One of the early slogans that appeared on signs and banners during the founding of our country was the phrase: “We serve no sovereigns here.” Getting rid of tyrannical kings was a good thing, politically speaking, but what happens when this idea morphs into the rejection of all forms of sovereignty? What happens when even in Christian circles, God is no longer thought of as the high king of heaven, but as a kind of cosmic bellhop who exists to do our bidding, or to cheer us up when times get tough? That’s the focus of this edition of White Horse Inn.
“One of the early slogans that appeared on signs and banners during the founding of this country, the United States, was the phrase, “We serve no sovereigns here.” An understandable political protest spilled over into a broader individualism. The customer is king. Each of us becomes his own little emperor. Now of course, this isn’t unique to America. It’s part of the broader secularization of the West. In fact, the Victorian poet, William Ernest Henley expressed the sentiment well when he said, “I thank whatever gods that be for my unconquerable soul. I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul.” More than that, it goes all the way back to the fall when Adam and Eve declared their independence from God. Autonomy, self-rule, is just in our DNA. But as Americans, we’ve put autonomy in high gear. We know how to sell it. God may still play a supporting role in our life movie. He can be the cosmic bellhop who helps us have our best life now or he can be our therapist, or life coach, cruise director. But the one thing he can’t be is, well, God. Sounds like we need a good dose of reality right now and to consider the sovereignty of God.”Michael Horton
TERM TO LEARN
“The Sovereignty of God”
The biblical teaching that God is king, supreme ruler, and lawgiver of the entire universe. Several divine names reflect God’s sovereignty. He is called “God Most High,” “God almighty,” “Sovereign Lord,” and “Lord God Almighty.”
Theologians generally consider “sovereignty” one of God’s communicable attributes; “sovereignty” expresses an inherent characteristic of God, and a distinction is sometimes made between “sovereign will” and “sovereign power.” God’s sovereign will and power are not arbitrary, despotic, or deterministic; his sovereignty is characterized by his justice and holiness as well as by his other attributes.
(Adapted from Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, s.v. “Sovereignty of God.”)