Monday, January 19, 2009

Plantinga Book – Chapter 5 (Vocation in the Kingdom of God)

In this chapter, Plantinga discusses our longing for the kingdom of God and how we must serve God in this life with our talents and our calling. This chapter ties in well with Lewis’ Learning in War-Time because both of these pieces of writing emphasize our importance to continue our education and follow seek out our vocation that glorifies God.

I agree with Plantinga when he says that Christians’ prayers for the kingdom of God sometimes fade when their lives are good. They pray for God’s kingdom to come but not right away because they are enjoying earthly pleasures too much (Plantinga 106). I realize that I do this too often. When God sends me trials or I see the suffering of a close friend, then I long for heaven. When I have vacations and fun things to do, I fail to pray for God’s kingdom to come because I am enjoying life so much.

Plantinga writes that a prime citizen passionately yearns for the kingdom. A child elected by God has been elected to serve the kingdom of God. The first way to fulfill this duty is to belong to an active Christian church (Plantinga 110). We must also take part in government by voting intelligently, paying taxes, and praying for our leaders (Plantinga 111). I agree with Plantinga that we can also play our part as citizens of the kingdom of God by pursuing a higher education in college. God equips each of His children with particular gifts and talents to serve in different areas. Some are made to be doctors, others teachers, others engineers, others to be ministers. All are important for working together in the body of Christ because we each contribute to the kingdom.

I agree with Plantinga when he talks about the importance of a Christian education. The danger comes when we stop talking about God because we think we all know about Him anyways. At a public university, one will have to be better prepared to defend his faith and go out of his way to worship God. At Calvin, the Christian community is all around us, and the professors integrate the Word of God in the classroom. Although this is true, Plantinga writes, “Every Christian community includes some Daniels who made it through the academic dens of confusion and conformity with their kingdom vocation intact and sometimes even purified by the fires of adversity” (125). I realize that at Calvin everyone here comes from different denominations and believes differently. I have actually grown stronger by defending the truth of the gospel against the false interpretations and attacks on essential doctrines, such as creation and salvation. Just because Calvin is a Christian college, it does not mean that everything the professors teach us about God’s Word is true.

Finally, Plantinga writes about three things we need to become prime citizens of the kingdom of God. First, we need knowledge to love God intellectually (Plantinga 129). Second, we gain skills at college to prepare ourselves for living to the glory of God in this world (Plantinga 130). Third, we gain virtues, such as honesty and compassion, to show we are children of the King (Plantinga 132). By combining knowledge, skill, and virtue, we are able to serve the kingdom of God (Plantinga 136). We must work to the best of our ability at college so that we are fully equipped to defend ourselves against the fiery darts of the devil and so that we can follow the vocation God is calling us to.

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