Dear Bobby Davis, God IS in Control of All Things

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

*If you live in or near Cookeville, TN, or if you know people who live in or near Cookeville, TN, please share this post. Hopefully, this post will create a healthy discussion between Bobby Davis, Life Church attendees, and those in the community. May God be glorified.

Bobby Davis is the pastor of Life Church in Cookeville, TN. I grew up in Sparta, TN, which is about 15 miles from Cookeville. My family and my wife’s family still live there. I love the Sparta/Cookeville area, and I love the people there. This is the reason why I’m pointing out Bobby Davis’ errors in theology. Bobby Davis recently said that “God is in control of all things” is a myth. He spent a full 53 minute sermon teaching this error. I’m calling all those who attend Life Church to lovingly correct their pastor’s errant theology. Don’t let your children grow up to believe they serve a God who cannot help them “without permission” because He has “given the lease for this world over to man, and man has given this lease over to Satan” (Bobby’s words). Don’t let your children fear Satan more than God as if Satan has been given temporary sovereignty over earth. God is in control of all things, not man or Satan. God alone is the God of this earth.

The Sermon begins at about 06:45.

1. Bobby argues if God is really in control, then He is responsible for everything (09:15). He argues the belief that God is in control of all things has made many Atheists. He says if God is in complete control of all things, then He is responsible for babies dying, car wrecks, child abuse, tornadoes, etc. How can a good God be behind or at least okay with all the bad that is in this world (09:50)?

First, Bobby assumes that man is worthy of God’s goodness. Yes, God is good, but that does not mean He must pour out His goodness on sinners or His sinful creation (Rom. 1; Romans 3:10-26). Would Bobby argue that since God is good, He must send all sinners to Heaven and not send some sinners to Hell or He must send Satan to Heaven not to Hell or He must not have flooded the earth in the past or that He must not destroy the earth with fire one day? The Scriptures teach that God does and/or will do these things, yet He is still completely and fully good. 

Second, because God is in control of all things does not mean that He is responsible for all things. Consider Peter’s description of the worst act in human history, the crucifixion of God the Son Incarnate Jesus Christ: 

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men (Acts 2:23-24).

God was not “responsible” for Jesus’ crucifixion; His murderers were. Yet Jesus’ crucifixion was God’s definite plan for His Son. Also, consider the dual source of the Apostle Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”: 

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited (2 Cor. 12:7).

Did Satan seek to help Paul by giving him a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from being conceited? No. God gave this thorn in the flesh to Paul, and refused to remove it because His grace was sufficient (2 Cor. 12:8-9). Yet, Paul calls this thorn in the flesh a “messenger of Satan.” Satan was indeed behind this thorn in the flesh, but what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good. Even the Devil is God’s Devil. The clearest example of this reality is Satan seeking God’s permission to do evil things to Job (Job 1:6-12). If Satan “has the lease of this world” as Bobby argues, why did he ask God’s permission to hurt Job? Why didn’t he just hurt Job? Even when God permitted Satan to hurt Job and his family, God still limited what Satan could do. He told him to go this far, and no further. God is in control of all things on earth, not man or Satan.

2. Near 12:47, Bobby says that He [God] made man the god of this world. Bobby believes that God gave man the “lease for this world” according to Genesis 1:26-27 since man is made in God’s image and has dominion over this world (20:45). Then, man turned around and gave the “lease” to Satan (20:45), and now, Satan is the god of this world (20:45). Also, near 26:10, Bobby points to Christ’s temptation, arguing that when Satan told Christ he would give him all the kingdoms, that Jesus didn’t say, “Those kingdoms are not yours to give.”

First, the Bible never says that God is no longer ruling and reigning over His creation. On the contrary, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 8:6, “6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (Also see Acts 17:28, Rom. 11:36, Eph. 4:6). Does “all things” mean all things or not? I believe “all things” means all things.

Furthermore, Bobby adds “lease” to the text, as if God has somehow limited His own sovereignty, making man sovereign, and then man turns this sovereignty over to Satan. Man is indeed created in God’s image, and was created to mirror Him throughout His creation, but man was never in control of all things. Man has dominion on earth under God, not absolute dominion. Satan isn’t in control of all things either. If Satan is in control of all things, then why doesn’t he just demon-possess everyone? Or, why doesn’t he just kill all humans? Why didn’t he just kill Abraham’s descendants, David’s descendants, etc? Why didn’t Satan kill Jesus in the womb or give Jesus HIV, stage 5 cancer, etc.? The only logical answer is that Satan cannot do anything apart from God’s allowance. The example of Job proves this reality (Job 1:6-12).

