Advice to God

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A few entries ago, I posted an exhortation that noted that believers are friends of God, and that part of our duty in worship is to give Him counsel. I gather that this has excited comment in some quarters, and so perhaps I should develop a bit further what I mean.

First, what I do not mean is the selection of one set of verses at the expense of another set of verses. All the Bible belongs to all God’s people. There are no Calvinist verses over here and Arminian verses over there. There are just verses. It is our task to receive them all, and let the Holy Spirit sort them out, with us making the best, obedient sense of them that we can.

Consequently, we must accept the fact that the lesson Job was learning with the whirlwind was not that the whirlwind wanted some advice. The Bible teaches us that man, whose breath is in his nostrils, must always remember who he is in the presence of God.

But precisely because of this, when God tells us to do or say something, we had better do or say it. God commands us to sing psalms in which the psalmist is arguing with God, pleading his case. And God commands us to pray, and not little faux-thy-will-be-done prayers either. God commands us to present our petitions to Him. What is this kind of believing prayer but a important form of counsel or advice?

There is a kind of “high” Calvinism which reasons that, because God is almighty, we are nothing and ought to act like nothing in His presence. The line I am arguing here is that if God is almighty, we ought to do what He says. And if our theology gets in the way of that, too bad for our theology. Now I say this as a Calvinist. I do not object to high Calvinism at all — I generally like to take it to the point where an oxygen mask is necessary. But as Spurgeon said somewhere, there is a problem with high Calvinism and low experience. Jesus said that we ought to pray that the Lord of the harvest send forth laborers into the harvest. A wooden theology says that God already knows about the need, has determined from before the foundation of the world just how many laborers will show up and when, and that therefore, “I don’t need to do as I am told.” And this is done in the name of rational consistency!

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