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How James Montgomery Boice Faced Faced Death from Cancer


On May 7, 2000, Dr. Boice stood in this pulpit for the last time to speak about his cancer that would take his life in a month. Here is an excerpt:


"If I were to reflect on what goes on theologically here, there are two things I would stress. One is the sovereignty of God. That’s not novel. We have talked about the sovereignty of God here forever. God is in charge. When things like this come into our lives, they are not accidental. It’s not as if God somehow forgot what was going on, and something bad slipped by. It’s not the answer that Harold Kushner gave in his book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. God does everything according to his will. We’ve always said that.


"But what I’ve been impressed with mostly is something in addition to that. It’s possible, isn’t it, to conceive of God as sovereign and yet indifferent? God’s in charge, but he doesn’t care. But it’s not that. God is not only the one who is in charge; God is also good. Everything he does is good. And what Romans 12:1-2 says is that we have the opportunity by the renewal of our minds—that is, how we think about these things—actually to prove what God’s will is. And then it says, 'His good, pleasing, and perfect will.' Is that good, pleasing, and perfect to God? Yes, of course, but the point of it is that it’s good, pleasing, and perfect to us. If God does something in your life, would you change it? If you’d change it, you’d make it worse. It wouldn’t be as good. So that’s the way we want to accept it and move forward, and who knows what God will do?


"So that’s the way we want to accept it and move forward." James Boice could accept what was happening because he knew the faith and he had the knowledge of the Son of God. And this church, as much as we might have struggled with our loss, could accept what was happening because we have been grounded in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. We know that God is sovereign. We know that God is good. We need only look to Jesus Christ to know that. And it is from that gospel truth that we are able to renew our minds and renew our hearts, whatever comes our way.


(From a sermon by D. Marion Clark, Attaining Maturity, 11/12/2010)

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