Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31 KJV)
Bethel Church’s newly launched YouTube Web series titled “Rediscover Bethel,” which features an in-depth Q&A that addresses some of their beliefs and distinctives, has already paid dividends, as Bill Johnson and his associate pastor talk shop about whether or not God is in control of everything, concluding that he is not.
In contrast to that, we would say that not only has God numbered the very hairs on our head, but he controls every movement they will ever make throughout their lifetime, so that a breeze cannot shift a single hair a tenth of a micron to the right without the Lord knowing about it and ordaining it to happen. There is not one stray atom in the universe for God. If this is not true, He is not God.
For Bethel? They find the notion laughable and unpalatable in the extreme. In their view, sometimes things just happen, and God has no control over them.
Q: Does he control everything? Is he in charge of everything, but doesn’t control everything? What are some of the ways you think about that and understand scripture?
Johnson: My understanding in this area creates the greatest challenges for me…my approach is that God doesn’t control everything.
He’s in charge of everything. And the way I’d illustrate is well, you’re a parent, or you’re in charge of your household, but you’re not in control of everything that happens, you know?
Some dish will break. Something will happen. Somebody will say something that was unkind. Those things aren’t because of your influence. They just happen because you have a household of free will.
So that’s my approach, is that God is absolutely sovereign and that he’s in charge of everything. But I don’t credit him with Hitler. I don’t credit him with the disasters that take place in the earth. I don’t look at these and go, “Well, this is the plan of God who’s devised wickedness so that his glory could be seen.”
For me, that’s absolute nonsense.
So I look at his, at his sovereignty seen, in that he’s written you and me into a sovereign plan. For example, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God is not willing. So is it God’s will for people to perish? No. Are they perishing? Yes. Why? Because there’s a [sic] wiggle room in there somewhere, where we have some measure of influence on the outcome.
This eventually prompts Dann Farrelly, Bethel’s Associate Pastor and Dean of Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry, to chime in:
And I think that’s the worldview of Scripture, you see a lot of powerful decision-makers in the angelic and demonic realm, as well as the human realm. And in the Lord’s sovereignty, sometimes I’ll say it to the students. “He’s so sovereign, he’s decided to be in control of what he wants to be and not in control the things he doesn’t want to be.”
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