September 05, 2003

God's Will for my life? (Pt. 3)

Glad some of you enjoyed James MacDonald's quiz on God's will. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at the link above, put your answers in the comments for that post for posterity's sake, and then come back and I'll give you the answers.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Ready? Okay, here they come.

According to Dr. MacDonald, the answers are all false.

And the more I listen to his reasoning, (gulp) the more I believe him.

The teaching is goes like this: God has a sovereign will and a moral will. But the concept of an individual will is unsupportable by Scripture. "If you live within the 'walls' of God's moral will," MacDonald teaches, "the rest is up to you." He then goes on to critique arguments that are sometimes made in support of an individual will of God, and to address hermeneutically several different "proof texts" that are often cited in favor of such a doctrine.

Now, I should mention at this point that I'm a literalist when it comes to Bible interpretation. More to the point, I've always believed that the only way I could study the Scriptures with any intellectual and theological integrity was to interpret them literally, grammatically, historically, and contextually. And so I entered my personal study of MacDonald's teaching trying to be as Berean as possible:
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

What I found was that in nearly every case, his interpretations seemed to me to be correct. I realized immediately what a freeing teaching this would be if it proved true. What I didn't realize until much later was the impact it would have on my holiness. More on that later.

Questions I'm pondering now as I begin to move from considering this teaching to applying it:

What are the past implications? How do my "call to ministry," my call to my current field of service, and countless other decisions I've made in accordance with what I at the time considered to be "God's-will-for-my-life" make sense under this new understanding?

What are the future implications? How does this teaching apply to the decisions (major and minor) that are ahead of me?

At what point to I "go public" with this teaching?

Of course, at this point I already have gone public with it; I know of a few members of our church who read my blog and some of them will undoubtedly have questions. I just wish I had more answers!

Do you have any questions or answers? If so, please hit the "comment" link below!


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