if it isn’t God’s will…..

if it isn’t God’s will…..it won’t happen!????
There is probably a specific theological or philosophical term for this phenomenon, but not being well-versed in either language, i just came up with this title to describe this.  No doubt this has been around a long time, but i don’t recall coming across it until December 2006, then again in January this year, and then again this week.  While hoping that these occurrences are isolated, and aren’t the start of a new trend, i write this to inform others of this type of thinking, and invite and encourage responses.

What exactly does this type of thinking entail?  Let’s start with my most recent example.  I’m currently staying with a pastor’s family.  He has gone thru many, many hardships, incredible hardships, and given up many opportunities to amass worldly goods, to be where he is today – a pastor for the Seventh-day Adventist church.  His testimony is powerful.  So it was with great surprise last Sabbath afternoon when i heard the sound of a saw at the side of his home.  There he was with a young man who lives with the family – wielding a hacksaw thru a plastic pipe, with the pastor holding a can of pipe cement and a new valve (handle).  I mentioned a bit about it being Sabbath at that time, but there was no response.  The next evening i had the chance to sit with the pastor a while and listen to some of his powerful testimonies, and then i asked him about working on the Sabbath.  First, he replied that it only took 2 minutes to repair, but knowing that excuse carries no weight even with himself, he said that a church member had pointed it out to him that morning – and he felt like he was wasting water money.  The pipe had been leaking for 2 or 3 days previously – perhaps around 3 – 4 gallons per day.  Then his final excuse was: “I prayed before doing it, and if it is not God’s will, then he would not allow me to do it”.  Having heard this ridiculous excuse twice before (details below), i just ignored it and told him that God’s will is specifically revealed in his 10 commandments – not to do any work on the Sabbath.

Last January, while in Manila, i was talking with a friend after prayer meeting on Wednesday evening at one of the larger SDA churches there.  There was a board meeting or something like that, and we chanced to meet an elder, perhaps the head elder, coming out.  All four of us talked nicely for a few minutes, until he said they were planning to buy the building next to their church so they could tear down their current sanctuary, and build a church “for the elite”.  That phrase pushes one of my *hot* buttons, and i told him that plan is a far cry from our lowly Saviour’s teaching, and from the teaching in the Spirit of Prophecy.  While agreeing that we should reach out to all classes of people, not just the poor, by no means should we appeal to the carnal nature of people to get them to come to church.  “Oh, my church is soooo beautiful, why, it won an architectural design award from the prestigious xyz association.  I wouldn’t be caught dead in that old, hard-backed pew church!” Where was i…..Oh yes, his reply to my Bible and SOP teaching? – You guessed it – “Well, i guess if it’s not God’s will, it won’t happen.”

Going chronologically backwards, the very first time i remember hearing this was from a good friend who, while knowing the SOP and Bible quite well, has never given his life to Jesus.  But he wants to.  However, he is in a situation he cannot stand, so he said he was working on some legal plan to get out of this situation.  I showed him from the Bible where Jesus gave only one reason to allow anyone to do that, and while nodding assent to Jesus’ words, his reply was “If it’s not God’s will, it won’t go thru.”

Biblically speaking and logically speaking, this type of thinking (new doctrine?) doesn’t have a leg to stand on.  Logically speaking, with C being dependent on both A and B being true – “I want to do C.  A says i cannot do C.  So if B doesn’t stop me, it is OK to do C.”  Biblically speaking – suppose the Pharisees had used this same type of excuse in Jesus’ day – “We want to kill Jesus.  The Bible says not to kill.  So if God doesn’t stop us, then it is OK to kill Jesus.”  How ridiculous can you get?!

God, in his great mercy, has revealed a lot of his will for us, in how to live, even down to what we should eat, wear, how to use our time, money, etc. etc.  He doesn’t need to give a special revelation of his will to those who already have access to what he has revealed in his inspired words as found in the Bible and books of Ellen White.  He will not force people to follow his words.  He made us free creatures with the ability to choose.  There will always be excuses those who wish to disobey that revealed will can come up with.  I just hope and pray that this new excuse does not spread, and that all of us will adhere to the revealed will of God, and rejoice in the light it gives on our way 🙂

The Youth’s Instructor

“Every Christian, whether old or young, will be assailed by
temptations; and our only safety is in carefully studying our duty, and
then doing it at any cost to ourselves. Everything has been done for us
to secure our salvation, and we must be not only willing but anxious to
learn the will of God, and do all things to his glory. This is the
Christian’s lifework. He will not try to see how far he can venture in
the path of indifference and unbelief, and yet be called a child of
God; but he will study to see how closely he can imitate the life and
character of Christ.”

NOTE: Post written March 22, 2007

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