Moreover, when Jesus referred to Satan as “the god of this world,” He was referring to Satan’s kingdom on earth, of which he is the king. There are two kingdoms on this earth: Satan’s kingdom and God’s kingdom. All men belong to one or the other. Satan’s kingdom, however, does not control all things, even in his own kingdom. God is sovereign, and Christ has conquered Satan and his kingdom. In fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, the “Seed of the Woman” Jesus Christ, although his heel was bruised by Satan, He has crushed the Serpent’s head (John 12:31; John 16:11; Matt. 28:18-20; Rev. 1:18)! This will be fully realized when Christ casts Satan and all His enemies into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15). Bobby Davis gives Satan far more credit and power than Scripture does.

Second, one must wonder how man and Satan both can be “gods” at the same time within Bobby’s theology, and man still give the “lease” over to Satan. Bobby goes throughout Scripture pointing to where men are called “gods” and where Satan is called “the god of this world,” yet he still argues that man has “given the lease to this world to Satan.” If Satan has the lease since Genesis 3 (which is what Bobby argues), then why does Scripture occasionally refer to men as “gods” after Genesis 3? Bobby’s logic is both externally and internally faulty.

Third, Bobby cannot argue from silence to prove his point. Bobby is assigning motive to Christ concerning why He did not say to Satan, “Those kingdoms are not yours to give.” Bobby doesn’t know why Christ didn’t say these words. For Bobby to assume he does know why is to argue from silence, which is an appeal to a logical fallacy. Moreover, even if Satan has power to give these kingdoms to Christ, he has no power apart from God giving him this power. Satan is not self-sustaining. God is the only “I Am.” This is true of anyone who has power on this earth. Consider Christ’s interaction with Pilate recorded in John 19:10-11,

10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

Notice that God is the One who gives people life and allows them to have the power and authority they have on this earth. Consider Paul’s words as well in Romans 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” God is sovereign over all His creation, including who the various leaders are in our various communities. Granted, God does not commit their sins, but they would be in no position to carry out their sins apart from Him. Think of Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. The only reason Judas was in a position to betray Jesus was because Jesus chose him, yet Judas freely chose to be betray Christ. Remember what Christ said in Luke 22:21-22,

21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”

Jesus had to be betrayed, but Judas is responsible for betraying Jesus. Although God had determined Jesus would be betrayed, Judas still made his choice. There is mystery here, but at the very least we must affirm that God is sovereign (in control of all things) and man is responsible.

3. Near 13:26, Bobby says that God didn’t breathe into an angel, He breathed Himself into man. Also, at 18:18 Bobby says that there was no other creature that God breathed Himself into.

A cursory glance at Scripture reveals the opposite of Bobby’s statement. Consider the truth that God breathed the “breath of life” into man, and man became a living creature (Gen. 1:27). Now consider the reality that this “breath of life” was given to all animals (Gen. 6:17, 7:15, 22). I believe with Bobby that mankind is set apart from the rest of creation since we are God’s image-bearers (Gen. 1:26-27), but Bobby is making more out of the “breath of life” in man than Scripture does. The point of God giving “the breath of life” is that God is the Life-giver, not that man is the sovereign god of this earth. If we take Bobby’s emphasis on the “breath of life” to its consistent end, then we must also argue that animals are gods, since they too have been given “the breath of life” by God.

4. Near 26:45, Bobby asks, “How can a good God be in control of such bad things?” He says, “It don’t add up to God.” He also says that God isn’t behind those things [tornadoes]; Satan is (27:25). Furthermore, Bobby argues that since Jesus came to give the abundant life, and He’s said “You see Me, you’ve seen the Father,” he asks, “Do Tornadoes give life?” and Answers, “Then, they’re not from God” (27:50). Moreover, near 43:00, Bobby says that God does not give people cancer. He also tells a story where he told a woman that it’s not God’s will for her husband to overdose or for her to be losing her house (46:30). He told her she was blaming God for something He has nothing to do with.

