The historian’s favorite question

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By Dave Henning / May 22, 2016

“It’s been said that what if is the historian’s favorite question.”- Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson concludes Chapter 1 of If by observing that history, as well as Scripture, if full of what ifs.  In fact, there is a branch of history, counterfactual theory, that asks what if questions.  Mark believes counterfactual theory and thinking is a healthy exercise for all of us.  He states that counterfactual thinking is:

a.  a critical dimension of goal setting and decision making.

b.  thinking outside the box.

c.  going against the grain.

d.  the divergent ability to reimagine alternatives.

Pastor Batterson previously wrote that neuroimaging shows that our cognitive center of gravity shifts from the imaginative right brain to the logical left brain as we age.  If we start living out of memory and stop living out of imagination, we stop living by faith and start living by logic.

Mark believes that each of us is our own historian:

“It’s God who ordains our days, orders our steps, and prepares good works in advance.  But we have to be students of our own history, including our if only regrets. We have to learn the lessons and leverage the mistakes.  We have to connect the dots between cause and effect.  And we have to reimagine our future through the frame of God’s promises.”

In this book, Mark Batterson unpacks the promises of Romans 8.  Martin Luther called Romans 8 “the clearest gospel of them all.”  Mark notes that the 10 ifs in Romans 8 add us to infinite possibilities.  He adds that the touchstone of the chapter is verse 31.  Verse 31 is the lynchpin on which the chapter turns: “If God is for us, who can be against us.”

Mark’s prayer for his readers is: “May you fall in love with the God of what if all over again!”

Today’s question: Following your ministry downsizing or vocation loss, have you primarily been living by logic or by faith?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the Annotated Bibliography of Moving Mountains

About the author

Dave Henning

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