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RT Misconception #10: God and evil puppet master

RT Misconception #10: God and evil puppet master

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Published by Steven Long

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Published by: Steven Long on Apr 06, 2010
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07/04/2010

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RT Misconception #10: God an evil puppet master
Very few believers in their right minds would ever accuse God of being sadistic andvengeful, waiting gleefully to punish the wicked. So why do Reformed believers getaccused of believing this about God? More often than not, it is simply because theydisagree with the system of Reformed Theology, rather than what is actually believed.They then take their own prejudices and pass them along to their congregations andeventually it becomes an all out war against those who don't hold to their own ideas of who God is supposed to be.This, my friends, is not just a mere "disagreement". It goes beyond differing onconclusions about the nature of God. Those who accuse us of having a cosmic puppetmaster for a God are most times the very ones that affirm the Reformation movement of Protestantism that broke away from the Roman Catholic church. And while they heartilyagree that these men (Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingle) were pious men of God, somehowthose who still pattern their beliefs about God after them are accused of having a make-shift God; A God who is not of the Bible. If this is the case, they themselves ought to stop praising the men of the Reformation, for what these men believed and taught about Godhave become the basis of Reformed Theology.What ought to be considered then, is just what these men believed and taught about thenature of God. If they believed God was somehow sadistic in His decrees then ReformedTheology should undergo a complete make over. But if their view of God was that Hewas good, kind, willing to receive anyone who repents, it is those opponents of ReformedTheology that should go back to the drawing board and at the least, come up with a newset of reasons why Calvinism is unbiblical and should cease its teachings.The thrust of Reformed teaching was indeed the sovereignty of God. But more, it was Hishand in all things good and bad. Their reason? To honor God in life! The Roman Catholicchurch had made the gospel a man-made, non-effectual thing. Selling indulgences,making the Word only available to the "elite," and abusing authority caused theseReformers to re focus their attention and energies upon a God who desired genuineworship from His people.This shift suddenly began to focus on God's part in the role of salvation rather than man's part. With God at the focal point, man no longer could boast about his performance andthe priests and bishops could no longer rely on their penances and damn people to Hell because they were excommunicated from the church for their "sins." The inability of manto spirituality reform himself, God's faithfulness to those who were truly His, and man'sresponsibility to repent became the prevailing doctrines of these preachers.But then, just as now, there were those men whose faithfulness to the prevailing churchcaused them to condemn these preachers. Many men of the "church" opposed theseteachings and their counterparts continue to do thus today. The situation that remains,then, is just what these men taught about the nature of God. Did they themselves see Godas somehow sadistically pulling man's strings? Did they view God as one who kept
 
 people from coming in sincere repentance to Him? Hardly! These proclaimers of truthsimply allowed the text of Scripture to speak for itself and be their guide for discoveringthe nature God. They were the masters of the original languages and very few today, evenwith the amount of resources, can rival their competencies in exegeting the Scriptures.Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, and a score of others learned til the time of their deaths. Their studies led them to believe and teach the complete sovereignty of God ineverything—including salvation.But let the Reformers speak for themselves, for it is they that must be allowed to speak rather than some seminary professor who has never taken time to read, nevertheless,sought to earnestly understand these doctrines.Moreover, such is the proneness of the human mind to indulge in vain subtleties, that it becomes almost impossible for those who do not see the sound and proper use of thisdoctrine, to avoid entangling themselves in perplexing difficulties. It will, therefore, be proper here to advert to the end which Scripture has in view in teaching that all things aredivinely ordained. And it is to be observed, first, that the Providence of God is to beconsidered with reference both to the past and the future; and, secondly, that in overrulingall things, it works at one time with means, at another without means, and at another against means. Lastly, the design of God is to show that He takes care of the wholehuman race, but is especially vigilant in governing the Church, which he favours with acloser inspection. Moreover, we must add, that although the paternal favour and beneficence, as well as the judicial severity of God, is often conspicuous in the wholecourse of his Providence, yet occasionally as the causes of events are concealed, thethought is apt to rise, that human affairs are whirled about by the blind impulse of Fortune, or our carnal nature inclines us to speak as if God were amusing himself bytossing men up and down like balls. It is true, indeed, that if with sedate and quiet mindswe were disposed to learn, the issue would at length make it manifest, that the counsel of God was in accordance with the highest reason, that his purpose was either to train his people to patience, correct their depraved affections, tame their wantonness, inure themto self-denial, and arouse them from torpor; or, on the other hand, to cast down the proud,defeat the craftiness of the ungodly, and frustrate all their schemes. How much soever causes may escape our notice, we must feel assured that they are deposited with him, andaccordingly exclaim with David, “Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful workswhich thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: if I would declare andspeak of them, they are more than can be numbered,” (Ps. 40:5). For while our adversitiesought always to remind us of our sins, that the punishment may incline us to repentance,we see, moreover, how Christ declares there is something more in the secret counsel of his Father than to chastise every one as he deserves. For he says of the man who was born blind, “Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should bemade manifest in him,” (John 9:3). [Calvin—Institutes 1.17.1]In this quote alone (and there are many more) we see that Calvin affirmed God'ssovereignty, even taking on those who claimed that God was some kind of evil Godwaiting to squash sinners. But let us continue our examination of the Reformers.
 
