John Webster on divine revelation

Revelation is the overthrow of the blindness, silence, and deafness in which we refuse to be addressed and disturbed by God.

Revelation is fellowship freely established by God. This fellowship is the fellowship of the divine covenant: the fellowship, that is, of creator and creature, of Lord and subject, of judge and sinner, of savior and saved. It is not the mutual agreement of two equal parties but a determination made by one of the parties which unconditionally and unreservedly defines the other. . . . Nor is it a fellowship in which the response of the subordinate party is either self-generated or self-referring. To respond to the gratuity with which God in revelation makes himself accessible to us is to confess, to acknowledge, to repent, to praise–all modes of the ecstasy of faith. And revelation, therefore, comes to do battle with us: to overcome our refusal to confess the sheer overwhelming goodness, beauty, and truth of God. Revelation is the overthrow of the blindness, silence, and deafness in which we refuse to be addressed and disturbed by God. That revelation does indeed overthrow us is not the least sign of that fact that it is the mercy of God.

-John Webster, The Culture of Theology (Baker: 2019), 123

Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Lead pastor at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian, theological Luddite, and long-suffering Atlanta Falcons fan. A student of one book.

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