Tony Evans Preaches on Prayer and God's Will

I am always thankful for Tony Evans' preaching.  He understands the Word and God's character correctly.  He preaches a view of God and Scripture that accurately reflects truth, that affects us and our faith in practical ways, that fills me with hope, and that makes sense!

Unlike Calvinism.  Unlike my Calvinist pastor.  

I have been so discouraged by the constant hammering of Calvinism at our church - the sick twisting of Scripture, the damaging distortion of God's good character and amazing gifts, the hopelessness that Calvinism is - that I don't listen to our pastor anymore.  Because when I did, it would leave me angry for days.  (Angry ... but motivated to see what the Bible really says.  So that's a good thing.)

And so I listen to Tony Evans' sermons online instead.  And it feels like a breath of fresh air.  Like I can breath again.  Like I am not so crazy for disagreeing with Calvinism.  Because Calvinism is wrong!  

(I am sure there are other great preachers to listen to.  But I'll stick with Tony for now.  Because I know I can trust him.  And even though I've been a Christian for over 30 years, he still manages to teach me something I didn't know or think about before.  And that's a nice thing.  To be delightfully surprised by God's Word still, to discover something new about God and faith, to be encouraged in a fresh way ... even after 30 years of reading the same Bible over and over again.)

And the thing is, he doesn't directly confront Calvinism; he just preaches the Word accurately.  He preaches God's truth, as it is written ... and that contradicts Calvinism.

God's Word, when understood and read correctly, does not support Calvinism!  And hearing God's Word preached without any Calvinistic twisting is like applying a healing balm to my wounded soul.

This sermon shows what I am talking about: Prayer That Works.  It's a long one (but worth it), but you can see what I am talking about in the first 5 or 6 minutes of it.  

Calvinism says that God's Will is the cause of everything, that everything happens because God planned it from the beginning of time and because He causes it to happen, for His pleasure and glory.  Even people's sins and unbelief.  Calvinism does not make room for anything other than the Will and actions of God.  People have no ability to choose or to affect what happens.  

So if we are driving and take a wrong turn and drive over a cliff, it's because God willed it and caused it.  If we were abused as a child, it's because God willed it and caused it.  If we end up in hell, it's because God willed it and caused it.  

God's Will is the only operating force in the world.  According to Calvinism.  And we can do nothing to change it or affect it.

But within the first few minutes of this sermon, Dr. Evans contradicts this and presents a more biblically-accurate view of God and God's Will.  

He says that God has two different kinds of Wills: an unconditional one and a conditional one.  

God's unconditional Will includes the things that He decides to do irregardless of us.  These are the things He has planned and will carry out without any influence or input from us.  

But then there's His conditional Will.  These are the things He has decided to do only in response to us, to our obedience and prayers and what we do.  And if we don't do our part, God won't do His.  

When it comes to God's conditional Will, we have an effect on what does or does not happen.  (And in this sermon, this is where prayer comes in - praying for the things God wants to do for us or to give us.)  Contrary to Calvinism which says we have no choice, no influence, no effect on what happens because God causes and controls it all ... we do have an effect on life.  

Because God has created it so!  He willed us to have a great degree of free-will, an influence over what happens in this life.  And this matches up with Scripture, with the times we read in the Bible about people's actions affecting what happens, when God does something in response to what the people did, when God gives people a choice.  And it correctly presents God's character, showing how He could want us all to obey and to believe in Him but how He lets us choose how we respond to Him ... and then He lets us face the consequences of our choices.

Calvinism is a cowardly way of trying to weasel out of our responsibilities, blaming God for the consequences we cause, attributing all the events of our lives and this world to "His Will," instead of assuming responsibility for our part of it.

(I can't imagine that God - who created us because He loves us, who died for us and offers salvation and forgiveness to all men so that all men can find eternal life in Him - is pleased when men accuse Him of being the cause of our sins and unbelief.  Can you imagine ... dying to pay for all men's sin so that all men have a chance to find eternal life, and then having some smug Calvinist preach that Jesus's blood didn't cover most men's sins because God predestined that they would go to hell and there's nothing they can do about it!?!  I don't think heresy gets much more worse or evil than that!)

If we sin, it's not because God caused it.  It's because we chose to sin.  If we end up in hell, it's not because He predestined us to go to hell and never made salvation available to us (as Calvinists would say).  It's because we chose to reject God's gifts of forgiveness and salvation and grace.  And not all bad things that happen in this world are because God willed it and caused it.  Many times it's because we made it happen, because we made a wrong choice, because we failed to call on God or to obey Him.

God is not an all-controlling, micromanaging, Monster God who causes everything that happens, who causes and controls sin, who decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell and doesn't give men a choice about it.

God has chosen to allow us to have an effect on life, to make decisions, to have an influence over what happens in our life and our eternities, to choose how we will respond to His forgiving love and saving grace.  

Whether Calvinists admit it or not - we have a huge effect on what happens.  And someday we will be held accountable for and face the consequences of our choices.

And we need to take this seriously.  It should be sobering to us.  It should make us more careful, more prayerful, about how we live.  It should humble us before our God.

A correct, balanced view of God, His Word, His love, His grace, His justice, etc., leads to a humbled heart filled with hope and gratitude and a desire to live rightly before the Lord.

Unlike Calvinism ... which just scares the crap out of you, destroys your faith and trust in God, makes you feel hopeless and useless and pointless, and ruins the beautiful relationship God wants to have with us!  So sad!

But thank you, Dr. Evans, for being a faithful preacher of God's Truth, for accurately teaching about who God is and what He does and what our part is!  

I need to keep hearing it.  Healing balm for my wounded soul.  

Popular posts from this blog

Be Wary Of The Christian Post

80+ Bible Verses for Spiritual Warfare

Help for Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Thoughts