In the late spring of 2007 I downloaded and listened to 2 semesters of lectures on Systematic Theology by Dr. Bruce Ware of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. It is abundantly clear that Dr. Ware has been blessed with a tremendous mind and the ability to communicate deep scriptural truths in a clear, concise manner.
A few months later in August my wife and I were on vacation and drove through Louisville. We went a few miles out of our way in order to visit the bookstore on the Seminary campus. As we drove through town toward the Seminary I joked with her about my chances of meeting Dr. Ware. We arrived on campus and found the bookstore. As I perused the shelves near the front I heard a very distinctive voice coming from a few aisles away. I heard Dr. Ware tell a friend that he was late for a class and had to go. I made my way over and introduced myself and told Dr. Ware how I had been blessed by the lectures. He gave me a firm handshake and visited with me for several minutes. He listened to my story about hoping to meet him. He smiled and said “It is the providence of God”. Dr. Ware took the time to listen and to encourage and pray for me. I asked him if he could wait for just a few moments while I retrieved my wife so she could meet him too. He very graciously waited while I found her. In our very short conversation with Dr. Ware we found him to be a gracious, humble servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Consider his words regarding divine providence that follow:
Divine providence as a reality is ever steady, stable, steadfast, sure and strong. Would that this were true for divine providence the doctrine. Divine providence as a doctrine is in great turmoil. Theological earthquakes shake its foundation. This is no time for the weak-kneed and spineless to traverse its volatile terrain.
As goes the doctrine of divine providence, so go vast portions of our entire doctrine of God and with it our conception of God’s glory. But again, do not fear. The glory of God as a reality is vast, boundless, infinite, splendour-filled and wondrous. As such, the glory that is God’s alone is absolutely unshaken and undiminished by human proposals that would seek to make finite what is infinite, bounded what is boundless, and humanlike what is, eternally and uniquely, God’s own.
Yet, our conception of the glory of God will be shaped largely by our understandings of his nature, his perfections, his sovereignty, his wisdom, his knowledge, his moral holiness and goodness, and through all of this his providence…while the turmoil over how best to formulate the doctrine of divine providence affects not a whit the actual greatness and glory of God (he is who he eternally is regardless of what anyone says of him!), this turmoil has an enormous impact on Christian thought and life. To get it wrong here is to create a thousand related problems, both theological and practical.
Dr. Bruce Ware Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary God’s Lesser Glory – page 13