First, I want to answer Bobby’s assumption that God does not bring death, only Satan does. The difference between God and Satan is that God is holy and whatever He does is just (1 Sam. 2:2; Ps. 97:2, 99:5, 9; 1 Pet. 1:16). Was God behind the flood? Yes (Gen. 6:17). God killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions of men, women, and children in a global flood. Did God order the extermination of all the people in Canaan at the hands of the Israelites (Joshua 6:20-21, 27, 8:27-28)? Yes. Men, women, and children were killed by Joshua and the Israelites in Canaan in response to God’s command. Did God create Hell and does He chain sinners there daily to be tormented day and night forever and ever (Luke 12:5; 2 Pet. 2:1-22)? Yes. When Job’s family was killed, did Job say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21)?” Yes. The list can go on and on. God is sovereign over creation, and can do with it as He chooses. He is good, but is not required to pour out His goodness on evil people or His evil creation (Rom. 3:23; James 4:4). Consider God’s words in Isaiah 45:5-7,

5 I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. 7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.

God is in control of all things. Yet, God is not responsible for sin. He is holy (Ps. 99:9; 1 Pet. 1:15-16), and to say that God is responsible for sin is blasphemy.

Second, Bobby says that God is all powerful, all knowing, and all present. Who gives Satan life? God does. Who is allowing Satan to run to and fro seeking whom he may devour? God is. If we assume Bobby is correct for a moment about God giving the lease to this world to man, and man giving this lease to Satan, if God is all knowing, then He knew full well what man and Satan would do with this lease. He knew Satan would give you cancer, He knew Satan would cause your husband to overdose, etc. Yet, according to Bobby’s theology, God still gave the lease to man knowing full well how this would destroy your life. In other words, Bobby’s theology does not “get God off the hook” for the evil that takes place in this world. Instead, Bobby’s theology eliminates the good purposes God may have for the various evils that affect us. In Bobby’s theology, there’s no room for God allowing Satan to give the apostle Paul a thorn in his flesh, to keep him from being prideful. In Bobby’s theology, not only did God know that Satan would ruin your life, He also freely limited Himself to be powerless to do anything about it, since in Bobby’s words, God cannot “violate the lease” for “God is all-legal,” unless of course you “give God permission” through prayer (Bobby’s theology)?

5. Near 39:00, Bobby argues that God is not in control of all things now, but one day He’ll be all in all and He’ll be in control of all things. Furthermore, near 41:00, Bobby argues that God cannot come in and do whatever He wants to do on planet earth. He believes If God came to earth and did what He wanted to, He would be “breaking the lease” (41:18). God must be invited in because He cannot break the lease (42:00). Finally, near 51:55, Bobby argues that we’ve got to give God permission. He believes God is all powerful, but He’s also all-legal. “Our submission is God’s permission.” Prayer is God’s invitation into our situation. When He’s invited in, Satan will not win.

First, if God is not in control of all things, then how can we be sure He will keep His prophecies and promises? All Satan would have to do to thwart God’s plans and prophecies is to kill Abraham or Sarah after God’s prophecy but before Isaac was born (since many years went by between the prophecy and fulfillment). Or, Satan could just kill all the descendants of David. I realize that Satan used Herod to try to kill Christ, but notice that Christ was never killed until “the appointed time” (John 7:6-8, 30). If Satan can “thwart God’s will” so easily in Bobby’s theology, then why hasn’t Satan thwarted God’s will to send a Savior? If Bobby answers, “Because God is smarter than Satan,” then we simply must reply, “Then why isn’t God smarter than Satan when it comes to tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, my cancer, my husband’s overdose, etc?”

Furthermore, what about the trustworthiness of Scripture in relation to “Satan’s control of this world” in Bobby Davis’s theology? If Satan has “the lease of this world,” and “God cannot violate the lease” (Bobby’s words), then how did God divinely inspire the Scripture writers to write inerrant truth? In Bobby’s theology, how can he trust that the Bible is the word of God if God “cannot just do whatever He wants on earth” (Bobby’s words)? I don’t think Bobby can believe the Bible is God’s inerrant word while also believing that “Satan has the lease to this world.” We trust the Bible because God is in control of all things. The Scriptures are God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16-17), for “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).

Second, where does the Bible say that humans have to give God permission to do anything? You won’t find this so-called truth in the Bible anywhere. Did God ask man’s permission to choose Jacob, and not Esau? No. Did God ask Job’s permission before He permitted Satan to hurt Job? No. Did God ask man’s permission to send the flood? No. Did God ask Mary’s permission to place the Messiah in her womb? No. Did Jesus ask Paul’s permission before He appeared to him on the Damascus Road? No. Will Jesus ask man’s permission before He returns? No. God has appointed the time, and He doesn’t need your permission to bring about the end of all things. God is God, and we’re not. Yes, God is even God of this earth!


