If the Evangelical Christian teaching on the sovereignty of God and God’s personal, direct intervention in our lives is taken seriously, it often results in Christians acting foolishly and irresponsibly. It often leads to fatalism. The thinking goes something like this: God is in control. Nothing happens that is not a part of God’s purpose and plan for our lives. Christians live fearlessly, knowing that God is controlling and directing their lives. All they need to do is surrender their will to his, dying to self (cue the song I Surrender All). God promises the Christians he will never leave them or forsake them. He promises to be a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He promises, promises, promises…
Back in the real world, Christians fail, get sick, have accidents, lose their jobs, get divorced, end up in bankruptcy, and die just like the rest of us. Despite the promises of God, their lives are no different from the lives of godless atheists. They “think” their lives are different, but any cursory examination proves otherwise.
A scene in an episode of the Showtime hit The Big C illustrates how Christians often deceive themselves. The Big C is a comedy/drama about a woman who has terminal cancer. Cathy (Laura Linney) has cancer. Her son Adam (Gabriel Basso) has turned to Christianity as his Mom continues to struggle with the reality that she is dying. The Christianity the show portrays is a mix of Lutheranism, Emergent church, and Evangelicalism. Adam starts attending a Bible study where he meets a girl. She is “saving” herself until she is married, so she only will have anal sex with Adam. In her world, anal sex and oral sex are not really “sex.”
One evening, Adam is out with his girlfriend and they come to the curb of a busy, traffic filled street:
Girlfriend: (starts praying) God help me to help Adam. Let him know your love and protection like I do. Let him give over his life to your loving hands.
Girlfriend: Okay, RUN! (and grabbing Adam’s hand they begin to run across the street dodging cars)
Adam: Oh shit!
Adam: (Upon safely reaching the other side of the street) I can’t believe we did that, we could have died.
Girlfriend: But, we didn’t because God protected us. Just like he protects all of his children.
This is EXACTLY the way many Evangelical Christians think.
Never mind that if this same scenario was played out again it is likely they would have been killed. Perhaps they escaped death a second time. All that would mean is that they were lucky the first two times. They might run out of luck the next time they try to cross the road. And if Adam and his girlfriend were hit by a car and killed? Christians have an out for that too. It was their “time” to die. God called their number, end of story! To God be the glory.