Free Will…do we have it?

One area where the Church often finds itself with divergent opinions is the subject of ‘free will’. There is one terrific example that Pastor Mark Anderson likes to bring up whenever speaking with folks that are in the ‘free will’ camp when it comesConversion of St Paul to choosing God and that is Saint Paul’s ‘free will

Do you think that this is a legimate example of how God works in bringing His people to faith, or do we have more of a roll to play with our decision for Jesus?

One might wonder then, well if God is the One who is bringing people to faith with the proclamation of His Gospel, then just exactly who is the Gospel meant for?

Do you think that this is the most efficient way for God to bring people to faith? Or is that none of our business?

Highlights from our ‘Revelation’ bible study.

Written by John on the island of Patmos, the Book of Revelation was given to John by an angel and told (in not so many words), ‘the Lord wants you to write this stuff down, John!’  So he did!

We discussed the apocalyptic style that the bJudgment Dayook is written in. We learned that the book was argued over profusely and barely made it into the Bible. Many of those that didn’t want it included said it was just too hard to understand. We looked at the guiding and corrective nature of the letters to the seven churches, and that Jesus Himself was the One who was speaking directly to the churches. Also, that when He speaks to them He is speaking directly to us, His Church of today. We talked a bit about the direct warning to the churches that were not doing as He wanted, that He would “remove the candlestand from that church”. The candlestand holding the flame that represented the Word itself…Jesus Himself. 

We discussed how the Book paints a picture of terrible times to come for the world and for Christians in particular during the last days. We learned that the Greek word ‘nikao’ means ‘to conquer’ and is used all over the Book with respect to Jesus and His coming back to straighten out this mess and make things right. While there is much affliction, war, persecution and battles for dominion, the overaching theme of the Book is that Jesus will conquer, ‘nikao’. (also that is where the tennis shoe company got it’s name…’Nike’) We talked about how the Book has been a great source of comfort to Christians during the period of the two world wars in particular, and how it could once again be a great source of comfort in the coming days of tribulation for the Chruch.

We also taked a bit about how the Book of Revelation has been a source of great conjecture and of gnostic prognostications. Pastor Anderson gave us his belief that trying to figure out the details of this ‘plan of God for the end times’ isn’t helpful to the Christian and it might actually be harmful as it actually works to weaken, and not strengthen one’s faith.

We also received some great outlines of the Book of Revelation that would make it easy to access the main sections of the Book and each of it’s corresponding themes.

We left the class with increased awareness of the ‘plan of God’ to finalize the process that we call ‘history’ and to conquer the forces of evil and put into place the New Kingdom. 

To sum it up:

Rough times are surely ahead, but Jesus, the Conqueror, will get us through it, one way or the other.

Do you think that we are in the end times already? Is it alright to try and figure out the details of God’s plan and pin down specifics, or should we be content to trust that whatever happens it will be the will of God? Or both?