I was hired by a local Christian school to offer a discipleship course to the graduating class. I had previous knowledge of the fact that the teacher who taught Bible was a very strong and strict Calvinist, who had trained the students in a view of God’s sovereignty that emphasized meticulous providence. The graduating class, roughly 16 students, received their entire education in this particular school.
The course I offered consisted of four units, Change Your Heart, Change Your Mind, Change Your Life and Change the World. In the midst of the first unit, emphasizing the nature and necessity of genuine repentance, I challenged the students to examine their hearts to consider whether they had genuinely surrendered their lives to God, or if they had simply embraced a religious system, having been raised in a Christian atmosphere. In response to this challenge, a young man raised his hand and stated, “But Mr. Wolfe, you do realize that God decides who repents and who is saved – we don’t?” This opened the door to discussion about the sovereignty of God.
As this discussion surfaced again and again in the weeks ahead, a father of one of the students heard that I was not a proponent of meticulous providence and he was very upset that I had been hired to offer this class to his son. An advocate of meticulous providence, he contacted the school with his complaint and began sending emails of opposition to me. During a period of three-way interaction between the father, the school administrators and me, the disgruntled party expressed his disappointment that the school had hired me, his disagreement with my views about sovereignty and his interest in having me removed from my position.
The final communication I had with this man was an email I sent to him roughly stating the following: “In order to be upset with my view of sovereignty, you have to borrow from my view of sovereignty. According to your position, why did the school hire me and why do I believe what I believe? According to meticulous providence, my hiring was…the sovereign will of God. According to meticulous providence, I hold my beliefs as a result of…the sovereign will of God. Consequently, your problem is not with the school nor with me, you have a problem with…the sovereign will of God.” Of course, if we are to be consistent, his resistance to the sovereign will of God was also…the sovereign will of God.
As a note of interest, the school administrators told the concerned parent that I was within my limits to answer the student’s questions according to my comprehension of the subject, it was not an element of the discipleship course. I agreed to finish the school-year and stated to the administrators that I would not put them in the position of deciding what to do with me the following year. Of course, we all know, in accordance with the message of Slumdog Millionaire, “It is written.”