Great Expectations

My name is Mark Smith. I'm a guy who loves Jesus, His Word, and His Church. I am filled with Great Expectations for what the future will ultimately bring - Matthew 24:14.

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Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

My favourite verse is Psalm 16:11, my other favourite verse is Acts 20:24, my other favourite verse is Habakkuk 3:17-19, and my other favourite verse is Matthew 24:14.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Divinely Ordered Destiny

This is a paragraph from an Appendix to one of my papers from my Philosophy of Religion class. The paper was called, "A Calvinistic Answer to the Problem of Evil" - including the unscholarly appendix and the bibliography the paper weighed in at 28 pages even though it was supposed to be 10-12 pages long. :p The paper is available for free upon request hahaha...I don't know what my mark on it was...somewhere in the low 90's I think.

"..........The second example of God ordaining events for his perfect plan is found in the martyrdom of five Missionaries at the hands of the Waodani in 1956. This story is well known, so very little will be said here to explain it. The short version of the story is that five missionaries, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Peter Fleming, were trying to reach the Waodani tribe with the Gospel. However, they ended up getting speared to death by the Waodani. The story does not end there though, because through the work of the wives of some of the missionaries, the Waodani were eventually reached with good news of Jesus Christ and were saved.

Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint, and is now best friends with the man who speared his father, whose name is Mincayani. The story of the salvation of the tribe and the reconciliation between everyone is incredible and Steven Saint often speaks about it at conferences and conventions. At the Desiring God National Conference on Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, Steve Saint recently reiterated the stunning statements that he made in Christianity Today in 1996. He said in Christianity Today that as a result of his new research into how the murders came to take place, he was astonished at how unlikely it is that it happened at all. This absolutely stunning sentence came out of what he found in interview the members of the tribe: “As they described their recollections, it occurred to me how incredibly unlikely it was that the palm beech killing took place at all. It is an anomaly that I cannot explain outside of divine intervention.” In other words, he is saying that God arranged the brutal murder of his Dad. What he said in that article was not a one time statement that came out wrong or that he wishes he could take back. On the contrary, it is the same thing that he said at the Desiring God National Conference:

“I grew up believing what a lot of you probably believe: when bad things happen, God, at most, has allowed it…[But now, after my research] you know what my conclusion is? I don’t think God tolerated my Dad’s death. I don’t think he turned away when it was happening. I think he planned it. Otherwise, I don’t think it would have happened.”

Steve Saint is not a scholar. He is not a theologian. He said he hardly ever thinks about the word "sovereignty". However, he says that from what he knows about all the variables that had to “fall into place” in order for his Dad to be killed, the only way that it could have happened is if God planned it. He knows that God planned it, and that God’s plan was for good, to bring about that many Waodani would be saved, and to bring about one of the greatest stories in the history of modern day Missions.

3 Comments:

Blogger Janet Nicholson said...

Hm... I hope you didn't hand it in with that spelling mistake.... haha! Just kidding... :)

Thursday, August 10, 2006 10:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark:

I'm having trouble with the thelogy of Steve Saint's position. If I understand this, it was God's plan for Waodani to murder his father. It was thus God's plan for the Waodani to violate one of God's ten commandments, the kind of simple one about "thou shalt not murder". I have a hard time accepting that God accomplishes his work by purposefully, intentionally having people break the own comandments that He has set forth.

I buy that God is sovereign, and i accept that His ways are mysterious to my simpleton mind. I just can't picture God as a hitman, or God taking out the contract on the missionaries lives. (and we're talking murder, not righteous, God-doing-the-striking-down). To me, its an irreconcilable position.

Any thoughts?
-Felker

Monday, August 14, 2006 9:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mark D. Smith said...

The theological position that Steve Saint takes is certainly not an easy one...nor a popular...but I'll send you an email with the whole paper I wrote on the topic for now and if you have a chance to read it that would be great. I can't be on here too long though cause I'm at Camp. But when I do get some time I'll try to post another post about it or something.

For now what I would say is that Acts 2:23 says that God planned the murder of Jesus and I have head Steve Saint refer to that verse and say that if God could kill his own Son then God could kill Steve's Dad too.

Does that make some sense at all and help the theology behind the position from where you stand? Let me know what ya think.

Gotta run, others are waiting for the computer!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 8:16:00 PM  

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