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A Thank You From Serbia
Dear Pastor Greg,
Thank you! Your ministry has been a blessing!
I am a 23 year old guy from Serbia (Europe). I attended a Bible school for a year in Basel, Switzerland and went to church there. And that’s where I was first introduced to your sermons by Pastor Manuel Schmid.
I became follower of Christ when I was 15 and the church I went to was very strict and had a strict theology (you had to believe what you were told by the pastor in order to stay in church). And I didn’t mind it since I knew nothing about theology so I believed everything I was told to believe.
But as I grew older I had questions arise that I had no answer to. I live in a country where poverty is very present and corruption is all over the place. On Sundays I would listen to pastor preach on how God is sovereign, perfect, good, loving… but on Mondays when I leave my house it looked like everything but that. People were hurting, hungry, broken, raped, abused, killed….
And Christians would tell me that this is all part of God’s plan and His will and that we can’t fully understand it since we are but humans with very limited brain resources. But when I would ask them how could a good God let a 10 year old girl be raped by her uncle and still be good…. the answer to that would be: “So you are doubting the sovereignty of God?” And that would always frustrate me. I couldn’t understand why would God create Satan (or Lucifer), and why if He knew that it will happen did He let Lucifer rebel (and how did he know about evil if he was in the very presence of God). I always found it hard to believe that this is how God does His work.
I always asked myself how can a good and perfect God create evil? Why would he do that, why would he place a tree in the garden for Adam and Eve to fall? Friends from church would tell me that God had everything planned out before He even created the earth. And that just blew my mind. I felt like a chess figure being controlled by this “control-freak” God. But when I read my Bible and the Gospels and looked at Jesus’ life on earth, that’s was not kind of God described by my christian friends. And that was always confusing me.
But then I moved to Switzerland and met Manuel Schmid and Andy Loos (who was teaching a class on Systematic Theology at the Seminary I was attending) and they both challenged me so much in this. They introduced me to your theology and suggested some awesome books you wrote (Satan and Problem of Evil, God at War, God of the Possible, Benefit of the Doubt).
It felt like for the first time that someone understood my doubt and had answers to my questions. I feel like I’ve grown so much in the past year through listening to your sermons (I plug in every week for your podcast) and reading books you wrote. Everything just makes so much more sense. I am so excited to be a part of God’s work and His kingdom. I’ve lost some of my friends in Serbia because I accept open theism. I’ve been called a false prophet, blind fool, and many other names by Christians here because they think that open theism is heresy.
But that doesn’t stop me from loving and serving people around me and introducing them to the Jesus-looking God.
So I want to thank you so much for your ministry and your work! It changed my life and my view on God and the way I approach everyday life! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am looking forward to seeing how God is going to use your ministry and I am so honored to get to be a part of it even if I am so far away!
I wish you all the best.