Does God control
everything that happens? Does He personally permit or allow every
good or bad thing that you experience?
The first related
issue to discuss is the fact that there is a devil. Based on a
Gallop poll, only 55% of Americans believe there is a devil or
Satan. With only half of Americans believing there is a devil,
then it is no wonder so many people think God controls everything.
Insurance companies even call natural weather disasters, "Acts
One prominent Christian
leader once said "When bad things happen to good people,
you know the devil is involved." And we see that illustrated
clearly in the Bible, from Adam & Eve (Genesis
3:13), to Job (Job
2:7), to the apostle Paul (2nd
Corinthians 12:7), to Jesus (Luke
A major theological
view centers around the term "sovereign." Some Christians
highly emphasize that God is "sovereign." Now, I don't
know a single Christian that says God is not sovereign. But what
people mean by the word "sovereign" makes all the difference
in the world. The dictionary and theological definition is that
God is immensely powerful. But people then assume that since He
is that powerful, then He would control everything. However, it
is clear from scripture that God created both angels and mankind
with a free will. Both used that free will to sin and fall from
right standing with God.
Many years ago, I
decided to do my own study on the word "sovereign."
To my surprise, I found the word sovereign is used only once in
the entire King James translation of the Bible. The most liberal
use of the word "sovereign" is found in the weakest
major translation, the NIV, which incorrectly translates YHWH
(Yahweh or Jehovah) Lord into Sovereign LORD, etc. Then, I turned
in the concordance to study free will. I found 26 pages of references
to verses using the word "will." I found phrases like
"I will," "I will not," "if you will,"
Jesus told us clearly
why things happen. In fact, He said it was the key to understanding
the Kingdom of God. In Matthew
16:19, Jesus said "I
will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever
you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose
on earth will be loosed in heaven." Jesus
was saying that God allows whatever we allow, and He binds out
of our lives whatever we bind. (Our words and actions determine
what we bind and loose.) God honors the free will and authority
He gave us!
The most spiritually
ignorant and non-Christian societies believe that God controls
everything that happens. This is why they go to the village witch
doctor for "help." They are trying to get "relief"
from God who they think is responsible for their afflictions.
Also, false religions (such as Islam) teach that everything is
controlled by "fate" (God).
The clear end result
of "sovereignty theology" is that God is responsible
(guilty) for everything that happens, and humans are not responsible
(therefore innocent). Yet we know that scripture states the opposite
that mankind is guilty and God is righteous.
It is true that God
has sometimes killed the wicked, but He does not afflict His children!
God would never do something to His sons and daughters for which
He could be convicted of child abuse in Federal Court. Jesus said
10:10 the thief (Satan) comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
Further, we are warned in Ephesians
4:29 not to "give place to the devil." At the end
of my Dad's life, after he had more than 40 years in active pastoral
ministry, I asked him what he would do different in ministry if
he had it to do all over again. Without hesitation, he told me
two things. The first was, "I would teach more about the
Christian leader pointed out that "sovereignty theology"
caused Europe to fall into a "post-Christian" condition.
It was the emphasis on Calvinism and its sovereignty theology
that caused the Christians there to stop evangelizing. They assumed
that if it was God's will for people to be saved, they would be.
Hence, there was no need to witness and evangelize. They overlooked
scriptures such as 1st
Timothy 2:4 that God "desires all men to be saved and
to come to the knowledge of the truth," and 2nd
Peter 3:9 that God is "not willing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance."
also overlooks the correct role of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said
the Holy Spirit would be our "Helper" which is parakletos
in the original Greek language. Parakletos is defined in Bible
dictionaries as "one called alongside to help." Notice
that God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, does not sovereignly
do everything, but He helps us as we choose to be doers of God's
Word. God is depending on us to do the work of the Gospel
which is why Jesus told us to pray that God would send forth more
laborers into the harvest. In fact, sovereignty theology even
discourages the prayer life of believers because they feel if
God wants something to happen, He will just do it therefore
no need to pray.
God is not a God
of whim and fancy, doing everything on a sovereign and unpredictable
basis. He is a God of law and principle, and we can depend on
God's spiritual laws as much as we can His natural laws like gravity.
One of God's spiritual laws is faith. Romans
3:27 states, "The law of faith." This "law"
is explained that when we pray for God's will to be done, and
believe, then we receive. This is clearly stated in Mark
21:21-22, etc. It is not God's sovereignty, but faith that
is the key that unlocks the mysteries of God's Word and God's
This concept of faith
has been misunderstood, misapplied, and attacked by many Christians.
One minister said, "What you are not up on, you
are down on." But those who have discovered
the theological answer of faith to the important questions of
the Bible have seen the importance of our part in accomplishing
God's will here on the earth.
While I cannot address
every related issue in this short letter format, I hope you see
the importance of applied spiritual warfare against the devil,
plus the role of faith, in the life of a believer to be victorious
in advancing the Kingdom of God and having personal victory over
the problems of life. While you may not see everything the way
I briefly presented it here, this should give you food for thought.
I pray that you will grow in faith, and be able to totally trust
your Heavenly Father knowing He will not hurt or abuse
you, and that He is not the one that has caused the pain and suffering
you may have experienced in this life.