SOVEREIGNTY VS. COOPERATION: The Theology of Charles Stanley. I listened to Charles Stanley this morning on the radio as I drove to work. He preached from Romans 8:28. I was shocked at what he said.
The verse says the following: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB)
Mr. Stanley said God would work in all circumstances for our good as long as we react in the right way. He must have been using some amplified version, for the text has no such addition or qualification in any of my Bibles.
This passage presents God as firmly in control, as does the whole of Scripture, because God is sovereign over all things. The passage teaches that God does this work in the life of the Believer because he predestined them to become conformed to the image of Christ.
This is the problem with Arminian theology and the emphasis on the supposed free will of men and women. It is man, and woman, centered, so it reinterprets scripture from man’s view point rather than God’s. I think it is funny that I spent my childhood hearing that God was omnipotent, and my adulthood hearing that man is more powerful than God and God is here to serve man.
God has brought many a saint to his or her knees without cooperation. He has used suffering, deprivation, grief, loss, tragedy, pain, and blessings to do his work on Believers. He does this for their good, as the passage teaches. We, in fact, often pray that God will violate the will of someone we know. We ask God to change his or her heart because we know, left to their own devices, they will not obey God. That is the teaching of scripture. Paul cries out in Romans 7 that even he cannot escape the corrupting influence of the sin nature without the power of God.
It is time for Evangelicals to divorce themselves from the philosophical humanism that elevates man to equality with God. Psalm 103:19 says The Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all. It does not say he rules only over those who cooperate with his rule. Isaiah also tells us that God will not share his glory with another. When you elevate man’s will to the level of God’s will, you are attempting to share his glory.