit an iceberg, and God had told him that his job was to “pull as many drowning people out of the water as he could.”
As Rich Nathan notes, that was what Moody felt was his calling, and he would not argue with Mr. Moody. But such a theology – a “life boat” theology – claims that the only thing that matters is evangelism, pulling out as many people out of the water as you can…which has been a blessing and a curse for contemporary evangelism.
“On the one hand,” writes Rich Nathan, “it has created an evangelistic urgency. And it is evangelical churches that are growing because of this passion. On the other hand, by narrowing the focus simply upon getting people to say the Sinner’s Prayer, we have had almost nothing to say about whole slices of life.”
He goes on to offer an alternative theology – Ark Theology. For Noah’s Ark not only saved people, through/by it, but God’s other creatures were preserved as well. God made a covenant with Noah and his descendants that was not only with humanity; in Genesis 9:10, we read these words: “…and with every living creature that was with you – the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you – every living creature on earth.” And He gave the rainbow that was not just an everlasting sign between God and people; we read in Gen. 9:12, 15, and 17, that it was a sign of the covenant that He was making “between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come (:12)” He assures them that He shall remember this all-encompassing covenant, and never again will waters come to cover and destroy the earth. And the sign of that covenant between Him and ALL life on earth would be the rainbow.
And so he proposes the Ark Theology: “…that God intends to restore all of creation, every realm, every creature, every part. Or as Abraham Kuypur, the great Dutch theologian and politician, said nearly 100 years ago, ‘There is not a square inch of the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!'”
Thus we have:
Life Boat Theology: Jesus wants to be Lord of your life.
Ark Theology: Jesus is Lord over the universe.
Now that is something to shout about! A victorious Christ!!!
WHAT KIND of THEOLOGY [Joanne Anstine] 04-13-08 1