John Mark Hicks: “A Disciple Seeking to Follow Jesus into the World for the Sake of the World to the Glory of God”

rochester-john20mark-1John Mark Hicks is a professor at Lipscomb University (my alma mater, but he arrived after I was graduated) and one my most favorite bloggers — because I learn so much studying at his feet.

As I mentioned in the last post, John Mark introduced me to the doctrine of lament, indeed, to the idea that the Scriptures anticipate that God is big enough to complain to. God is not so thin-skinned that he can’t take it — and sometimes we created-beings desperately need to express our feelings to God.

We may be theologically in error in our complaining, but logic doesn’t really answer some of the hardest questions. Sometimes it helps to know that God loves us enough to hear us out — for us to shake our fists and cry and beat on his chest and beg for understanding. As I learned from John Mark, there are several Psalms that fit this mold exactly.

I’ve also been greatly helped by John Mark’s series on narrative  hermeneutics — that is, understanding the Bible through the over-arching story that it tells (e.g., Theological Hermeneutics (1234566b78910); Applied Theological Hermeneutics [“It Ain’t That Complicated”] (1,23456)).

From his recent “The New Creation: A Theological Summary” —


Creation is good, but new creation is better. The creation, though it retains its inherent goodness, is presently frustrated because it is bound over to corruption. It awaits something better; it awaits a glorious liberation. The present bondage will pass away even as the creation itself is gloriously transfigured when the new heavens and new earth appear.

As the present form of the world is even now passing away, the new creation is already present. The children of God experience the first fruits of the new creation through the presence of the Spirit who transforms them from glory to glory. By this the children of God are new creatures renewed in the image of their Creator. Yet the children of God, along with the creation itself, groan for full adoption through the redemption of their bodies. This new humanity, already present by the Spirit through sanctification, will fully appear in the resurrection.


Good stuff.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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7 Responses to John Mark Hicks: “A Disciple Seeking to Follow Jesus into the World for the Sake of the World to the Glory of God”

  1. Mark says:

    I guess this begs the question, “Is lament permitted?” Never mind an entire book called Lamentations and many other places in the Bible where people cried out to G-d (when the Jews were enslaved in Egypt being a big one as well as Jesus on the cross asking if he had been forsaken) and G-d listened. If it were wrong to cry out to G-d, why did He listen and answer their cries? And if lament is part of the Canon and worked, then how can it be wrong?

    Or did it become wrong after the Resurrection?

    The only verse (probably taken out of context) that I ever heard regarding lament or complaining was “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11 KJV

    Basically, complaining was deemed unacceptable under any situation no matter how bad.

  2. John says:

    Mark brings up a very good question. I will like to answer that from what I have tried to live; mind you, I said “tried”, no perfection here.

    Maybe it is LAMENT before God…be CONTENT before humanity.

    We all know how complaining does not exactly “win friends and influence people”. But if I know that someone is doing his or her best before others, then, as far as I am concerned, they can cry out and question God though the night until their bed is drenched in sweat, and still say from the depths “Christ lives in me!”

  3. mark says:

    I know that complaining does not always advance one’s cause, but sometimes complaints are legitimate. One that frequently occurred was when sermons were always directed towards people over 70 even though there were some younger people in the church. A complaint about that was answered with “be content.” Perhaps that is why today the church is dealing with the loss of so many people who were told to just “be content.”

    Now if that verse could mean that you are just going to deal with whatever situation you are in with whatever you happen to have at that moment, that might be a different case.

  4. Ralph says:

    Paul, who said that he had learned to be content, whatever his circumstances, also said that he pleaded three times for Christ to remove his “thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan.” I would guess that there was a fair bit of lament involved. Do you think Paul was contradicting himself? Or can lament be a part of being content?

  5. rich constant says:

    I really don’t know how many of you have fallen into the pit of despair.
    of course it’s all
    compared to what.
    for a 10 year old that might be the loss of loved and cherished dog on Christmas Day.
    for an 18 year old football player it might be an injury the last game of his senior year, which causes the Loss of his full ride scholarship to college.
    for the 26 or 27 year old, it may be his wife committing adultery, causing a divorce.
    and as a” compared to what”when these things happen when you’re older even the loss of children. or grandchildren or family members.
    these issues can cause serious clinical depression.
    even thoughts
    of blowing out your brains.
    or a blowing somebody else’s brains out.
    until you know despair in the pit of despair.
    you have no right to counsel anyone on how to lament.
    blessings rich constant

  6. rich constant says:

    just by way of postscript
    read romans 14
    aalthough there are other ones this is just the one that came to mind..

  7. Crying out to God is a rational, even obvious response to human sensitivity to the pain, suffering, and depravity of the world around us. Sometimes we don’t look– or we don’t see. Or we see and we don’t care overmuch. Sometimes we care, but we keep our mouths shut because nobody else seems to be concerned and we don’t want to be seen as downers by our peers. Mostly, we don’t want to admit any of this about ourselves. But among a people who are quick to complain about higher taxes, or judges performing gay weddings, or high school football games without invocations, or -God forbid- baptism by sprinkling, I find precious little outrage about a dying world. We kvetch bitterly about “income redistribution” without weeping over the poor. We decry the acceptance of sin in our civilization without the appropriate lament for the eternal fate of those sinners. We complain about the state of fellowship with other believers, having never once had them in our home for a simple meal.

    Contentment? Paul could be content without having his needs met as well as he would hope. But NOT content with a parade of people dying without Jesus Christ. We as Americans too often take the exact opposite view.

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