To conclude Chapter 3, Dr. Willard talks about three mistaken interpretations of God’s Word. Even though I will draw heavily from the book, I want to discuss each of the three misinterpretations.
Let’s comment on the “message-a-minute view.” Some may think that God will tell you what to do every step of the way on your walk with Him but Willard says that God is unlikely to have that “constant” communication with us.
The problem: He wants us to make some choices on our own. He wants us to make our mistakes and learn from them. Being a father myself, it is so hard to see a child goof things up but it is in the mistake that the lesson is learned. That has been my personal experience, as I violate a commandment, I suffer consequences.
What do I learn? I don’t want to do that again.
Dr. Willard says that God treats us “like a plant” and I know from personal experience that this is true. In growing things, you have to put them in the best condition that you can and you need to leave them alone. You can actually impede the growth process if you fiddle with the plant too much.
He says that too much direction can make robots of humans and that is not what God wants either. In working with humans, Dr. Willard states that God knows we work best as “unique” people who live in His glory. Could God give us moment by moment direction in our lives? Sure He could. “He could give us ten or a thousand messages a nanosecond” if He wanted. But what would be the purpose?
Choosing to live for God is much more significant than someone believing they have no control over their lives. They have to dedicate their life to God.
“I want to dedicate my life to God” is the statement that God wants to hear, that God wants to see.
The “it’s-all-in-the-Bible view” is erroneous too. Willard says it “is seriously misguided and very harmful.”
The fact of the matter: the challenges we have to face in life today are not all covered in the Bible.
Dr. Willard does say that the principles that we need to live a good life are in the Bible but the details about how life is to be lived are not and it is the details that we have to deal with in day to day life.
Will God give you the words you need to say to get a job? Maybe; maybe not. Will God tell you the prayer you are supposed to pray before the church? Maybe; maybe not. Will God tell you what to say to bring a person to Christ? Maybe; maybe not.
It is foolhardy to depend on God’s direction for all the details of life by turning to the Bible. Some can begin to use the Bible like a superstitious object. Dr. Willard uses the example of the Pastor who feels that your birth date will lead you to the verse that casts light on what you need to do. Another instance is the person who plops the Bible open and blindly puts their finger on the page, to a particular verse that is meant for them.
Dr. Willard calls this Biblical roulette. Carrying out acts based on these random visits to scripture can cause hurt, harm and maybe cause irreparable damage due to poor decision-making.
The “what-ever comes view” is the third mistaken view of God’s communication.
So many people who are Christian say that whatever happens is the will of God.
This view assumes that God is in control of everything on earth. I hate to disagree but often man interjects his will on earth and we have to deal with the effects of man’s will and not God’s. Some would argue that God can control everything and does, but the choice factor comes into play again.
If God is in total control, there is no role for human choice. We have no choice but to love God, but where does that leave God? He has “robot worshippers” as His kingdom.
Wouldn’t God rather have people who choose Him over other distractions? If God has total control, man has no responsibility because God has done it all for man.
To be honest, some of the horrendous things that happen in life today don’t need to be blamed on God.
The blame needs to fall exactly where it should.
Where is Dr. Willard leading us by discussing these three erroneous views?
The conversational view of interacting with God.
The view he will be discussing in the remainder of his book.
It is the conversation we want to have, a conversation with God.