In conclusion, Bobby Davis’s description of God is not comforting. I find it far more comforting that my mother suffers with Parkinson’s disease for God’s glory instead of due to Satan’s temporary sovereignty. If mom is suffering due to Satan alone, then there is no ultimate God-glorifying purpose for her suffering. Bobby’s theology is not only unbiblical, but it leaves suffering Christians with no hope or purpose for their suffering. Furthermore, Bobby cannot affirm his theology while simultaneously affirming Romans 8:28, “28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God is working out my mother’s suffering for good. There’s joy in the Lord in the midst of suffering. Bobby’s theology, however, leaves no room for joy in the Lord in the midst of suffering. In other words, I believe Bobby’s false theology will make more Atheists than the truth that God is sovereign over all things. God’s purpose for suffering, although sometimes hidden, is for our good and His glory!

What are your thoughts?

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.


  1. says

    Jared, I wanted to thank you again for this warning. I always cringe when Satan is given too much authority and power in our doctrine. But this goes beyond ridiculous. Too much emphasis on the Genesis account without acknowledging Christ as the new, regining and ruling “Adam”.

    You’ve done a great job correcting many of his exegetical problems. I’d add that his exposition of 2 Corinthians 4:4 is fundamentally flawed. “World” does not simply equate to “earth”.

    In the end this is very sad. I hope he is rebuked kindly and with grace. But this must be corrected. God bless you for your faithfulness.

  2. Kevin says

    Though I have not watched the video, this sounds like the stuff Kenneth Hagin/Ken Copeland have been teaching over the years….

  3. Jess Alford says


    If God is in complete control, then why are Trads. arguing with Calvinists?
    God is not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentence. If God is not willing that any should perish, this means nobody will be lost. If God would like to see everyone saved and many will not accept Christ as Saviour, this means man plays a major roll for himself being saved. If God is in complete control this means the Calvinist
    are completely right about God doing the calling and saving.

    When I’m out in the field with my sheep I like to chew tobacco, Are you saying it’s God’s will for me to chew tobacco.

    Bobby has only preached what I have always believed. God set every thing in motion and we are keepers of what he has set in motion.

    It’s like the tornado that Bobby spoke about, Is it God’s will we don’t build our homes strong enough to withstand a tornado? I think not.

    We should stop giving folks false hope, it hurts worse when something bad happens. Look, God is wonderful and I owe all to him, without him I would still be lost. Bobby makes perfectly good sense. I do believe God is able to keep what I have entrusted in him, and nothing shall separate us from the love of God.

    • says


      This is not a sovereignty issue. This is an authority issue. This isn’t a discussion over the freewill of individuals. This is about God’s principled authority over His creation and Christ reigning in that authority. Bobby clearly places all current power in Satan’s hands. Jared did a magnificent job of describing this is the second point of his post.

      It doesn’t seem as if you read Jared’s post with the intent to refute, interact or even comment with the Biblical principles. I hope we can understand what Scriptures teaches and cease with extensive eisegesis.

    • Chase says

      These questions you raise are not new, and the church has given very nuanced answers to your queries. This is why it pays off to be in a confessional church that has roots in the historic catholic and protestant faith.

      Peter Lombard noted that Scripture often will use words like “will” in equivocal ways, particularly noting passages referring to divine willing that appear contradictory. How does one handle this? Either there is a contradiction, or one should make a distinction.

      Orthodox theologians have done this with respect to the divine will. Medieval, Roman Catholic and Protestant scholastic theologians distinguished the will of decree/good pleasure (voluntas beneplaciti/decreti) and the will of sign/precept (voluntas signi/praecepti). The former is God’s will with respect to what he wills to effect or effectively permit to occur in the world. The distinction between effect and effectively permit plays an important role in the orthodox protestant understanding of God’s providential concurrence with morally sinful acts. The latter sense of will, the voluntas signi or voluntas praecepti, is God’s will with respect to the duties that he commands his creatures, that is, what creature’s ought to do. Under this would fall the moral law and also the gospel call to repent and believe. The importance of this distinction is that it is not a contradiction to say that God’s preceptive will is that all persons should protect the life of their neighbor and also say that God’s decretal will is that some persons be willed (by an effective permission) to violate this moral duty. God often decrees that free creatures will not fulfill the moral duties that He has revealed they should fulfill. That is, there is a difference between saying what God wills a person should do and what God wills that a person will do. So with respect to the gospel proclamation, it is not contradictory to affirm that God’s wills preceptively that all should repent and believe the gospel while also affirming that God decretally wills to effect the obedience to this duty only in some persons.

