A recent post by Don Miller (Blue Like Jazz, etc.) has stirred some minor controversy elsewhere on the web. Not that I am the final arbiter of all things postmodern or erroneous, but I figured it would at least be a good exercise for me to respond to it. You can read his post here.
My first thought is that, for being a writer by trade (and a fairly good one), Miller makes some egregious writer’s mistakes. There’s the huge logical fallacy that he makes. His logic boils down to this:
Since God does not interact with me through wrestling angels or talking donkeys, He does not have a plan for my life.
That goes against the entire teaching of Scripture about God’s works of providence in the world. Ephesians 1-2 and Psalm 139 are just two passages that immediately come to mind that prove Miller’s thesis is bunk. But even if we grant Miller the benefit of the doubt and think that what he said is not what he meant, why didn’t he say what he meant? The Trinity planning and covenanting from all eternity to save God’s elect sounds like a plan to me.
Another writer’s mistake is that Miller paints in broad, unhelpful, and inaccurate generalities while building up straw men. I can understand Miller’s reaction to his caricature of Christianity – that of not taking action until one hears from God – and disagree strongly with those perspectives. The John Eldredge camp of waiting to act until one hears from God on whether I should paint my toenails or scramble eggs before work is silly. As Kevin DeYoung says, just do something. But in generalizing this to all Christians and then reacting against this straw man he has built, Miller collapses God’s decretive and prescriptive wills into “God’s plan.” It’s just sloppy reading of Scripture and sloppy writing.
Further, Miller uses no scriptural backing for his arguments. They are just top of mind, personal arguments that do not hold up when compared with Scripture. Ephesians 1 and 2, in which Paul writes that God has planned for the salvation of His elect from the foundation of the world and has prepared beforehand the works in which they will walk, dismisses Miller’s assertions. It’s not just a matter of narrowly debating the doctrine of predestination, but it concerns the nature and character of God. Miller’s assertions go against everything that the Bible teaches about how God works in and through history.
I’m not ignoring the freedom we have in Christ to make decisions and the freedom we have from the pressure to “find God’s will for our lives” or to “be in the center of God’s will.” But Miller tips his hand by showing his low view of the sovereignty and holiness of God, incomplete view of sin, and even disregard for the biblical notion of vocation. God has, in fact, “planned” for all of His people to be redeemed because of Christ’s work. God doesn’t just “desire it” as Miller writes, but He has accomplished it.