Donald Bloesch was a noted American evangelical theologian who characterized himself a “progressive evangelical” or “ecumenical orthodox,” critiquing the excesses of both the theological Left and Right. Bloesch’s pietistic background and spiritual life lay at the heart of understanding his theology and how Christianity is to continue into the future.
The below excerpt is from one of his last published work The Paradox of Holiness, in which he ventures into the theology of the spiritual life (theologia vitae spiritualis), which flows out of a theology of the Word of God. Through this book he stressed the importance that we rediscover the paradox that only those who believe can become holy, but only those who make progress in holiness can believe in the giver and author of holiness—Jesus Christ.
Faith lives and flourishes only when it is anchored in prayer. Prayer is both “the soul of faith” (Calvin) and “the flame of faith” (Sibbes). The one who prays can come confidently to the throne of God and make known desires and wishes that have remained hidden in the depths of the psyche. The decisive role of prayer in opening us to the mercy of God is underscored by our Lord Jesus Christ: “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9-10).
The life of faith will be at the same time a life of prayer. Those who believe will be motivated to pray; those who pray will want a greater measure of faith. Those who overcome in faith will be prayer warriors. We cannot overcome unless we ask God to send forth his Holy Spirit in order to grant us both the power to pray and the proper motivation.
All forms of prayer are anchored in the passion of faith. Adoration and thanksgiving become possibilities when a strong faith is in the picture. Those of us who are born again are inspired to adore God through faith in the name of him who died and rose again so that we might live. We confess our sins through faith in the one Lord who forgives us our sins. We intercede for the lost in the expectation that the Holy Spirit will reach out to them through our petitions. We ask God for victory over sin, death, and sickness in the assurance that God the Holy Spirit is stronger than all the powers of darkness. Hell itself will begin to crumble when people of God pray in the Spirit—in the confidence that God’s grace is greater than human sin.
For more information about this book as well as Faith in Search of Obedience, his spiritual autobiography that is included in the same binding, visit our website. To see more inspirational quotes from these two works, follow Hendrickson’s Twitter (@hendricksonpub) and like us on Facebook.