      And on the human responsibilty issue, orthodox theologians have affirmed that God’s providential preservation, concurrence, and governence is mediated through second causes, some necessary and others contingent and free.

  4. says

    Jess, did you listen to the sermon and read the entire article? Just making sure. I’m shocked a Southern Baptist would agree with what Bobby has argued.

  5. Jess Alford says


    My hope is not in what God does for me while I’m here on earth, my hope is in Christ, what he done for me while he was here on earth.
    This is where my joy comes from, all in Christ. When I’m sick and feel as though I would be better off dead. I can still take great joy in Christ, knowing that one day, no more suffering and pain.

    Again we shouldn’t give anyone false hope, this life is no bed of roses.

      • Jess Alford says


        I hope I’m not giving the wrong impression, and I certainly don’t mean to be arguing your point. All I’m saying is if we are traveling down the highway that man has built, in a 2 ton hunk of metal that man has built, traveling 70 miles per hour with an engine that man has built, on 4 rubber tires that man has built, trying to stop to keep from going over a cliff with brakes that man has built, and end up going over a cliff while on my way to preach a revival. You are saying I wasn’t suppose to preach that revival to begin with.

        Jared, you are saying that God is in everything, or controls everything,
        All I’m saying how can he be?

        • says

          Jess, I’m saying, “God is in control of all things.” I’m Not saying, “God is in everything.” I don’t even know what that last statement means?

          • Christiane says

            This is some of what is revealed in sacred Scripture about the Eternal Word and His generative force:

            “The Son is the Radiance of God’s glory and the exact Representation of His Being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word.
            (Hebrews 1:3 )

            “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
            (Colossians 1:17)

            and from the Gospel of St. Matthew, this:
            25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
            26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
            27 So the men marveled, saying,
            “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

            and this beautiful revelation from the Gospel of St. Mark 5:40-41
            “He took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with Him, and went in where the child was.
            He took her by the hand . . . ””

        • says


          Let me turn that last line around – if God had wanted you at that revival, would anything have been able to stop you from getting there?

          • Jess Alford says

            Chris Roberts,

            You are correct. What I said above is deistic, Sorry about that.
            I just don’t believe God causes everything, was the point I was trying to get across. After going back and listening to that preacher, I do disagree.

      • Jess Alford says


        As far as false hope, I’m not saying you are personally responsible.
        I’m the one who may be at fault. I know I keep bringing this up,
        but I lost my oldest daughter in a plane crash on her way back from helping someone. I lost my youngest daughter in a car crash just after she and her boyfriend attended the Sunday morning worship service at the church I was pastoring.

        You see Jared, I had hope that everything was going to be just fine.
        After all, I was following God with all my heart, and baptized 40 people
        in a six month period, and had to leave the church because of emotional distress because of what happened. I learned then to never give folks false hope because something bad can happen any time, no matter who you are and what you are doing. I didn’t see any need to blame God, it wasn’t his fault.

        • Randall Cofield says


          Your losses cause my heart to hurt for you, brother.

          Job suffered similar losses. This was his response:

          Job 1:21 ….“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

    • says


      Please forgive me if it feel like I am piling upon or against you. I don’t mean for these to come off in an aggressive nature but certain statements require responsible questions.

      With reference to “My hope is not in what God does for me while I’m here on earth”, Christ’s authority is here on earth (Matt 28:18). If our commandment is based upon Christ’s authority on earth and His promise is to be with us while on earth, it is impossible to make such a distinction as you made. If it was possible, how could we make disciples on earth apart from the hope that God would be faithful through the Great Commission?

      Likewise then, why would we pray for God’s kingdom to COME and will be DONE on earth (Matt 6:10)?

  6. Jess Alford says


    Brother, I don’t see what I have said as deism. God does intervene when he so chooses, not at mans command. I don’t agree with every little detail that Bobby has said but I believe the overall picture is correct.

    Explain how an aborted baby is for God’s glory.

