Monday, August 2, 2010

The Sovereignty of God over ... everything.

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, but I am surprised. It's hard to understand and hard to accept just how violently many Christians react against the idea that God is sovereign over ALL things, which means of course sovereign over events such as 9/11 and the earthquake in Haiti, both of which I've written about in this blog.

They will say that God IS sovereign ... BUT: ...but not sovereign over earthquakes, ...but not sovereign over jihadists, ...but not sovereign over human will, ...but not sovereign over who is saved (election) etc etc etc.

And here's another puzzler:

We know that God is a sovereign God, but what does that really mean for us in the earth today?
"Really mean?" "For us today?" Huh? Why should it mean anything different for us today than for anyone ever?

And anyone who holds the view of God's complete sovereignty is likely to be severely upbraided and even treated as hardly a Christian at all. Witness what was said against Pat Robertson. The fury of those who object to this idea is little different from that of complete unbelievers. I've been called amazingly bitter names by supposed Christians for defending this perfectly orthodox understanding. I'm called "harsh" and worse for doing this, although my tone as far as I can tell is simply factual and descriptive.

They argue that you can't win people to Christ with such "harshness," ignoring the fact that the discussion isn't about winning people to Christ, and that it is God who is being presented as the "harsh" one, as well as that there is no harsh tone, only words they have trouble accepting. The subject is simply the objective explanation why such events occurred, the subject is not the gospel. We're discussing the plight of Haiti.

Even so, there is plenty of good reason to think people ARE won to Christ by understanding the seriousness of God's wrath we are all under, and won more securely than when the gospel is given without such framing. The idea is that we have to understand that we are rightly condemned before we can rightly value or even understand the meaning of the offer of salvation in Christ. This is how the gospel was often preached in times past, and still is preached in Reformed churches.

For the record, here's a page of links to sermons and articles on various aspects of God's sovereignty.

Here's a similar but shorter list at Monergism dot com.

On this page they list the various sovereignties of God with scriptural sources:

  • God is sovereign over the entire universe: Ps 103:19; Rom 8:28; Eph 1:11
  • God is sovereign over all of nature: Ps 135:6-7; Mt 5:45; 6:25-30
  • God is sovereign over angels & Satan: Ps 103:20-21; Job 1:12
  • God is sovereign over nations: Ps 47:7-9; Dan 2:20-21; 4:34-35
  • God is sovereign over human beings: 1 Sam 2:6-7; Gal 1:15-16
  • God is sovereign over animals: Ps 104:21-30; 1 Ki 17:4-6
  • God is sovereign over "accidents": Pr 16:33; Jon 1:7; Mt 10:29
  • God is sovereign over free acts of men: Ex 3:21; 12:25-36; Ez 7:27
  • God is sovereign over sinful acts of men and Satan: 2 Sam 24:1; 1 Chr 21:1; Gen 45:5; 50:20

And here's a brief article by John Piper on 9/11: Why I Do Not Say God Did Not Cause the Calamity . . .

Perhaps I can at least now say that this discussion is so clearly futile that I won't be attempting it again -- not that I won't write about it here as usual, of course.