Theology: June 2006 Archives

A friend reminded me of a piece I wrote a year and a half before I had even thought of blogging, one that I've had sitting online without anything linking to it. I had always intended to move all my previously posted pieces to my blog, but I'd completely forgotten about this one, so here it is. This was written in the context of a discussion list within a Christian campus ministry and assumes some very particular arguments for positions that I'm seeking to find a middle ground between. I wouldn't word everything this way now, but I'd like to leave it as it is. The original piece was written 24 April, 2002. When I posted it to my old website on 28 February 2003, I modified it in a few places to remove the names of the guilty, to fix grammar, and to clarify some misleading statements. What follows is the statement as I posted it on that day.

OK, I've got to say one thing about the "God picking someone out for you" issue. I'm convinced that the reason people are so resistant to this idea is that they fail to see the biblical point that God is sovereign over everything that happens in a way that's totally consistent with our making our own choices. Read Isaiah 10 very carefully and compare it with Genesis 50:20 and Acts 2:23; 4:24-28. It's hard to get around that.

The only way I can read the resistance to this is that people somehow think what's being said is that God picks someone special out for you but then has no interest in what you do to get to the point of finding such a person, which assumes God isn't ultimately sovereign over everything but has this obsession with this one thing about us, and we have to spend all our energy to figure out who that person is before we can live our life normally.

Rebecca has a nice post up today called Isaiah 10 and Reconciling Friends, arguing that divine sovereignty and human responsibility are old friends and not the enemies some make them out to be.

She's also requested that anyone send her links of recent discussions of this issue so she can collect all the links at the bottom of her post. So if you've noticed anyone else blogging about the issue recently, leave a comment to let her know.

Update: She reposted this in a new context. It was originally posted when people were debating the divine sovereignty issue. The current debate she wants links to is about whether it can be truly said that God killed Jesus. So if you have links to any recent posts on that debate, let her know. See her comment below.

Great D.A. Carson quote:

When I was a boy of about nine or ten, my father called me over to listen to him reading an editorial or a letter to the editor (I cannot remember which) in The Montreal Star, one of the leading papers in eastern Canada at the time. The writer was inveighing against all those stupid Christians who believe the Bible is the Word of God, when it speaks so ignorantly of the sun "rising" in the east: any schoolboy knows that the sun does not rise, but that the earth rotates on its axis. My father asked me what I thought of the argument. I looked at him rather nonplused. He grinned, and calmly turned to the front page of the paper, and drew my attention to the line, "Sunrise: 6:36 am."

[The formatting and spelling may be affected by the process of scanning the article, as is often the case at this site, so I wouldn't assume he really misspelled 'nonplussed' or that he didn't italicize the name of the newspaper.]

The book review this comes from starts here. It's very long. The particular location of this quote is on this page.

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