    • says

      Jess brother, your earlier comments are deistic comments. And are you asking if God can be glorified in the murder of a human? Surely, though it is somewhat mysterious to us. Jesus was murdered, was He not? Was Jesus’ murder on the cross to God’s glory?

    • says


      I’m pretty sure you are not a deist, but the statement “God set every thing in motion and we are keepers of what he has set in motion” is certainly deistic – the idea that God has done his thing then stepped back. I am glad to hear you say “God does intervene when he so chooses” but even this does not go far enough. God is constantly actively sustaining his creation. He is creator *and* sustainer. In *him* we live and move and have our being. He is working out all things for the good of his children – working things out, actively at work and part of the unfolding of his creation – not watching things unfold under our tutelage. God is in control and he exercises that control every day and in every situation.

      • cb scott says

        “God is in control and he exercises that control every day and in every situation.”

        I do not always understand this. However, I know it is true. God is in control.

        A few days ago a tree fell on two freshmen baseball players as they were leaving campus for home and killed them both. They were both 18 years old.

        Several students asked me afterwards, “Dr. Scott, did God know this would happen?”

        I answered, “Yes. There is nothing that God does not know.”

        Students asked, “Why did this happen?”

        I answered, “I do not know, but I do know God is in control.”

        Then we talked about God. We talked about His Son. We talked about the Gospel. I have learned that it is good to talk about Jesus when you have no idea why things happen. I have learned that it is good to talk about Jesus even when you do have an idea why things happen. Maybe that is because we really don’t know all the reasons things happen.

        I have learned during this journey that I will not know the ‘why’ of many things. Therefore, there are times I struggle and I have questions. Many of my questions are due to my personal journey with Christ, family, and ministry. However, I have learned; God is in control. In the vernacular of the common man that I am; Nothing sneaks up on God. Nothing.

        • Dale Pugh says

          CB–wow. What a tragedy, and what a powerful response. Glad you’re there to minister to those young people.

          • cb scott says

            Thanks, Duckman Dale.

            I ask of you to pray for these kids. Many of them are kinda shaky right now. it is hard to realize you are not invincible.

          • Dale Pugh says

            Done. And I will continue to do so. Can’t even imagine what the parents a struggling with right now. My heart aches for people in these kinds of times. God is the God of all comfort. And your are strategically placed to be a comforting servant right now.

  7. says

    Jess, the subject is not, “Does everything that happens, happen for God’s glory?” The question is, “Is God in control of all things?”

    Bobby says, “That’s a myth. God is not in control of all things.” What do you say?

      • says

        Can we agree the righteous judgment of sin will eventually bring God glory? And that it is this theme that Paul is discussing in Romans 3:5-8.

      • says

        I would hesitate to say that sin glorifies God, as though sin itself were glorifying God, but I think we can biblically say sin ultimately serves God’s glory or is used by God for his glory.

      • Randall Cofield says

        Could we say sin is the dark backdrop against which the effulgence of the glory of God may be seen in sharpest contrast…and thus sin serves the glory of God?

        • says

          Joshua, Chris, and Randall, sin is allowed for the purpose of God’s glory. Sin itself does not glorify God. I cannot “commit adultery for God’s glory,” but God’s judgment upon my adultery does bring Him glory. His judgment reveals His holiness and justice.

  8. Euphranor says

    Pastor: God cannot just come in and do whatever he wants to do on planet earth. (At about 41 minutes)

    Scripture: “Our God is in the heavens. He does whatever He pleases.” Psalm 115:3 (see also Daniel:35, and many other passages)

    This basic misunderstanding is the floodgate of his heresy. Yes, I said heresy. You do not have God without omnipotence, and you cannot have an omnipotent being in case that Being is limited by things that do not involve a contradiction or somehow defy logic. So, this pastor has actually overstepped the bounds of orthodoxy [see the Apostles Creed, for instance: “Almighty (omnipotent) maker of heaven and earth”].

    Pastor Davis, you’ve wandered into heresy. Confess your sin publicly and come back to the truth and be forgiven. think seriously about Matthew 18:6.

    • Matt Svoboda says

      “Pastor: God cannot just come in and do whatever he wants to do on planet earth. (At about 41 minutes)

      Scripture: “Our God is in the heavens. He does whatever He pleases.” Psalm 115:3 (see also Daniel:35, and many other passages)”

      Great catch… If I was in this church I would be trying to get a 1:1 meeting to ask him to renounce some of his statements, repent to his congregation the next Sunday, or I would be forced to seek his firing.

