“What I knew about God kept me from God” and then God rescued David Redding

I found a divinity school [where] we didn’t come to the Bible until about two weeks before commencement…[and as a result of my theological education] during the first years of my ministry what I knew about God kept me from God.

[Later when I was reading I learned that] Rembrandt had a powerful painting on”¦ [the subject of the raising of Lazarus in John 11], and it was quite obvious that Lazarus was not being raised in spirit only. The reanimated and bandaged corpse was realistically coming to life. Then I happened to turn to the back of the painting to see what the critic said of it. Critics have done much harm, but the words of that critic left there helped me into the Lord’s bright blessing: “Rembrandt did everything he could think of to intensify the miracles of Christ.” I had intended to dampen their effect, but Rembrandt did everything he could think of to enhance them, to give them glory. For some reason those words of that unknown critic did me in. From then on, I too tried to do everything I could think of to intensify the effect of the miracles. When I turned that page, I changed sides. I had never raised my voice in.. [the] Presbyterian pulpit [in the parish where I served] before, but that day, since John said Jesus shouted, I shouted [the words “Lazarus, Come out!”] as loudly as I could. And for the first time in my life someone asked me for a copy of my sermon.

–David Redding, Jesus Makes Me Laugh (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), pp.14-18, my emphasis


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