 Tyndales's reply to Thomas Moore's book explains the nature and benevolence of God toHis own children. In context, Tyndale is distinguishing the Catholic Churches abuse of the people of God. Tyndale, therefore, uses a parable of sorts to debunk Moore's idea of church:Another is this: God giveth not the promises that are in Christ for bodily service, but of his mercy only, unto his own glory. Yea, and of the Father's goodness to all naturalchildren receive. Ask a little boy who gave him his gay coat. He answereth, his father.Ask him why and he answereth, because he is his father and loveth him. Ask him whether his father loveth him and he saith, "Yea." Ask him how he knoweth it and he saith,"Because he gaveth me this or that." Ask him whether he love his father and he saith,"Yea." Ask him why, he saith his father loveth him and give him all things. Ask him whyhe worketh, he answerth his father will so have it. Ask him why his father not giveth suchand such boys coats, too. Now saith he, they be not his sons. Their fathers must give themas my father doeth me. Go now ye Popish bond servants and receive your reward for your false works and rob your brethern and reign over them with violence and cruel tyrannyand make them worship your pillars, polyaxes images and hattes. And we will receive of the merciful kindness of our Father and will serve our brethern freely of very love, andwill be their servants and so, for their sake. [William Tyndale, An Answer Unto Sir Thomas Moore, pp.81-82]This was my own translation of the old English. A couple of words, I was not too sure of.Here is the link to the book so that you may read it for yourself: Tyndale book So we see Tyndale's passion for a church of true worship and service before God. Heexpounds God to be the merciful giver of all things to His true children. Hardly a theFatalistic God that He is often made out to be.Jonathan Edwards, the great Puritan preacher of the 18th century, expresses God'sconcern for sinners to repent in his sermon titled, Sinners in Zion Tenderly Warned. Now, God is pleased again to pour out his Spirit upon us; and he is doing great thingsamongst us. God is indeed come again, the same great God who so wonderfully appearedamong us some years ago, and who hath since, for our sins, departed from us, left us solong in so dull and dead a state, and hath let sinners alone in their sins; so that there have been scarcely any signs to be seen of any such work as conversion. That same God isnow come again; he is really come in like manner, and begins, as he did before,gloriously to manifest his mighty power, and the riches of his grace. He brings sinnersout of darkness into marvellous light. He rescues poor captive souls out of the hands of Satan; he saves persons from the devouring fire; he plucks one and another as brands outof the burnings; he opens the prison-doors, and knocks off their chains, and brings out poor prisoners; he is now working salvation among us from this very destruction of which you have now heard. Now, now, then, is the time, now is the blessed opportunityto escape those everlasting burnings. Now God hath again set open the same fountainamong us, and gives one more happy opportunity for souls to escape. Now he hath setopen a wide door, and he stands in the door-way, calling and begging with a loud voice to

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