The Gospel Observer
and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe
all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
August 5, 2018
1) The Sovereignty of God (Gene Frost)
2) News & Notes
The Sovereignty of God
Sovereignty is the state of being sovereign, which is to be "above
or superior to all others; chief; greatest; supreme." We illustrate:
In all the realm, the king was sovereign. There was no one
holding greater rank, with greater authority, or greater
power. He willed that on a certain day, from the rising of the sun
until the setting of the same, all who came before him and pledged
their allegiance personally would receive a special blessing from
the king himself. The time was sufficient to allow every subject to
appear, and none would be turned away. The day came and many made
their appearance and pledged their allegiance. However, the
disgruntled and rebellious refused to humble themselves before the
king. True to his promise, the king graciously bestowed great favor
upon the humble, a reward far exceeding what any had imagined.
Question: Did the king surrender his sovereignty by
stipulating conditions in order to receive his blessings? Did he
cease being supreme in the kingdom when his subjects sought his
favor and obeyed his orders? Did he lose control of his power by
fulfilling his promise? Was the bestowal of blessings still within
his power or had he thereby lost control? Did he still have power
over who were blessed when the number was determined by the choice
his subjects made? Did the action of his subjects, in making a
choice to submit or refuse, in any wise diminish his authority and
power? Who could rightly deny that the sovereign king was still
sovereign king after he blessed his subjects?
I wouldn't suppose anyone would have a problem with this scenario.
Why is it then, when it comes to the sovereignty of God, Calvinists
tell us that He cannot offer blessings to the obedient without
losing that sovereignty? When God sets forth conditions for man's
salvation, allowing man the freedom to either humbly obey or
obstinately refuse, He is in complete control of whom He will bless
and whom He will refuse. His role and authority remain supreme.
Whatever man does is without effect upon God's will; God is the
ultimate determiner, who acts according as He has promised. There is
a body of the saved, those who meet His requirements, and a body of
the lost, who live and die in sin alienated from Him. The body of
the saved consists of those who receive salvation which He offers
"in Christ." Those in Christ, who remain faithful in Christ,
constitute His elect (Ezekiel 18:26; Hebrews 6:4-6; I Corinthians
15:1-2). They are predestined to everlasting life. Predestined, not
as individuals without regard to character, but as those "in
Christ," who love His appearing (II Timothy 4:8). Whether one is
among the saved or not depends upon his response to the grace of
God, which is extended to all men (Titus 2:11-12; I John 2:2).
Therefore man has the free will to choose (Joshua 24:15). In either
case, God is sovereign, fully in control.
Calvinists put a spin on the word "sovereign" that assumes that He
had to pre-program and predetermine everything — every thought,
every action, every event, to the minutest detail. Of course, their
theological assumption is not inherent in the word. They use their
contrived definition to formulate doctrines, doctrines not set forth
in Scripture and will not stand the test of investigation standing
alone. By using "sovereignty" (their definition), they beg the
question. This is a fact they recognize. For example, they cannot
reconcile their "sovereignty" with "human responsibility." How
reasonable and just is it for God to hold man responsible for what
he thinks and does when God Himself supposedly pre-programmed him to
be as he is? Here is what Calvinists admit:
"The one thing that man cannot do is reconcile the responsibility of
man and the sovereignty of God."
"Both of these are equally true – they are both in the Bible – and
we have no trouble in our minds when we consider them separately,
but, we cannot (in our minds) put them together."
Of errors to be avoided, we are told: "probably the most common
error is to try to reconcile God's Sovereignty and Man's
"They are both in the Bible – both true – but humanly we cannot
reconcile them with each other."
Can you imagine that God gave us a revelation of His will which
defies our reason, that logically is contradictory! Au contraire!
There is no conflict between God's sovereignty, when properly
defined and as His supremacy is used in Scripture, and man's
responsibility before God. It is Calvinist theology that is
contradictory, that defies reason.
Fixed, Unchangeable Intents
One mistake Calvinists make about the sovereignty of God is to
assume that every decree of God is absolute and unchangeable, that
there are no contingencies with God. Man has no choice that affects
God's actions. In contrast, observe the following:
"At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or
concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if
that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I
will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or
at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning
a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My
sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the
good with which I had promised to bless it" (Jeremiah
God may plan to destroy a wicked nation, but if it turns to
God He will relent. Either course is within His power and authority.
His spoken will and intention is not absolute and unchangeable. It
is contingent upon man's behavior. Thus God "relents or changes his
dealings with men according to his sovereign purposes" [Theological
Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. II, p. 571]. See also Ezekiel
3:17-21 and I Samuel 23:11-13.
Consider the following passages where God decreed, but changed it.
God told Hezekiah to set his house in order because he would not
live; he would die. Hezekiah prayed to God. In response God said,
"I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will
heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the
LORD. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years" (II Kings
God's decree was not fixed, and as the situation changed, God's will
changed. You see, it is as God says, "The effective prayer of a
righteous man can accomplish much" (James 5:16). See
also Jonah 3:4,10.
Contingency is seen in many passages:
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth
say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will,
let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).
Whoever wills (determines, chooses) to respond to God's invitation
may, or he may choose not. God will respond accordingly. The
Calvinist says, "No, man's will is not involved. When the Spirit and
bride say, 'come,' only those whom God has elected will come, not of
their own will but as predetermined; they are pre-programmed to
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth
them, I will liken him unto a wise man" (Matthew 7:24).
The Calvinist responds, "No, he that does as the Lord orders is not
'wise'… he is pre-programmed. He does what he must. In fact, one may
be dull, but if God has elected him he will do as programmed to do.
On the other hand, a non-elected wise man may turn away in spite of
his wisdom simply because it is God's pleasure that he be eternally
In writing this article, the only difficulty in refuting the
Calvinist's theological bluster was in selecting passages from a
wealth of Scripture which expose its fallacy.
Our God is Sovereign
"The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His
sovereignty rules over all" (Psalms 103:19).
"He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and
Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in
unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be
honor and eternal dominion! Amen" (I Timothy 6:15-16).
-- via Articles for the La Vista church of Christ
News & Notes
Rex "Rick" Hadley, Jr. (Anita Young’s brother) is in the
hospital with congestive heart failure.
Jim Lively has been diagnosed with Collagenous colitis, which
only about 42 people out of 100,000 have, and recently began trying
some new medication for it.
Rick Cuthbertson began his chemo treatments on Wednesday, but
had an adverse reaction toward it.
Doyle Rittenhouse is to be careful while he heals from recent
surgeries that involved the removal of two malignant spots.
Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (had a
massive brain bleed and is paralyzed, except for one arm), Roger
Montgomery (needs a liver transplant), Shirley Davis (pain
in legs and shoulder), Bennie Medlock (aortic
aneurysm), Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex &
Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan Thomas, Hannah Laughlin,
Misty Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary
WordPress Version of this bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal
1) Hear the
gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John
2) Believe in
the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of
sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom.
10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the
remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom.
6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39;
Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00
a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m.
(Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912)
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