Monday, January 16, 2006

Is God the Author of Controversy?

From the beginning of the of the SBC takeover until now, the fundamentalists have claimed God's leadership in controversial actions. The fundamentalists have consistently claimed that God "led" them to controversial actions that would rid the denomination of so-called "liberalism." Paul Pressler was one of the first to openly express the idea that God was behind the takeover. Regarding the takeover, Pressler wrote:
The SBC controversy was a hill on which to die. Many did die-if not phys­ically, in other ways. It was a hill that had to be won, and won it was. I am grate­ful for those who will lead in the future. I am grateful for the many, many young people who will not be damaged in our Southern Baptist institutions by liberal teachers but instead will go forth with hearts aflame for God. I am grateful for the increased mission activity. I praise God, for only He could have brought about the present result.
Source: A Hill On Which To Die, p. 306

According to Pressler, God was power behind the takeover. If God was behind the takeover effort, then God was the author of division and controversy. Is God the author of controversy? Apparently he is, if we can believe Pressler.

In response to the current controversy of Wade Burleson's removal as a trustee of the International Mission Board, he wrote an interesting blog that delineates Five Salient Points about his position. Point 5 is interesting:
(5). Finally, I am convinced that these actions were caused by God to bring about result that would be impossible without such a public act. Because I believe God is behind it all I don't pay much attention to what men say.
Wade is convinced that God is behind the current controversy. Essentially, he is crediting God for the controversy. Apparently, God is on his side and is opposed to those with whom he disagrees. The logical conclusion is that God is the author of controversy.

Does God cause controversy? Does God create situations where controversy is the only way to solve disagreements between believers? I think not. I can't imagine a situation where God deliberately creates controversy. The God I know and love isn't that kind of God...


nelmezzo said...

One passage that came to mind for me was:

1 Corinthians 11:19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. (ESV)

Doesn't go straight to God's authorship, but seems to assign a potentially positive role to conflict.

David Flick said...

But Wade and Pressler are claiming that God is/was behind their actions. If God is behind their actions, does not that mean that God is the ultimate source of the controversy?

nelmezzo said...

How about Jesus coming to bring a sword?

David Flick said...

Okay, what about Jesus coming to bring a sword? That was your question. You give the answer...

SmallSoul said...

Let's look at the passage in context:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man aganst his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39

KEY: Jesus said, "I have come to set... against" Who came to set these folks against one another? Jesus (aka, the Son of God; God incarnate). How about below:

I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. Luke 12:49-53

KEY: Jesus said, "...I came to grant... division..."

Really, the key to all of this hinges on the moderate-to-liberal bent on maintaining unity at all costs, even unity for unity's sake. But Jesus Himself made it clear that if we love each other more than we do Jesus or even His words than we are worthy only of his shame:

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." Mark 8:34-38

One of the keys to blasphemy is attributing to Satan the Works of God. If we say that God has no part in division, then we are not only misrepresenting Gid's word, we may be committing blasphemy.

The question is: "Is this controversy over God's Word or allegience to Christ or something else?"