      • Frank L. says

        “”I would be forced to seek his firing”””

        That definitely is the “Baptist Way.”

  9. Bruce427 says

    I would hate to be an undiscipled person in this church.

    If God is not in control of all things, then I have no reason to believe He can sustain my salvation.

  10. says

    Euphranor, to be fair, Davis says in this sermon that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present, He’s just not in control of all things on this earth. He’s in control of everything else outside of this earth though; and one day, He’ll be in control of all things on this earth again.

    I don’t think we can charge him with denying God’s omnipotence.

  11. Euphranor says


    You’re right. He certainly does believe that he believes in an omnipotent God. I’m just not sure how a God who “cannot do what he wants” is omnipotent. A God who was in control of all things, and will one day be in control of all things, is a temporarily non-omnipotent God since there are (presumably) all kinds of things which God cannot do, but wants to do.

    • says

      Euphranor, Davis is arguing that God has freely limited His control of this world, not that God is not all-powerful. It’s a self-imposed limitation because “God is all-legal”? It’s strange to me.

      • says

        Honestly it strongly worries me. This isn’t far from decisional open theism. In a similar fashion, people struggling with why God “allows evil” have accepted that while He can know all things, He chooses to make Himself like man in respect to His knowledge.

        Both of these ideas are strange because they’re unorthodox.

  12. says

    Yes, God is in control of all things.
    He is all powerful and can stop anyone from doing anything.
    He can perform a miracle whenever He chooses.

    But does God directly cause everything?
    Is God the direct cause of crime, disease, each death?
    Or does God “allow” some things to happen?
    Does God ever get blamed for something He had nothing to do with?
    Is there a difference between God’s perfect will and His permissive will?
    Can a person resist the will of God?

    O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! -Jesus; Matthew 23:37

    Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. -Matthew 13:58

    Just some alternate things to consider.
    David R. Brumbelow

    • says


      These are good questions. And they are answered questions. Its just that we often don’t like the answers of believe the sincerity of the answer.

      For example, “But does God directly cause everything?
      Is God the direct cause of crime, disease, each death?”. The Westminster Confessions of Faith clearly says no to both of these things. But most non-Calvinists think that is Calvinists are unable to say this with a straight face.

      Its not as much the questions we must consider as believers. But the Biblical basis for the answers we provide. But these are very good things to think about.

    • Debbie Kaufman says

      He’s certainly not surprised when anything happens and uses all things, even evil for good.

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        As for God getting blamed for things he didn’t do. He does allow them. He does not cause them. I think God can handle getting blamed for things “he didn’t do.” I don’t think it rattles God at all. At least the person believes there is a God. :)

    • Randall Cofield says

      David R. Brumbelow,

      But does God directly cause everything?
      Is God the direct cause of crime, disease, each death?
      Or does God “allow” some things to happen?
      Does God ever get blamed for something He had nothing to do with?

      Nothing to do with?

      Let be play Beelzebub’s Advocate in the Socratic Tradition…

      Did God create Lucifer?
      Did God create every aspect of Lucifer’s being?
      Did God create Lucifer with the ability to sin?
      Did God have nothing to do with Lucifer’s sin?

      Did God create Adam?
      Did God create every aspect of Adam’s being?
      Did God create Adam with the ability to sin?
      Did God have nothing to do with Adam’s sin?

      Perhaps I should drink a hemlock cocktail….

  13. Euphranor says


    Good points. It seems both reasonable and biblical to say something like this: God is in control of all things, meaning that he is aware of all things and sovereign over all things but not that he directly causes all things. I take that to be a basic and broadly Christian understanding of sovereignty. But it would exclude that “God cannot just come in and do whatever he wants to do on planet earth.”

  14. Christiane says

    in my Church, it is said that God ‘permits’ some things to happen, which is a way of saying that there are certain things that happen that He does not cause.
    And when we encounter these painful results of ‘The Fall’, among which are suffering and grief, we are not left to suffer alone.

    “” Jesus did not come to explain away suffering or to remove it.
    He came to fill it with His Presence.”

  15. Bruce H. says

    You would think that Jesus would have had a perfect linage, too.

    In Jesus’ day, if they thought of God as knowing when a sparrow falls and keeping an account of our hairs, you would think that today we could expand on that since we have discovered so much more. Even atoms have electrons that are moved by God. He “controls” through other attributes that make Him who He is. His love controls, His mercy controls, His anger controls, His wisdom controls, His grace controls, and so forth. We must give more credit to the God of no limitations, the great I AM. He is in control!

