The phrase we have all heard…is we need to find God’s will for our life. And for the past 21 years, I thought I had to keep praying for God to open my eyes to the will he had laid out for me. That if I just kept searching long enough and hard enough, I would know exactly what I was supposed to do in the future.
But Kevin DeYoung blew up this idea for me while I was reading his book Just Do Something….
In the beginning of the book, DeYoung says, “We should stop thinking of God’s will like a corn maze, or a tight-rope, or a bull’s eye, or a choose-your-own-adventure novel.” This rocked my world. I always thought that if I made a wrong decision or took a wrong turn, I would be removed from God’s plan.
But what he is saying here is that we are free from the burden of trying to discover God’s will ahead of time. It is not a maze for us to perfectly navigate in order to reach our end goal, but instead, God desires for us to trust Him with all of the twists and turns.
Yes, God is sovereign over my life. Yes, He has specific plans for my future, but He does not expect me to find out the details of His plan before I get there. So this whole idea of finding God’s will for my life has been me searching for something God does not want to reveal.
The answer for making good decisions is to learn wisdom from the words God has already given us, and to rest in the knowledge that God has guaranteed that all things work together for the good of making us more like Christ (Romans 8:28-29). Even if a wise decision leads to unforeseen difficulties, that doesn’t mean it was the “wrong” one. In fact, difficulties are the most powerful tool God regularly uses to shape us.
We have resources on our website to help you think through this, including the book Vannoy recommended above:
Christians fight too hard for inerrancy and inspiration. I am willing to suspend judgment on whether or not the Bible is the "Word of God," yet I can still benefit from its teachings where applicable. I can also believe in Christ without buying that the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God. Factually, it is indeed a library of books written by men; whether they were "inspired" by God is a matter entirely up to one's opinion.
I believe Beethoven's music is inspired, but I can't prove it. Nor does that change anything about it.
Does the question of whether or not the Bible is inspired make a difference? Should it be debated? Give us your thoughts in the comments below, then we’ll hear Brett’s response on Thursday.
I recently had the chance to role play a Mormon for an unsuspecting group of Christians at a church in Southern California. You can watch the encounter below. I'm no longer surprised by how ill-equipped long-time Christians can be, but it still saddens me. However, it also motivates me to get out there and train as many people as I possibly can.
Listen to these Christians engage "Elder Kunkle" and then ask, "How would my church, Sunday school class, small group, youth group, students, etc. do in that situation?" And let it motivate you too.
Ligonier, R.C. Sproul’s ministry, has some free online video series available. Here are three that will be helpful to you as an apologist (each of these has six lectures):
The Mystery of the Trinity: “Many of us, when asked about the Trinity, unknowingly offer heretical answers. Yet a proper understanding of this doctrine is essential to the health and welfare of the church. In this series, Dr. R.C. Sproul gives a sweeping overview of this important doctrine, explaining difficult concepts, exploring biblical teaching, and defining what the term mystery means.”
The Holiness of God: “The Holiness of God examines the meaning of holiness and why people are both fascinated and terrified by a holy God. This series closely explores God’s character, leading to new insights on sin, justice, and grace. The result is a new awareness of our dependence upon God’s mercy and a discovery of the awesomeness of His majestic holiness. Dr. R.C. Sproul says, ‘The holiness of God affects every aspect of our lives — economics, politics, athletics, romance — everything with which we are involved.’”
[Incidentally, I recommend Sproul’s book by that same name to apologists more often than any other book. I think it’s the key to a multitude of apologetics subjects.]
The Cross of Christ: “In The Cross of Christ, Dr. Sproul discusses the saving work of the Son of God. Unfolding the drama of redemption revealed in the Old Testament, R.C. highlights humanity’s great need for salvation and communicates the way the Cross fulfills that need. And he explains the certainty of redemption for those whom God draws to the Cross. The Cross of Christ will increase your understanding of history’s pivotal event — and your ability to communicate that event’s crucial implications.”
I must say, I loved the responses to this week's challenge. If you haven't read them, go read them. And yes, I think there's a lot of wisdom in dealing with the mockery of this challenge first. Here's my response to some of the issues brought up:
Here’s an email I received recently containing a story meant to show that Genesis is “drivel”:
Monotheistic (or tri-theistic) morons call their preposterous absurd deity God, which is utterly without form or substance, consists of nothing whatever, cannot exist AS anything whatever, and therefore IS nothing (no thing) whatever.
Once upon a time when there was no time, there was nothing (also known as Nonthing). Nonthing was all there was. There was nothing else. Nada, nil, zero, zip, zilch. Nonthing had been existing forever, had never not existed, had no beginning, and therefore never began to exist. Nonthing was all-knowing, yet, having never begun to exist, it had no memory of its first realization that it did exist, much less that it had been existing forever.
But Nonthing somehow suddenly realized that it existed and had been existing forever… Bored out of its nonskull, Nonthing said to itself (there being no one else around), saying, “This sitting around all by myself doing nothing for seventy billion trillion quadrillion eons or so is getting old…. I will make a universe to play with! But with what will I make it? I am all there is…. Aha! I've got it! I will make a universe from all this nothingness surrounding me!”
And so, with an inexhaustible supply of nothingness for building material, Nonthing made the entire universe, complete with stars, galaxies, solar systems, planets, comets, quasars, black holes, dark matter, assorted cosmic flotsam and jetsam and interstellar junk, and a flat planet Earth.
Was the universe made from nothingness? Do ducks cluck? Do chickens quack? Do whales use toilets? Do sharks wear dentures?
In general, what’s the best way to respond to this kind of thing? Secondly, can you explain where this man went wrong in his reasoning and/or his characterization of the Christian God? There’s a pretty basic logical fallacy happening here, and he’s opened himself up to a huge counter-challenge. Can you find a legitimate challenge in his story, restate it for him in a more serious form, and then respond to it?