Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Dualism" Is Heresy - John Reisinger

When people blame all the good on God and all the bad on the devil, they are guilty of an ancient heresy called "dualism." Dualism basically sees God and the devil (good and bad) as two independent and sovereign powers struggling for ultimate control of this world. We earnestly hope "our side" wins, but at times it does not look too good. Unfortunately most Christians today are guilty of believing that very heresy. This is especially true of the charismatic movement as well as anyone else that emphasizes health and wealth as the birthright of every Christian, and blames the devil for everything that hinders our "personal happiness." This is the heresy of dualism at its worst.

Why do sincere Christians do this? Why do they blame the good on God and the bad on the devil, unconsciously denying the sovereignty of God? It is probably because they are trying to "protect" God. They are trying to make it easier to believe and love Him by exempting Him from anything that appears to be bad and crediting Him with everything that appears to be good. A young nurse who worked in the emergency ward of a hospital told me that when anyone from a particular church in that town had an accident, the pastor would rush down to the hospital. His first words to the victim and family were, "Remember, God had nothing to do with this." I suppose the poor man was afraid the people might desert the faith. If you'll just think that preacher's statement through for a moment, you can see it is ridiculous. The man may have been trying to "protect God," but in reality he was laying the groundwork for despair and unbelief. He was leaving the injured person totally in the hands of either Satan or blind cruel fate. He was unconsciously moving God right out of the picture when the person needed the assurance of God's sovereign control the most.

The other evening a man gave his testimony and told of a friend that had died in a tragic Army plane crash. The officer in charge of the situation was seeking to comfort the mother and said the following:

"It is impossible for this to ever be repeated. It was a freak accident that could never occur again. No one could have predicted or controlled the events. There simply is no explanation."

The mother was a Christian that understood the truths we are talking about, and she replied:

"Sir, you may not believe that God was in that plane with my son, but I do. I have no idea why God chose to allow this to happen, but I know that this was part of His sovereign purpose and His hand was in total control of the plane, the weather, and my son's life."

How different is that mother's theology and hope from that of the preacher in the emergency room!

"The Sovereignty of God in Providence."

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. Romans 11:36

There are six basic principles surrounding the sovereignty of God in providence that run all the way through the Word of God and undergird its message of salvation. It is essential to understand and believe these six principles in order to have a Biblical understanding of either God Himself or the theology of His sovereign grace. Grasping and applying these truths to your everyday life is the foundation of Biblical hope that leads to true joy in the Lord. It is impossible to have a hopeful sense of security and a heartfelt assurance while living in our present-day, crazy world without a knowledge and appreciation of the sovereignty of God in providence embodied in these six Biblical truths.

Do you personally understand the message of hope and grace that is set forth in the Word of God, or do you have trouble "putting it all together" into one coherent system? Can you relate the truths of the Bible to your everyday life, or do the doctrines of the Word of God seem unrealated to the "real life situations" of your personal world today? This article is written for the express purpose of giving you clear and specific help in these two areas. It is designed to help you understand what the Bible really says and means, and then help you to apply that message to the real life situations in your personal world that you must face.

Let me first list the six principles and then cover them one at a time:

I. God has a definite plan and purpose for the world. Job 23:13; Eph. 1:8-12

II. God is always in control of all things and is constantly at work in accomplishing His plan. Hab. 1:1-11; Isa. 10:5,6

III. God controls and uses everyone, even the devil, in working out His plan. Isa. 10:7-11; Ps. 76:10

IV. God punishes the people that he uses to accomplish His purposes when they act out of wrong motives. Isa. 10:12-16; Acts 2:23,24; Mt. 27:15-26.

V. All things are from God, but the devil is the agent of all evil. II Sam. 24:1; I Chron. 21:1.

VI. Although all sickness and affliction are part of God's purposes and under His sovereign control, it does not follow that all sickness and affliction are necessarily chastisement for sin. Job 1:1, 6:-2:10; 13:15.

Before we look closely at these six principles, let me "kick the needle of your mind" so that you are mentally "in gear." This will test both your basic knowledge of Scripture as well as your ability to apply it to real life situations. We are all naturally averse to hard thinking, especially about anything new. Like the needle in the hi-fi, we go round and round in the same groove. I want to be sure your mind is in gear and that you are really thinking.

Just suppose next Lord's Day morning you were shaving and listening to the radio. The newscaster announced that the night before at exactly midnight every house of prostitution, every pornographic shop, every gambling casino, and every house of any kind of sin very mysteriously collapsed and were totally destroyed. Your reaction would probably be, "Praise the Lord." When you went to Sunday School somebodywould ask you, "How do you account for that? What do you think happened?" I am sure you would reply, "It was the hand of God. God was surely in that." Of course, you'd be right. The unbelievers may not accept your explanation, and the newspapers and TV newscasters may be inventing all kinds of theories, but you would attribute the whole thing to God and rejoice in His sovereign work.


Now just suppose the following Sunday morning you were again shaving and the same newscaster said, "Last night at exactly midnight every single Bible-believing church in the country very mysteriously collapsed at exactly midnight and was totally destroyed." I wonder what you would say then? Would most Christians say, "Bless the Lord," or would they say, "It was the devil"?

Why would anyone blame - or rather, credit - God for the first situation (the destroying of the bad places), and then credit the devil with the destruction of the churches? If we understood the scripture clearly, especially texts like Romans 11:36 and Romans 8:28, we would have to acknowledge the hand of God both times. The whole burden of this booklet is to teach us that God sovereignly controls every single thing that happens, whether it be "good" or "bad." God is involved, in one way or another, in every event and each minute detail of that event. If that is not true, then we really have no sure hope for our lives in this confused generation.

You can order the booklet at Mount Zion. They offer all tracts for free. Go to Chapel Library. You can view their catalog online or email them and they will mail you a catalog.

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