The delusion that God has a specific plan for every action

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week that that she believes it was God … Continued

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week that that she believes it was God plan for her to campaign and ultimately, to win:

“God continued to strengthen and empower us when, you know, His strength is perfected in our weakness. And that’s what’s exciting because you see, that if it weren’t for faith, when all logic said it’s time to quit, we pursued. We marched on because we knew God was not releasing us to quit. And now with such an important lame duck session you realize why we were to endure all that stuff.”



How should constituents interpret statements by politicians who see their campaigns and causes as part of God’s plan? How do you decipher God’s intentions for you?

“God continued to strengthen and empower us when, you know, His strength is perfected in our weakness. And that’s what’s exciting because you see, that if it weren’t for faith, when all logic said it’s time to quit, we pursued. We marched on because we knew God was not releasing us to quit. And now with such an important lame duck session you realize why we were to endure all that stuff.”

The assumption that God has a specific, individual plan for every person simply has no biblical basis. That is the major flaw in books such as “The Purpose Driven Life.” In fact, it is a dangerous idea, for persons who believe that God must have some specific plan for them but are unable to find it may easily be overcome by intense mental and emotional problems. Passages such as no sparrow falling without God knowing it and God knowing the number of hairs on our heads (Mt. 10:29-31) or every member of the congregation having a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12-14), when read in context, have nothing to do with every person – even every Christian – having an individual purpose for his or her life.

As a general statement, God’s will for individual Christians is that we be faithful members of the assembly – faithful members of the Body of Christ – by embodying in or daily lives, in every decision, the faithfulness and love that God brought into the world in the death and resurrection of Jesus. In briefest terms, the call of the individual Christian is to be a faithful Christian.

There are, of course, throughout history, examples of God’s having some specific task for certain individuals or certain nations. God has specific purposes for the patriarchs and matriarchs, the judges, the prophets, the kings, John the Baptist, Jesus, the apostles, and others both in biblical times and throughout the history of the church. God even had specific purposes toward Israel for Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. That God does use selected individuals or nations, however, does not the change the basic fact that they are exceptions, not the ordinary. When I have to make important decisions about some matter or other, I seldom act on the basis of what I think is God’s purpose of plan for me in those situations, but on the basis of what decisions seem likely to have the fewest serious negative consequences.

Needless to say, this makes me highly suspicious of any persons who seek office (even in the church) on the basis that God has called him or her to that office. And the number of failed politicians who have sought office with the claim that God has called them to run suggest that if God does indeed call politicians to run for office, God must have a sadistic sense of humor.

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  • joe_allen_doty

    George W. Bush believed that God ordained him to be a President of the USA, too. He had preachers lay hands on him while he was still the governor of Texas and anoint him for the position.

  • coffic

    The Bible says that God gives us each gifts, all of which, when used properly, would support a thriving community. I don’t know what my gift is (but I know that it is NOT singing, becoming a politician, performing surgery, etc.). However, if a person with a beautiful voice, or, someone with the skill to perform surgery gave credit and glory to God, I would not doubt it. Now, I understand that politicians saying that God told them to run sounds ‘a bit’ self-serving, but, maybe He did. Given the mindset of this country, that ‘admission’ could lose more votes than it would gain. If someone was asked, specifically, what the reason for running was, and a candidate answered, “I really wanted to be a rock star/nuclear physicist/art dealer, but, I felt that God wanted me to run for elected office”, I would have no reason to doubt it. However, we must be wary of such people lest they subvert God’s will for their own. No one knows the mind of God, but we do know what God/Jesus/the Bible said. Some people (Christian or not) think that they know what is best for themselves and others, and think the end justifies the means. We must be wary of all those who think they know what is best for us, and weigh their words and actions very carefully. In other words, we must use the common sense God gave us.

  • overcomerman

    It’s unbelievable an ex-professor of Religion would have backslidden so much to say God doesn’t have a plan for all things to work together for good for those who love Jesus Christ. If God has all your hairs numbered, He certianly has a plan for you. But you may not love Him enough to ever see, read, and obey His perfect plan. That disobedience of heart by failing to love Him would allow you to fall into doing imperfection by default aka. sin.

  • overcomerman

    God’s plan for Congress is described in my new book If we can convert Congress back to respecting Jesus Christ daily, we can save America and the world. Just think if Congress returned to having Bible study and praying for 3 hours daily before getting to the nation’s business, there would be far more reliance on Divine Providence, far less partisan disagreements, and less time wasted on legislating unimportant matters resulting in reducing the size of government for all.

  • haveaheart

    “In fact, it is a dangerous idea, for persons who believe that God must have some specific plan for them but are unable to find it may easily be overcome by intense mental and emotional problems.”Even more dangerous is the person who believes that God has a plan for him, he knows what it is, and he’ll carry it out no matter what. If that plan happens to be blowing up a church or shooting everyone in a car dealership, this person has no trouble justifying his actions, because God commanded him to do the deed.