  16. says

    Jared, I agree.

    The power of sin over our ability to understand God’s sovereignty over a fallen world is that it creates a paradox. Remove sin and all the theological tension that trips us up theologically dissipates. The very fact that God is still fully sovereign over a fallen world that we are responsible for doesn’t seem possible. But all things are possible with God, particularly the fact that God has ordained that his Son should pay the price for our sin. But a paradox is only apparently contradictory and so only because sin has complicated for us what should be simple enough to understand – in part because we are sinful and distort our own thinking because we desire to justify ourselves, but also because sin is normative for the world and a sinful world is all we have experienced.

    So point to any sin and ask, “How could God allow that?” And where do we find a lack of sin so that this question cannot be asked? If we acknowledge God’s sovereignty and recognize sin in this world, we have to seek an answer to the question.

    On the other hand, if the question remains, then how can we have faith in a God who allows sin? That’s the real question. It’s only by faith that the question becomes moot. God is sovereign and we know this. God must allow sin or condemn us all. God is loving and therefore must accomplish what to us seems impossible. All thanks and praise be to God for he has done it! Therefore, if we focus on what has been overcome we demonstrate weakness of faith.

  17. Brian H. says

    Jared- I’ve been attending Life Church for almost a year now and it is by far the most exciting, evangelical church I’ve been a part of in the past decade. I served 15 years in the ministry and have my bachelor’s and masters in ministry/ theology. My undergrad is from an SBC college and I’ve served in SBC churches.

    I’m sure you had sermon classes where you were videotaped and were critiqued by your peers and professor. I remember those classes and it was horrifying watching myself and hearing some of the things that I said- and that was with a prepared manuscript! One of the key rules was to give the benefit of the doubt that your peers weren’t heretics. I love critiquing others messages and if you have audio of your messages over the past year I could critique yours and see where you could grow and improve.

    I started attending Life Church because of their teaching and mission. I can assure you that while Bobby is not perfect that he is a humble leader that loves the community and the Church. I have heard dozens of his sermons and the sermons of his associates. There isn’t a teacher alive that I would agree with 100% and i’ve been to all the big conferences and attended many in the SBC.

    I know some people think it’s exciting to debate theology and to dissect people’s messages but where you think you are being helpful it could be harmful. God is blessing Life Church and is moving in amazing ways. I’ve written blogs in the past that with a little time I’ve gone back and deleted. I think this is one you might consider deleting and giving a brother and fellow pastor the benefit of the doubt.

    • Melissa says

      Brian H.,
      Thank you so much for standing up for, not only Pastor Bobby, but also for the basic foundation of the Christian walk. I honestly was shocked when I came across this site. It seems to be for the sole purpose of tearing others down. I am not as educated as some of you, however, I do know that we were commanded to Love our neighbors as ourselves. Judge not, lest you be judge. The best scripture I can think of is: Proverbs 11:9-14
      With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
      but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
      When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
      and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
      By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
      but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.
      Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
      but a man of understanding remains silent.
      Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
      but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
      Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
      but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

    • says

      Brian, thanks for stopping by.

      If Bobby can stand up and preach these errors publicly, I can respond publicly (Just as you can come here and tell me I shouldn’t debate theology). In the final step of the Great Commission, Christ told us to teach new believers all that He commanded (Matt. 28:18-20). Furthermore, most of Paul’s letters were written to churches to correct their errant theology. Moreover, consider the numerous times Christ rebuked errant theology. The list can go on and on.

      What’s telling is that not one of Bobby’s supporters has chosen to interact with what Bobby actually said in his sermon. Bobby is Scripturally wrong here. His errors are serious, should be discussed with him; he should repent publicly.

  18. Jess Alford says


    Can you use the same scriptures that Bobby used and get something different out of them.

    • says

      Jess, Yes. Look at my original article. Bobby makes numerous claims that just aren’t in the Scriptures. Furthermore, all Scripture must be considered, not just a few verses here and there.

  19. Joe Blackmon says


    Is Life Church a Rick Warren/Perry Noble-ish kind of “church”, as far as you know? I ask because the Bobby apologists that have shown up talk about how exciting the church is and the need to refrain from criticizing their pastor, which seems to be a hallmark of that type of “church”.