I appreciate books that provide different views on theological issues. (see my discussion on “Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?” Wayne Grudem, ed.) It’s important for objectivity to hear, read and understand opposing arguments or approaches to issues facing Christians today. That challenge is to find people who will communicate in an understandable way and be objective themselves. In this volume, there are four authors approaching Divine Providence: God causes all things, by Paul Kjoss Helseth; God directs all things, by William Lane Craig; God controls by liberating, by Ron Highfield; and God limits His control, by Gregory A. Boyd. Continue reading
God’s Will & Man’s Will by Arnold Fruchtenbaum is the best work I have read that explains the sovereignty of God and free will of man controversy. Too much fire has been created over this discussion and countless brothers and sisters have been divided instead of brought together. Continue reading
- 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
- 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Act 16:30-31)
- 8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
- 9 “of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
- 10 “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
- 11 “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:8-11)
The previous five parts have established a foundation for understanding Divine History. Part one noted a consistent means of salvation throughout history. Secondly, Scripture must be interpreted by a literal historico-grammatical interpretation approach. Thirdly, God’s promises to Israel in the Old Testament were unconditional and are yet to be fulfilled. Fourthly, the church began on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 and not before. Fifthly, the only way to understand God’s plan is to know the completed canon of Scripture. This sixth segment identifies that man is born spiritually dead and how he is able to receive salvation.
Man is born separated from God in a helpless and hopeless condition (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). He is spiritually dead. There is nothing he can do to gain acceptance before God unless God reveals Himself to man and man chooses to trust in God’s revealed will for salvation. Note the following principles:
First let me set the stage. Look at 2 Samuel 24:1, “Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” It’s very clear that the Lord moved David to number the people AND then David confesses his sin of numbering the people a few verses later in 2 Sam. 24:10, “And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.” How can this be a sin, if the text says that the Lord moved David? ……
Now look at 1 Chronicles 21:1. The Chronicler writes, “Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” This passage says that Satan moved David. How can one passage say that God moved David and another passage says that Satan moved David?
That’s relatively easy to understand. God is sovereign over all things and in His Permissive Will, God allows sinful things to happen, but God can never be accused of tempting someone, nor can He sin (James 1:13). Satan must gain permission from God to tempt and do harm as when God allowed Satan to tempt Job (Job 1:12). So, God may even allow the enemy to move persons to sin (in David’s case, not in Job’s case), yet because it is within God’s sovereign control it is recorded as God doing the action. In reality, it is really God Who allowed Satan to move David to number the people.
But also notice, David was a believer. Satan moved a believer to sin and do foolishness. Can Satan cause that kind of problem today? Luke records in Acts 5:3 that Satan filled Ananias’ heart to lie. The same can happen today. God can allow good people to be moved by Satan to do sinful things, even toward other people in God’s family. Why? Ultimately for God’s glory. It reveals God’s sovereignty. It reveals those who are approved by God in a faction of people. It reveals those who do not react, but respond with grace. It reveals that the creature who acts independent of God, even believers, can be moved by Satan to do sinful things.
May our hearts be broken, purified and never used by the enemy, especially to bring harm to God’s people.
What On Earth is God Doing? Satan’s Conflict With God written by Renald Showers is a short, concise big picture overview of the Angelic Conflict and God’s sovereign purposes. There is no question there is a conflict raging around us. Many Christians and people are unaware, because Satan doesn’t want people to know about it. Some people think they are in the heat of battle, when it is merely their own fleshly desires controlling their decisions and Satan’s organization is sitting back watching the Chrisitans flounder. On the other hand, many Christians are actively pursuing godliness in Jesus Christ and are mounting victory after victory, because they are not giving in to the temptations of the evil one.
Showers brilliantly shows the Satanic plots seeking to thwart God’s purposes and will. He also points out how God in no way allows Satan to have his way. Showers addresses history from eternity past (pre-human history) to eternity future. He describes the fall of Satan and the rebellion of other angels. Then he shows Satan’s activities in the fall of man through biblical history. Finally he demonstrates a great understanding of the angelic conflict in post-biblical history to the present and into the future as recorded in Scripture.
Showers makes it clear that God is the victor in this conflict. He writes, “First, as a world and a race, we are headed for the ultimate defeat of Satan and his kingdom and the glorious victory of God and His kingdom. Secondly, as individuals, we are headed either for eternal blessing or eternal punishment depending upon which kingdom we belong to.” (p. 118) However, it would be helpful to address why this conflict is going on in the first place. Why is God allowing the conflict to continue in history causing so much pain and grief? God is not sadistic. The reader and Christendom have yet to resolve this fully. I heartily recommend you read this book.