Those three words, stated in exactly that form, or some variation thereof, is an expression I hear used by most Christians that I have contact with. But it is apparent to me from the other ways they describe God, particularly with regard to the the manner in which He deals with man and the events that occur around us, that there is a wide range of meaning applied to that word “sovereign.”
Parchment and Pen blog is one of my absolute favorite sites in cyberspace. In fact, I’ll go ahead and rank it my number one, ahead of even Mohler, Challies, and Taylor in terms of it being consistently informative and educational. It is a team blog, but C. Michael Patton is its chief contributor. Patton is brilliant. And distinct from someone like John Piper, I think I could actually have a conversation with Michael and come out with my head still screwed onto my shoulders. Of course my opinion of him and his blog have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I find myself landing very close to him on many of his topics, which in turn serves to make ME look brilliant as well. But in fairness, it should be noted that there are some matters on which we differ, which means of course that he’s wrong. JUST KIDDING!
But back to the subject at hand. Michael wrote a post last week on the subject of God’s sovereignty. By his own admission the article was not intended to be exhaustive in terms of fleshing out this huge and important doctrine. But it does set forth what he regards as the 4 primary views of divine sovereignty.
See Michael’s post on sovereignty and let me know where you land on the continuum he lays out. Even though not exhaustive, I thought it was really helpful to see it expressed this way.
So as to save you any tensions and anxiety, I don’t think this is an all-or-nothing proposition, wherein you have to pick one of the four categories. If you should find yourself somewhere in between, I think that’s probably okay. Of course I say that because I find myself most comfortably situated between two of them.
By the way, did I mention that I was just kidding about Michael being wrong on those matters we disagree on? Okay, good.