Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

Theology Corner


Scripture says:


And he [Satan] led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written,


He will give His angels charge

Concerning You to guard You;


And on their hands they will bear You up;

Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12)


And Jesus answered and said to him,


It is said, ‘You shall not put the lord your God to the test.’ (Deut 6:16)


(Luke 4:9-12)


This temptation of Jesus, by Satan, defines the sin of presumption

If you presume to know God’s will and then try to force His hand, you have committed the sin of presumption.  Imagine, for example, you are standing on the curb of a busy street and see a bus coming toward you.  You say to yourself, “I am going to jump in front of that bus and when God saves me, I will give Him all the glory.”  You are about to commit the sin of presumption and you are about to be run over by a bus.

A common example involves the financial affairs of a church.  Suppose, for the past year, church expenses have exceeded income by an average of $5000/month.  This could be the result of: (1) an aging congregation now on fixed incomes, (2) the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, (3) a church split triggered by Calvinism, (4) people leaving the church because they don’t like the pastor, (5) a congregation of 100 staffed for 700 or some other common reason for expenses exceeding income.  To stay afloat, the church has consumed the life insurance from a deceased member and even moved money from the designated category to the general fund.  Good stewardship would suggest that the Finance Committee should reduce next year’s budget by $5000/month.  But some on the Finance Committee want to follow a different path.  They say, “We know we are doing God’s work and we know God does not want us to reduce our budget.  Therefore, we will not reduce our budget and we will put the burden on God to work a miracle.”  God will not work a miracle.  The church will default on certain debts and some staff members will be abruptly terminated.