The belief that God is the direct cause of everything that happens, (i.e, based on a distorted view of Romans 8:28, a distorted view of the Sovereignty of God, or predestination), is not only indefensible; it has the potential to produce great spiritual harm and shipwrecked faith. Here are a few negative consequences.
ANGER AT GOD: In many cases, pinning everything on God leads to an unjustified anger at God. Most of us know someone who wants nothing to do with Jesus, God, Christianity, or church, primarily because of a tragedy for which he/she blames God.
When we proclaim that God is the direct cause of 'everything' that happens, we unintentionally hand the enemy (Satan) some powerful ammunition; ammo he gladly uses to slander God’s reputation and His Church. His argument usually goes something like this: “If God is responsible for your mess, He’s obviously not a very good God. Why would you want to waste your life serving a God like that?”
A few years ago I went to the home of a man whose twenty four year old daughter was found dead in her bed on a Monday morning. She had spent the weekend drinking at Pensacola Beach. After two days of binge drinking she came home to sleep it off. In the night she died. She literally drank herself to death, dying of alcohol poisoning. I’ll never forget this mans anger at God and at me. He totally blamed God for taking His daughter from Him. Yet, God had nothing to do with it. I’ve always wondered what led him to believe this way.
GLOSSING OVER SIN: Another consequence of assuming that God is responsible for everything that happens is a glossing over of sin. Let’s be real here. There’s no reason to fear sin or its consequences if it all works out "for the good” in the end. Right?
I have been told that an affair was part of God’s plan because the new union resulted in a happy marriage. I’ve had people look me straight in the eye and say that their adultery was not that big of a deal because “God understands.” I’ve heard people say that God orchestrated a church split. Some people actually believe that God is behind some murders, because the killers often get saved while in prison.
Such thinking is nonsense. God has NEVER approved of people’s sin. Yes, He can do something good in the midst of a sinful life, but He didn’t cause people to sin. He didn’t “use it.” He overcame it. THAT’S WHAT GRACE DOES!
IRRESPONSIBILITY: The belief that God is responsible for everything that happens leads to an epidemic of irresponsibility. After all, if God guarantees that everything will eventually work out “for the good” no matter what, WHO CARES WHAT I PUT INTO THE EQUATION? I can just go out and sow my wild oats, throw caution to the wind, and God will patch it all up in the end. After all, He promised.
This is more nonsense. Yet, many people live this way.
I have witnessed many people engage themselves in patterns of dangerous risk taking, which was conveniently labeled as “taking a step of faith.” Yet most of the time it had nothing with God’s leading. Usually it is self-willed determination disguised as spirituality. Things like taking huge financial risks, ditching a career to move across the country, marrying an indiscreet person (even though good friends advise otherwise), is like putting all your chips on red and hoping it will work out. This is not faith. It is irresponsible.
- A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3 NIV)
When people live so presumptuously, believing that God will bail them out, they are devastated when He doesn’t come through for them. Many end up shipwrecked in their faith. This is NOT God’s fault. It is THEIR fault for running through a series of warning signs (or stop signs) that would have caused any sensible person to come to a screeching halt.
Let’s be sensible when it comes to Christianity.
Note: Next time (Part 5) we’ll look at the kinds of situations in which God DOES produce something good out of something bad.