Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Bit of Help

Some readers of this blog have said they do not know how to get into the part where they may participate. If you wish to post a reply (and I hope you do!) or read what others have posted, and what I’ve replied, just scroll down to the end of the article you are interested in, and double click on the word “Comments.” This should open up the interactive part where you can get involved. I greatly appreciate you who contribute. All of us need to hear your questions and insights.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also emailed this to you:

Dr. Rakestraw,

You undoubtedly have no idea who I am. My name is Scott Volltrauer. I was a BTS student of yours graduating in 1990-1991. I took a few theology courses you taught which probably results in unmemorable papers and forgettable grades. Refreshing your memory of me is not the point of my writing to you.

You like Bill Thrasher, a Moody prof I had, always reflected a heart of pastoral compassion as you taught theological truths. I have tried to do the same.

Since I sat in the seats at Bethel I have continued two things to this day. I continue to work at TreeHouse [a ministry here in the Twin Cities with at-risk teens and their families;], and I have since '89. And, I am still writing a book on the fear of God.

Today, while writing, I was struggling with Jeremiah's call and his thoughts of hopelessness and self-loathing [Jeremiah 20]. I saw how much his suffering echoed the suffering he shares with many of the families I serve.

Why a loving God would allow, perpetrate or tolerate so much evil in the world -- especially to those who love him -- continues to perplex me. I spent a while reading articles online by Piper and Boyd and those who side with and against them. Compelling as they were they often "added more heat than light."

Somehow I landed upon your article entitled When Suffering Continues. [If you wanna read your own words ;-D ]

It's interesting that my reading led to your article since you did not quote Jeremiah, Piper or Boyd. Instead of guiding me to your article, I think God's Spirit did. Again, as you did in days past, your pastoral heart poured from the page into my heart.

Thank you for using your pain to bless your readers. You did not pretend to know all the answers, for you cannot. You did share your heart and heartache, your truths and your dilemmas. You helped me and articulated some of my own unsorted thoughts.

In my time at TreeHouse I have found that nothing we do has been more helpful than helping people know that "they are not alone" in their pain and suffering and in their questions, wonderments and doubts. I pray that my book might help people in the church to realize that pretension and self-protectiveness are two sins that increase the gap between Christians and non-Christians. It drives a tragic wedge between us and implies that church is impotent and irrelevant. I learned this from listening to many non-Christians who share more Christ-like love than I have seen from many self-proclaimed followers of Christ.

I'm grateful that despite all the heart problems you have had you have not lost the heart of a faithful follower of Jesus. Thank you again for your example and for writing the article.

Scott Volltrauer