WHAT IS TO BE WILL BE
T. PIERCE BROWN
When I was a boy, I remember hearing my father say, “What is to be whether it happens or not.” I presume he got the first part of the idea from his mother, who was a Presbyterian, and the last part was a humorous way of trying to say, “I do not really believe it.” I feel sure he had never read the Presbyterian confession of faith, Chapter 3, section 1, which said, “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsels of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass.” However, he had no doubt absorbed the doctrine, and, before he had begun to study the Bible for himself, may have had no particular reason to call it into question.
When one tries to examine the doctrine logically and thoughtfully, he can only wonder why more men did not either give up in absolute despair or go crazy trying to find how a man could possible err or be displeasing to God or need a Savior if everything he did had been ordained of God. One may read of the intellectual and spiritual struggles of Barton W. Stone or other great leaders of the Restoration movement who listened to preachers exhort men to come to Jesus and be saved, while at the same time teaching them that they had always done whatever they did by God’s ordained will, and even if they had sinned by doing what God had ordained for them to do, they could not by their own will do anything to change, but had to wait for the arbitary and direct action of the Holy Spirit to give them both penitence and faith.
Most of those who read this can scarcely conceive how anyone with any reasoning ability at all could possible believe such contradictory doctrines any more than one could believe that up is down and that black is white. How much more surpirising it is to find that there are those among us who claim to be preachers of the gospel who either accept some of these basic premises of Calvinistic theology, or accept as brethren in Christ those who do.
If we wonder how a man can continue to preach, even while preaching that his preaching could not possibly do anyone any good, since God has already foreordained whatever is to be, how much more do we wonder how one can claim membership in the Lord’s church and invite others to obey the Lord, while at the same time teaching that it does not matter, for all those in religious groups who have not obeyed him will be saved anyway. If the preacher where you worship teaches that those in denominations can be saved without obeying the gospel, why not ask him, “If it does not make any difference, what difference does it make? What is the purpose of your preaching?” Do you realize that there are those who are connected with the Lord’s church who teach the doctrine that doctrine is not important? The word “doctrine” simply means “teaching.” If someone can get some sort of explanation of why any person would teach anything at all, if he admits that anything he teaches is not important, we would like to hear that explanation, although it probably is not important.
T. Pierce Brown
1068 Mitchell Ave.
Cookeville, TN. 38501
Phone: (615) 528-3600