A good brother, who does not attend the church I pastor, stopped me at my favorite haunt this week and shared what someone from a local church he used to attend said about God’s sovereignty. This man said, “I think God gives us some of his sovereignty.” This kind of unbiblical thinking is becoming popular in some of our churches. In the last 20 years or so, views about God have been undergoing seismic shifts in seminaries, pulpits, and pews throughout America. Views such as Open Theism that stress the limited sovereignty of God are making headway in some evangelical circles.
Often times people who find God’s sovereignty an issue when it comes to a particular doctrine, will try and “rescue God” from being seen as harsh or unloving in the way he exercises his sovereign will. They will try and place limits on him with some actually coming to the erroneous view that God “gives up” something of himself. One man I knew actually believed God placed self-imposed limits on himself so that he left such critical decisions with man. In this way God could not be accused of playing favorites with sinners.
God does not need us to rescue him from hard choices. He is the all-powerful, sovereign God of all creation. He is glorified in all he does, including whenever he exercises his sovereign will. His holy word tells us that he says of himself,
I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give my glory to another (Isa 42:8a, b)
God always does things to bring the most glory to himself. He receives glory every time he acts, every time he chooses, every time he carries out his will. It is wrong to believe that God abdicates this glorious part of his essence in order to give man the privilege to exercise his will in divine matters. He does not share such glory with anyone! It is pure heresy to argue that “God gives us some of his sovereignty.”
The psalmist was correct when he spoke of the sovereignty of God and wrote,
But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases (Ps 115:3).
I was reading Anselm (Proslogion) today and he spoke to the mystery of sovereignty:
“At the same time, though we may be able to grasp why thou canst will to save the wicked, we can find no reason to explain why, among men who are equally evil, thou dost save some, and not others, through thy supreme goodness, and dost condemn the latter, and not the former, through thy supreme justice.”
The free-will position is not content with the mystery of God’s sovereignty. This position is not content to have gaps in their knowledge regarding how God’s nature and his actions relate. It must introduce the concept of free-will to eliminate what they percieve would be arbitrariness or sin in God.
Ultimately, though they would not say this, in one sense, they are saving God.
I was thinking you gave me your email address but I could not find it. I wanted to thank you again for your generosity you showed toward me in taking care of me for the weekend. I checked out your church site as well and love the fact that you have posted so much information.
Since this is being posted on your blog post dealing with God’s Sovereignty, I am grateful that in His meticulous providence He brought our paths together.
Our men at the conference were greatly encouraged. I sent you an e-mail. Hope we see you and Bob soon.
Keep looking up brother.