Dr. Habermas began by saying, "I believe that God is very active in the world today".
He referred attendees to the following source materials:
Moreland - Kingdom Triangle
Near Death Experiences - Habermas/Moreland book - Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality
Habermas - new book coming out in 2010 -- Why Is God Ignoring Me?: What To Do When It Feels Like He's Giving You The Silent Treatment (Paperback - 2010-03-01)
He addressed the "My Favorite Promises" syndrome with the following tempering points:
a) We need to consider contrary statements in the same biblical book
b) Immediate contexts for the promise or statement must be considered
c) the example of Jesus -- life was not always great! -- tired, hungry, had to learn things, made perfect through his sufferings
Habermas linked disappointments to a theology of suffering. When disappointed, we should ask:
1. "Do I deserve to suffer less than Jesus did?"
2. "Do I learn faster than Jesus did?
Further Thoughts on the Matter:
1. Prayers/Promises are not unconditional
2. Put scriptural promise or statement in context of rest of book
3. God doesn't take saints away from suffering -- he promises to use suffering to build godly character, if we let him
1. Expect to suffer - in the world you will have tribulation
2. Look forward to your resurrection - better, far better to die and be with Christ
3. Keep in mind that your worst pain usually has an emotional source -- what you are telling yourself about a) God, b) yourself
God is not guilty of abandoning you or breaking any of his promises: "He couldn't be even if he wanted to, which he doesn't"
Weed the lies out of your life.
* Much Christian teaching focuses on "The Mind: The Battleground of Faith". This talk falls into this category.
* I was greatly impressed by Dr. Habermas' pastoral sensibilities. He talked about spending four hours on the phone addressing a grieving woman's complaints. He is a scholar and yet also a humble Christian pastor.
* I suspect that the kingdom promises that Jesus made (e.g., "ask anything in my name...) come neither automatically nor easily, and must be prayed into by "men who take the kingdom by force". We must not forget that the Enemy's strategies are aimed at frustrating the word and will of God and he will not easily let go of what he's got, or easily allow us to enter the kingdom of God.