Having drunk all the tequila in Mexico, Scott Bailey is now back from his vacation and back to posting with a vengeance. In his latest post he takes apart some of the feel good sentimentality found in certain shallow Christian ideas: God Loves You, And Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life:
How many times have you heard some sort of deterministic, flowery phrase that generally goes like this, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”? If you run in Christian circles this is generally accompanied with some poached Bible verses, “Before you were born, even when the Lord was forming you in your Mother’s womb. He knew you. And even more, the Lord declares, ‘I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.’”
He quotes Bill Hybels, “He’s the God who has orchestrated every event of your life to give you the best chance to get to know Him, so that you can experience His love.”
Bailey’s responses are brutal, but I’ll let you view them on his site. What struck me was the contrast between this idea that the all-wise, all-knowing God has a carefully scripted plan for your life, and the way that some Christians use intercessory prayer. If God already has a plan in place, what’s the point of praying for something to happen or not happen?
For an extreme example, consider this image from The American Jesus, where Zack found this line on the back on a book by Benny Hinn. Note the arrow:
These two ideas exist side by side in contemporary American Christianity. On one hand, God had a plan for you already laid out before you were even born. On the other, God will drop that plan if you ask nicely. How do you maintain both ideas at the same time?