Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Sovereignty Line

I wanted to begin my series on the six lies of Islam with this post, however, my research is taking longer than I expected.  As a preview, I will be posting on the following lies of Islam:
  1. Islam is a religion of peace.
  2. Islam is a religion of love.
  3. Mohammad is a true prophet.
  4. The Qu'ran is a true revelation from God.
  5. Allah is God.
  6. The Arabs are descendants of Ishmael.
I believe I will be done with my research early next week and I will begin this series then. I would appreciate your prayers, as those that publicly criticize Islam tend to receive death threats, and if found, get the heads cut off.

The Sovereignty Line

It is very trendy to claim that God is sovereign. There are books galore on the topic. There is, however, a line that many who claim to affirm the sovereignty of God refuse to cross. That line is whether or not God can do exactly as He pleases without getting permission from anyone, including man. It is this specific topic that is the dividing line between the Biblicists from the humanists.

Before I go further, I want to define what I mean by Biblicist and humanist. Both are Christians. Let me repeat, both Biblicists and humanists are Christians. Biblicists are those that let Scripture speak for itself, form their theology according to Scripture, and defend God at all costs. On the other hand, humanists are Christians that bring their presuppositions with them to their biblical exegesis, and allow the presuppositions to form their interpretation of Scripture. Humanists look at Scripture and believe that they must defend man at all costs, including stripping God of His sovereignty.

What is sovereignty? This is a question that Americans have no idea about as a real concept. In America, we the people are the sovereigns. We elect those that would rule over us, and conversely we can fire them. Because of this Americans, and many other people in this world, have no concept of what it means to live under a king, and worse, see little or no reason to bow their knee before God. I digress however, so let’s get back to the question at hand. Sovereignty is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “freedom from external control; controlling influence”. This definition by itself eliminates the humanist Christian doctrine of “free will”. As Biblicists, however, we do not base our doctrines on an English language dictionary; rather we base doctrine on what the Scriptures say.

Dr. James R. White calls sovereignty, “the free and proper kingship of God.” By this, Dr. White means “…that God truly can do as He pleases without getting permission from anyone, including man…” (The Potter’s Freedom, p. 41). The Bible is full of passages that demonstrate the free and proper kingship of God (Psalm 33:8-11; 135:6; Proverbs 21:1; Isaiah 14:27; 41:21-23; 46:9-10; Daniel 4:34-35).

God’s “free and proper kingship” is illustrated throughout the Old Testament by the analogy of the Potter and the clay. In these scriptures, God is continually referred to as the Potter, and humanity as the clay. The clay is constantly referred to as being formed and fashioned by the Potter according to His sovereign choice. Now many humanist Christians will say that these verses refer to Israel, but they have one problem. Namely, Romans chapter nine; this chapter is utterly devastating to humanist Christians because Paul applies the Potter/clay analogy to Christians.

The Potter/clay analogy is seen clearly in Jeremiah 18:4-6. Here God explains to Jeremiah that He can do with the clay (Israel) exactly what the potter does to the clay he is forming into various vessels. Just as the potter did not ask permission of the clay as to what sort of vessel it should become, so God did not need to ask Israel or anyone outside Himself about how He should deal with Israel.

Further, Scripture speaks of an impassable chasm between the Potter and the clay. We see this in Isaiah 29:16. Here God tells Israel that they have turned things upside down. That they, the formed, are telling the Former, “He did not make me” and that the Potter “knows nothing”! These statements should strike us as featherheaded. These statements from the clay are attempts to bring God down to the level of man. This is contrary to Scripture which teaches humanity should view God with reverential awe and true fear because He is the one that gives us every breath we take. It is utter stupidity for the thing made (the pot) to argue with the Potter as stated in Isaiah 45:9. Here the pot is quoted as asking of the potter, “What are you doing?”, or telling the potter, “He has no hands.”

God’s use of sarcasm and irony are emphasizing the foolishness of man arguing with God. How ludicrous it is to think of the clay telling the potter what the potter should make of the clay! What is even more ludicrous, are humanistic Christians telling the God they worship when and if they will accept His grace! God must sit upon His throne and laugh at the audacity of puny humans shaking their fists at God.

Even worse, is that many humanistic Christians actually have the audacity to claim that God is not fair for exercising His free will. The utter biblical ignorance of this statement is shocking. The reason I say this is that humanist Christians do not want God’s fairness. If God was fair, we would all be grease spots on the surface of a scorched earth! As sinners, not neutral people with damaged emotions that cause us to sin, we are fairly deserving of one thing and one thing only; an eternally separated from God!

On the contrary, biblical Christians echo the words of Isaiah, “But now, O LORD, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are the work of your hand.” A truly redeemed person rejoices in knowing that God has formed us. This thought does not foster pride, as some humanist Christians posit; rather it is humbling to know that everything in our lives is a result of God’s gracious hand on our lives. This even extends to salvation. When a person understands that the only thing he brings to the salvation is his sin, then it is easier for the person to bow his knee before the sovereign God, and cross the sovereignty line from humanist to Biblicist.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Derek, great post. Once I understood who I am and who God is, I truly realized the greatness of salvation. I have nothing to bring, but myself and that is nothing; I owe everything to God.

    R.C. Sproul said something that really made me think about salvation, he said, "It's comforting to know that God is holding my hand. I'm not holding his hand; if I was holding his hand, I would have let go quickly." I think that is an excellent illustration of salvation, it's God holding my hand, not the other way around.