Sunday, November 05, 2006

Twila Parris, A. W. Pink, & Ted Haggard

Present day conditions call loudly for a reprisal of the sovereignty of God. Does God rule or not? Is He as Twila Parris chimes, “in control?” Many blogs have become bogged down with the weight of prominent evangelical pastor Ted Haggard and his moral indiscretions. Unfortunately this is not uncommon. But with all the hay about personal responsibility and moral accountability, which are all important and should not at all be neglected, let us be reminded of the One that was not caught off guard by this.

“But who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the devil? Attempt to take a serious and comprehensive view of the world. What a scene of confusion and chaos confronts us on every side! Sin is rampant; lawlessness abounds; evil men and sorcerers are waxing ‘worse and worse’ (2 Tim. 3:13). Today, everything appears to be out of joint. Thrones are creaking and tottering, ancient dynasties are being overturned, nations are in revolt, civilization is a demonstrated failure; half of Christendom was but recently locked together in a death grapple; and now that the titanic conflict is over, instead of the world having been made ‘safe for democracy,’ we have discovered that democracy is very unsafe for the world. Unrest, discontent, and lawlessness are rife everywhere, and none can say how soon another great war will be set in motion. Statesmen are perplexed and staggered. Men’s hearts are ‘failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth’ (Luke 21:26). Do these things look as though God had full control?”

It sounds as if A. W. Pink could have been reading our local papers, but this quote is from his book, The Sovereignty of God, pages 12-13, written in 1928. Of course the answer to Mr. Pink’s open-ended question at the conclusion of the quote is obvious.

Ms. Parris is correct in her assessment of the sovereignty of God; He is still able, He is still sufficient, He still observes, He still reigns, and He is still in control (even if the song smells a little like cheddar).

But the greater question is this; does God have full control over your life? Moral responsibility is one thing, but we must be reminded of the simple truth that God reigns over all His creation, with the exception of the heart that is not truly His.

They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble. Jeremiah 31:9



Anonymous said...

Does God not rule in the hearts that "are not truly His" too?
If He does not wouldn't that remove His sovereignty? Maybe I am reading it wrong.

Tony said...

tim a.,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Prayerfully, I'll see you back again.

You have a good question, and one I did not anticipate in the jotting of this post. You are correct in saying that God does rule in hearts that are not His, too. Either He rules or is ruled. Either He governs or is governed.

The point I was hoping to make was that it is not that God cannot rule in the heart of the unruly man, but that He will not. Perhaps another quote from Pink will suffice, from the same book, page 39:

"...either God has His way, or men have theirs. And is our choice between these alternatives hard to make? Shall we say that in man we behold a creature so unruly that he is beyond God's control? Shall we say that sin has alienated the sinner so far from the thrice Holy One that He is outside the pale of His jurisdiction? Or, shall we say that because man has been endowed with moral responsibility God must leave him entirely uncontrolled, at least during the period of his probation?"


"...every action of the most lawless of His subjects is entirely beneath His control, carrying out the secret decrees of the Most High."

Brother Ted had the opportunity to make a moral choice, and in making the wrong one, he chose rather to submit to his own rule rather than the rule of God, really, the essence of sin. God's sovereignty was not threatened by Ted's mistakes; rather his mistakes affirm God's sovereignty. God is sovereign enough that He can allow men to have a moral choice and then not be threatened by it.

So, you didn't read it wrong, I just didn't explain myself well.


Thanks again for coming by. I hope this answers your question.

Many blessings,