Thursday, 5 April 2012


It is amazing that people without a reforming spirit have the ability to theologise and spiritualise their refusal to work for the reformation of the Christian church in all its manifestations within historic Protestantism.  They have imbibed the mantra, "As it was in the beginning, is now and evermore shall be, world without end. Amen."  What is, is what God has planned.

Now there is a sense in which this true.  God is sovereign over all.  He fore-ordains whatsoever comes to pass for His own glory.  He is in perfect control of everything, and nothing takes Him by surprise.  On that we agree.

But when a truly biblical doctrine produces spiritual inertia, it has been wrongly understood.  When the doctrine of God's sovereignty becomes an excuse (and a rather lame one at that!) for very limited or no evangelism, that understanding is woefully inadequate and unfaithful to God's revelation of His heart for all mankind. 

Many in today's church believe this.  Especially within the reformed churches, is this thinking evident.  It explains why such people see no need for further reform within their churches.  It also explains why there is so little evangelistic preaching in those churches.  "Everything is OK," they argue.  "Why the need for evangelism?  After all, all our youths are covenant children so they are 'Christians.'  We do not need to evangelise 'covenant youth or children,' and all pour members profess to be Christians, so evangelism is inappropriate.  Our emphasis must be on the nurturing and upbuilding of the covenant people of God in our church."

Who do they think in this way?  Because 'what is, is what God has planned.' 

Can you imagine a more paralysing viewpoint than that?  That attitude explains the inertia that exists in many evangelical churches today.  It is almost a resignation to the thought that we can do nothing because 'what is, is what God has planned.'  It is unadulterated determinism - 'what will be, will be.'  It smells of Hinduism.  It is certainly not Christian.

God's sovereignty, rightly understood, will drive the Christian church to even greater endeavours for the Gospel, not less.  It shows us Who it is that is in charge of all things, so we have every encouragement to pursue Gospel ministry with great effort.  It is God Who opens doors for the Gospel, but it is we who must go through them.  It is God who opens hearts and saves sinners, but it is we who present the Gospel to them. 

The biblical is full of amazing balance in its doctrine.  Here, we see the perfect balance between divine sovereignty and human responsibility.  When our understanding of divine sovereignty negatives our human responsibility, it is false doctrine.  How sad that many who claimed to be reformed practice false doctrine.  Who would ever have believed it?

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