Or Biblical Activists?
Q.Aren't you ascribing everything to fate or "God's will" when you don't get actively involved in trying to change globalism, trade policies and other things that are destructive to our country? Isn't bible prophecy fatalistic?
No, I don't think so. We don't think we're "fatalistic." Here's why:
Fake Mental Construct
"Fate" or "chance" is an undefined force that determines the outcome of events, according to Webster's Dictionary. Fate is impersonal, unintelligent, and a false mental construct. (We make it up).
In essence, fate has no "power." Fate is just a word - "undefined". Fate cannot change your circumstances or the evil things which occur in our world. Fate or chance is a way of saying there is no God or that He does not have power. Fate is a way of conceding defeat or an excuse for lack of stewardship.
Our Personal, Interactive God
In contrast, the Bible teaches that God is a person who is actively involved in the affairs of men - unlike deistic thinking which assumes God created everything and then left the premises. The Bible teaches that God is the "cosmic glue" that holds everything together.
…"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).
Prayer's Effectiveness&Selected Activism
Fatalism presupposes that all events are inevitable. I believe that Christians (and non Christians, for that matter) can change things through prayer to an interactive, loving God and through actions which seek to improve circumstances. "Selected activism" is our goal - working within certain confines.
In fact, Philippians 4:6 teaches us to, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
That is an extremely loving, anxiety-reducing statement from a highly personal, caring God. Many Christians can attest to the effectiveness of this scripture passage upon their mental state.
Predestination - Not Fatalism
Those who take the Bible seriously believe it teaches "predestination," not fatalism (See Romans 8:29, 30 and Ephesians 1:5, 11, for example). There are no flexible borders or changes possible in fatalistic thinking.
However, predestination allows mankind to exist and to make self-determined choices within specific borders - within certain limits. The Christian believes that because he is chosen by God, certain obligations have been placed upon him to act on God's behalf.
Stewardship - Our Responsibility before God
The Bible makes it very clear that within certain limits, we have been given a stewardship of our planet and to each other. God has entrusted to us the cares and responsibilites of this world and assigns us to be his representatives (i.e. His stewards). Giving power to fate is directly the opposite of the Biblical Worldview.
God has given each of us talents and gifts. We are to take care of His people and His world. He will hold us responsible if we misrespresent God or "take His name in vain." To misrepresent Him means to call yourself a child of God and then fail to act like it.
Coming Mideast War
For example, bible prophecy teaches us that Russia and Iran will team-up to invade Israel - probably in the very near future. In the book of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 we don't see the words "Russia" or "Iran." Rather, we see the words "Gog," "Magog," and "Persia" referring to ancient tribes and lands which historians can trace to areas of Russia and Iran today.
At any rate, we read in these chapters about events which appear to depict a coming nuclear war in the Middle East - and special task forces who will later clean-up nuclear waste after this toxic invasion (Ezekiel 39: 9-15).
However, knowing this is prophesied in the Bible does not mean I should do or say nothing about the insanity of governments engaging in nuclear ambitions.
If I feel that God is leading me to organize protests over the use of nuclear weaponry, or to support Israel, then I need to do so. I need to write to the President and to Congress. I should inform the citizenry about the destructive potential of nuclear contamination, or sound the alarm that the President may be acting against a Biblical mandate to bless Israel.
I need to work to resolve the issue within my sphere of influence. My contribution may be small in my mind, yet God tells us that He is the judge of our contribution, not us. Only He sees the big picture.
I also need to pray about this specific prophecy of a coming nuclear war. After all, we are three and one-half dimensional creatures (width, height, depth and one-half a dimension of time because we cannot travel backwards in time - yet).
Remember, however, that God is outside of our limited dimensions. Like a helicopter hovering above a parade of past, present, and future events, God knows what is coming.
Knowing what is coming does not mean that God will not respond to our prayers, however. As the famous preacher David Jeremiah says,
"God has hardwired the universe so that He works primarily through prayer. …At the moment we pray, we become subject to the most powerful force in the universe." (Jeremiah 2004, 44).
All Things Work for Good - For Whom?
Also, although this biblical reference is inflammatory and infuriates people, our God clearly teaches that for the believer all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). Sadly, the inverse of this axiom is also true. Nothing works together for good to those who reject God (Sproul 1996).
No matter what appearances dictate or how things seem, the believer looks forward to what appears to be a gorgeous space-city to call "home" in a new galaxy containing a new earth (2 Pet.3:13, Rev. ch. 21,22). That gives us hope and positive anticipation of something beyond seemingly hopeless circumstances in today's world.
"Beam me up, Lord. I'm ready to go" (1 Thess. 4:17).
Bridges, Jerry. 2006. Is God really in control? Colorado Springs: NavPress.
Hitchcock, Mark. 2006. Iran: The coming crisis. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.
Jeremiah, David. 2004. The prayer matrix. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.
Sproul, R.C. 1996. If God is good, why do I suffer? (Tape). Orlando, FL: Ligonier Ministries.
Author Ken Emilio holds an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Louisiana Baptist University and a B.S. from CSULB. Valorie Mays Emilio holds an M.A. in History from UCLA having specialized in early church history and a V.O.M. Certificate in Persecuted Church Ministries from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.