Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the sovereignty and providence of God. I came across this powerful poem that brought me to tears. What would happen to my life if I consistently saw God this way? Why is this view of God so rare in the Church today?

Sov'reign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in thy hand,
All events at thy command.

His decree who form'd the earth
Fix'd my first and second birth;
Parents, native place, and time,
All appointed were by him.

He that form'd me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb;
All my times shall ever be
Order'd by his wise decree.

Times of sickness; times of health;
Times of penury and wealth;
Times of trial and of grief;
Times of triumph and relief;

Times the tempter's power to prove;
Times to taste the Saviour's love
All must come, and last, and end,
As shall please my heavenly Friend.

Plagues and deaths around me fly;
Till he bids, I cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit.

John Ryland (1753-1825) [taken from Paul Helm, The Providence of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 6.]


Nick Hill said...

If anyone has some thoughts on why you think this perspective is so rare, or any thoughts on God's sovereignty, I would be interested in hearing and discussing.


Canyon Creek said...

Congrats on the blog. With your initial two posts, you're sounding very much like a new kind of Christian; the kind Brian Maclaren is exhorting us to be in his books. Not the cultural-driven self-focused Christianity that so many of us have preached and practiced for the last couple decades. You go man, blessings!

dude said...

Hey Nick,

I love the Augustine quote! good stuff.

I was surprised to see Erasmus up there in the same post. He was a rank Arminian, who resisted Luther and occasioned his work, "The Bondage of the Will."

May the Lord God be pleased to use your blog to advance the cause of God and Truth.


Nick Hill said...


An agreement with Erasmus' call to return to the Scriptures does not mean that I endorse all he wrote. He did write some good things in his "Enchiridion Militis Christiani," The Handbook of the Militant Christian. However, I would obviously be in agreement with Luther concerning the bondage of the will, and the free grace of God. The Reformers recovered an Augustian theology that very much summarizes the Biblical evidence: "the human will does not attain grace by freedom but rather attains freedom by grace" [Augustine, quoted in "Why I am Not an Arminian" by Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 27.]


Nick Hill said...

Rick (Canyon Creek),

That is interesting that you say that I sound like "a new kind of Christian," the kind that Brian McLaren is exhorting us to become. I actually started the blog to counter some of the thinking that I see from Brian McLaren and some of the emerging Church, namely: a denial of the substitutionary atonement of Christ (seen as a form of divine child abuse), a denial of the inerrancy of Scripture, an unclear stance on hell (in many cases of the emerging church, an outright belief in universalism), and a misappropriation of postmodernism. (I will flesh this out later in a blog, citing sources, etc.) For some background in what I hope to accomplish with this blog please see "The Cambridge Declaration" published by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (,,PTID307086|CHID560218|CIID1411364,00.html). Have a great day and may God richly bless you,