I’d like to share more about an upcoming Theology of Happiness course I’ll be teaching June 3-5 at the Portland, Oregon campus of Western Seminary. The course is available for graduate credit, but anyone is welcome (and encouraged) to audit it. It begins Wednesday, June 3 at 1 p.m., goes all day Thursday and ends Friday, June 5 at 5 p.m.
Here’s what I wrote regarding the theme of the course:
Unfortunately, many believers today are taught that God wants us to be holy, but not happy, and that joy and happiness are fundamentally different. We’ve even been left with the impression that God Himself isn’t happy. So during the course (which is a prelude to my book Happiness that will be out this October), we’ll explore the questions: Is God happy? Should His children be?
Joy, gladness, delight, celebration and happiness in Christ are based on solid redemptive facts, including God’s love and sovereignty. Through the “good news of great joy,” God makes possible a settled happiness despite life’s difficulties—not a superficial “don’t worry, be happy” worldview that ignores human suffering or promotes prosperity theology. We don’t yet live on the New Earth, but we will. The “already and not yet” truths of life in Christ have breathtaking implications for our present happiness even under the Fall and Curse.
We’ll study our God-given quest for happiness and the triune God’s own happiness that makes Him the source of ours (with special attention to the happiness of Jesus). We’ll examine the rich constellation of Hebrew and Greek happiness synonyms in Scripture, and the God-centered partying of Israel’s feasts; how the most popular Bible translations have obscured many happiness passages; how the now pervasive evangelical contrast between joy and happiness is unbiblical and misleading, and flies in the face of church history’s positive use of happiness.
We’ll look at the inseparable nature of holiness and happiness, and examine happiness in adversity. Finally, we’ll discuss how to cultivate a deeper happiness in Christ that enriches us, encourages our family and friends, and draws unbelievers to Jesus.
For more information and to register, contact Western Seminary at www.westernseminary.edu, 1.877.517.1800. (Those interested in auditing the course can go here for more details.) The registration deadline is May 27.
I look forward to this class, and I really hope to see some of you there! Please let me know if you plan to join us!