what will God do? and what should I do? … the tangled web of divine sovereignty and human responsibility

The struggle to reconcile these two theological extremes has challenged theologians through the centuries. My library contains books that reflect the opposite ends of the spectrum, and books that suggest possible common ground. I have just three very simple observations, one confession and one image to share.

First, while I love to research, reason and debate, I know that such activity can become an excuse to ignore the work of the church and possibly evolve into a cause of disunity in the Body of Christ. At the very least it can become a distraction to Kingdom living.

Second, the Scriptures appear to hold both viewpoints in simultaneous tension. The Bible seems to paint a picture of a tangled weave of God at work amidst the aspirations, rebellion and obedience of humans.

Third, some will be disappointed and angered that I do not have the courage to take a stand one way or another. Others will seize the opportunity to convince me of the real truth.

Here is the confession: when among Calvinists I like to expressively flaunt my free will. When in the company of the group that thinks they control the universe, I like to exhibit patient pious trust as I wait for God’s will to be revealed. Now if lunch is involved, then I will put all my theological eggs in the basket of the one who is paying. Is there such a thing as a theological chameleon? I am not talking hypocrisy here, just adaptability. And please, a little less arrogance.

Now the image. Some think a two sided coin. Some embrace a parallel universe model. I prefer the railroad track with rails that eventually come together. My perspective this side of eternity does not allow for a monorail theology. It takes both rails to stay on track. In the distance, the space between the two becomes insignificant.

I have chosen two Psalms to reflect on over the next two Sundays. To my simple mind, they show me the two rails of this track. Less chance of a train wreck if we stick to both.


Rev. D. Johns

Part #1 Getting on track with God      What will God do?

November 13, 2011

Psalm 139

Notes part #1 Psalm 139 (key verses  1,10,23,24)

In the midst of my confusion, running, hiding, shame and suffering ……. God will      SEARCH ME       HOLD ME      LEAD ME

C.H. Spurgeon says about this Psalm: “it sings the omniscience and omnipresence of God with brightness like unto a sapphire stone. It casts a light even to the uttermost parts of the sea, and warns us against that practical atheism which ignores the presence of God and shipwrecks the soul.



Rev. D. Johns

Part #2   Staying on track with God    What should I do?

November 20, 2011

Psalm 37


I should not

  • Fret (mentioned 3 times! verses 1,7,8)
  • Envy (verse 1)
  • Get angry (verse 8 )

I should

  • Trust (mentioned twice: verses 3,5)
  • Dwell (verse 3)
  • Delight (verse 4)
  • Commit (verse 5)
  • Be still (verse 7
  • Wait patiently (verse 7)
  • Hope (verse 9)

C.H. Spurgeon says these directives offer the combination to holy and happy living.


About dougjohns

Doug Johns retired from ministry in Canada to devote more time to international work. Right now he pastors part time at the International Baptist Church in Bielefeld, Germany. He is a graduate of York Univ. (B.A.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Doug is married to Yvonne and they have four grown children plus eight grandchildren. Doug has had significant experience as a Presbyterian Minister in Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and New Brunswick. He has served as Associate Pastor at West Congregational in Haverhill, Massachusetts; Doug is committed to international ministry in Romania; and he has taken leadership in Christian Camping as Executive Director of Camp Fireside, NH; Glen Mhor Presbyterian Camp, Ontario; Timberline Ranch, BC. .... avid baseball fan of the Toronto Blue Jays ... Managed American Legion Baseball Team out of Creston BC in North Idaho League. Doug is a serious runner with many international half-marathons completed over the last 6 years.
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