The Sovereignty of Man
I recently was introduced to Andrew Wommack’s article titled “The Sovereignty Of God” published July 2000, available at http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/sovereignty_god. I often come across published articles that I disagree with, but something in this article arrested my spirit. Perhaps it is the deep respect many of my family members have for him and the work he does, or maybe it was the subject matter as we have been studying this subject in depth in our family devotions lately, but regardless of the reason I felt an overpowering duty to respond to several of the key points he makes in this piece.
The main theme in this article boils down to the doctrine of “The Sovereignty of Man”. While there are some statements that I agree with in spirit and can understand the point that he is trying to make, there are many parts to this article that are outright heresy. These doctrines have been profoundly condemned throughout church history, but yet today it is common place to see them espoused in many main stream ministries. We are at a place in church history, where these humanistic ideas must be addressed and clearly identified for what they are.
Wommack starts off by lamenting a friend who had recently survived some trials of his faith and through it had come to understand that God is sovereign in the affairs of men. He claims this belief; “The sovereignty of God”, is “the worst doctrine in the church today”. He admits that this may be “near blasphemy” but then goes on to attempt to justify his position because this is a real “faith killer”. After all “If this belief is true, then our actions are irrelevant and our efforts are meaningless. What will be will be.” But most of all he claims that it “slanders God” and leads to passiveness.
Wommack argues that God being sovereign does not mean that he knows everything that goes on, that he is sovereign much like a king is sovereign. There are multiple problems with this line of thought. First God is King of kings and Lord of lords. That places his “sovereignship” above the average ruler. Secondly, He is also the creator of the universe, no other ruler can make that claim or has the day to day responsibility of “managing” the world. To think otherwise is to say that God wound up the world and is watching from the sidelines. It would seem that this view would lead to much more “passiveness”. After all, this view fits very close to that of the evolutionist and really leaves us with very little reason to pray or do anything.
The immediate question that comes to mind is if God is not in control of everything in His universe that He created, than who is; man or Satan? There appears to only be three choices here. One is a Christian position, one is a humanist, and one is a pagan.
It can not be both ways. Either God is active in the world, answering prayers, extending grace to sinners, and aware of everything that happens or He is not. If he is not then the only alternative is that either man or Satan is active. There must be a sovereign, to say otherwise is to validate the big bang.
Wommack’s position is that man is in control. That God somewhere along that way gave us power that somehow supersedes His own. It says that we can manipulate God for our own desires. If you want a healing command it. If you want a new car, all you have to do is have faith and command it. This position says that Man is Sovereign and this is heresy.
He quotes half of 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” to attempt to show that God’s will is not being fulfilled. First this scripture is addressed to God’s people in His church not the entire world. Secondly, just because I say to my wife that it is “my will” that none of my children receive a spanking, does not mean that they will not get one. My heart is that I hate to see my children disobey and need correction. But I do love them enough that if they need correction, I am going to put aside my desires for them and insure they are properly corrected.
However, even if this scripture was indicating that God’s will was not happening on the earth, then who stopped God’s will? Is it that wily Devil that God created? Perhaps it is a few evil men who have banded together in strength and conspired to halt the will of heaven?
Consider these ideas in light of the following scriptures:
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Matth. 10 – 28 – 31 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Because God is in control of His universe, does not mean that He is operating and attempting to bring evil upon us, but the story of Job shows us clearly that He does know about it and He does allow it to happen, if it suits His purposes.
Some may prefer a New Testament rendition; consider Paul in jail for preaching the gospel of Christ. “Phil. 1:12 – But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;… v18b -Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
Jesus Christ our Lord said it best when Herod threatened him by saying he could have him killed, Jesus responded; “John 19:11 – Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.”
To state that God is not the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and that He does not poses all power in heaven and earth is to “slander God”. Consider the view of those who died in the flood when God chose sovereignly, that is without permission of anyone on earth, to destroy the earth and every living creature upon it, except for those he elected to survive.
Secondly, Jesus commanded us to pray, “HIS will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. This is not saying that God’s will is not being done on Earth; it is saying that we are to operate in obedience to God. If our prayers are “according to His will” what so ever we ask will be granted. That is not what will be will be, it is, God how do you wish to use me? If Joseph was praying for God to deliver him from the wicked actions of his brother’s, and from slavery, and from prison, then he was praying against God’s will. But in the end, Joseph understood that what man had intended for evil, God had used for the salvation of the world. God by His sovereignty caused this “harm or evil” to come upon Joseph and by such saved the entire nation, the original 12 tribes of Israel and ultimately the birth of our Savior through these blood lines. For His ways are higher than our ways…He is sovereign and He has a plan and we do not know all of it. Who is the clay to speak to the potter that forms it? Romans 9:20
We must acknowledge that God sees from the beginning to the end of time, by Him and for Him were all things created. His ways are not our ways, He is the Master, the Sovereign, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. In fact, He is called Lord over 400 times in the Gospels and the book of Acts alone and is only called Savior 15 times in the entire New Testament. That is not to say that Jesus is not our loving Savior, but it is to say that first He is the Lord of Hosts and He is Sovereign.