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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Laissez-faire Lordship

You may have heard of the laissez-faire style of leadership. In this style, the leader is more "hands off". Provide tools and resources, but let the group make decisions. Maybe some guidance, some goals, some suggestions, but authority is delegated. This style most highly values independence and the will of the group over the will of the leader.

And, apparently, God is a laissez-faire Lord.

That's what I'm told. Despite the highly popular "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" message, apparently the truth is "God does not have specific plans for your life. His only plan is to let you do what you want and He hopes what you want is to trust Him." I suppose this is intended to free God up from any blame. And to hold us accountable for our choices. After all, if God has specific plans for people's lives, then that just makes Him 1) a puppet master and 2) culpable for our sin.

So, when Jesus was asked whose sin caused the man to be born blind and answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him" (John 9:3), we cannot conclude that God made this guy blind for the works of God to be displayed in him, but that it just happened and God figured He could work with it. (That's what the teacher of our adult Sunday school class told me.) When God told Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (Jer 1:5), He did not mean that He had an individual plan for Jeremiah's life. He just knew that Jeremiah would choose to follow Him and be His prophet. When David says "Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them" (Psa 139:16), he is engaging in poetic language. God did not actually form the days for him; He simply knew what they would be. When Solomon wrote, "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps" (Prov 16:9), he could not mean that the LORD establishes his steps. It means something ... different.

I have to be honest. I don't know how to correlate Scriptures like these with a "hands off" God. Nor can I see God as Sovereign. This version seems much closer to deism than theism. And while laissez-faire leadership might work in applications among humans -- equals -- I cannot see how it could be remotely possible (or biblical) if applied to God. There is no such thing as laissez-faire lordship. Either He is the "only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Tim 6:15) or He is not.

1 comment:

David said...

I don't know why they feel the need to absolve God of our guilt. It's both/and. God is absolutely Sovereign in all things, and we are culpable for our actions. Scripture clearly teaches both concepts without a doubt. But for some reason, people can't accept that God is control of everything, and we are responsible for our actions. They're both in the Bible, so they must both be true. And how anyone can say, "God let's us do as we please without interference" and,"God has a plan for the bad things that happen in your life" (which are typically because of our actions), is beyond me.