And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. (Acts 17:26)
It is only now that I truly realize the blessed conditions my brothers and I grew up in. I would not have understood or affirmed that reality at the time, as would be the case for most adolescents. That is criticism or rebuke of my youth; it is only an acknowledgment that comes from fruits of immaturity. The design of life expectancy as we grow older, we become wiser and take on a more profound sense of maturity and gravitas.
Evangelicals have come to understand a theological concept in which one could term the Giveness of God. So much of my eventual formation as a male are due to factors out of my control. They were not determined or influenced by me. I was the passive recipient of these factors: my parentage, my origin of birth, the epoch of my entry into time and space. Biological factors like my eventual height and even the relative nature of my weight are due to factors in which I had no input or control.
I was born in America and not France due exclusively to the sovereign election of Almighty God. I, nor my parents, were not the ultimate decision-makers. I was not born to wealthy parents. There is a profound difference in my life’s disposition in contrast to the children born to Barak Obama or Michael Jordan.
That reality is neither fair nor unfair; that is not the argument I seek to advance. The thesis I aim to promote is Evangelicals have come to understand and subsequently cherish and safeguard as essential dogma is the Giveness of God.
Understanding the Givenness of God anchors the Evangelical’s understanding that everything is working together for our good for those of us who love God and are called according to His purpose. Evangelicals come to understand God is actively at work with only two principal goals in mind
- He is doing what brings Him the maximum amount of glory
- He is conforming the elect to the image of His dear Son
Evangelicals understand and as they grow in Grace and Mercy begin to delight in the reality that everything that takes place in their life is part of God’s orchestra to transform them into more and more Christlikeness.
These events are rarely, if ever, what the individual Evangelical would have chosen if allowed to write their own life prescription. William Ernest Henley made one of the most bombastic declarations ever created by humankind.
Henley penned the poem Invictus
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
I draw the reader’s acute attention to the last two lines of the poem. When filtered through a proper Evangelical lens, the reflexive observer institutively knows all is not well in Denmark. The Evangelical humbles themselves under the sheer volume of the Biblical weight. Although Bill Cosby made the joke, “I brought you into the world, and I will take you out,” iconic we know nothing could be further from the truth under closer scrutiny.
We understand that even with the question of parenthood, all of our ability is never intrinsic. Unless God takes the initiative and grants life, no man will ever spur life into human existence. Although it might appear on the surface that fatherhood (Cosby’s father analogy) can “choose” to exterminate the life of the fictional son, that is not even true.
I labored with all of that background conversation to hopefully establish the framework for my central argument. Most, if not almost all of life, is the result of the Giveness of God. As humans, we have no input whatsoever in our natural birth. Nor do we have any input in our spiritual birth. Evangelicals rightly understand we are born again (John 3). Born again comes from the Greek word anothen, which can mean again or anew. But its principle meaning is from above – from the root ano meaning upward or above. So Jesus actually used a word with a double meaning. When He said, “You must be born again” He was really saying, “You must be born from above.”
Our natural birth, as well as the Evangelical’s birth, are always extrinsic. They are solely from the free sovereign act of God. They never find their source in any direct and independent human action. God and God alone determines the entrance of Ricky Verndale Kyles into time and space. God and God alone determines that Ricky would be born to James Earl and Ethel Lynn Kyles. God and God alone determines that Ricky would be born as the eldest of four sons and that one daughter would die at birth. I could go on and on, but hopefully, you begin to understand the force of my argument. Much of my reality as a human being is beyond my reach to influence. Thus, I come to understand this is my lot in life. I can wish things were substantively different. I could wish I was born in affluent, but that was not to be the case. I might wish I was taller or faster or have a different coloring set for my eyes.
God’s Creative Decrees are immutable with no force in this world or forces beyond this world who possess the requisite ability, legal, moral or otherwise, to deny God’s plan, at least not with impunity. Yet, during the first Presidential debate, we were privy to a worldview in direct contradiction to the Biblical doctrine of Giveness.
What makes this worldview so perplexing is the ludicrous charge an eight-year-old is in the intellectual position to rear their opposition to the very Creator of Heaven & Earth. Yet, this moral insanity does not even register a blip on the radar for so many professing Evangelicals.
Whereas I almost fell out of my seat in moral disbelief, many of my AA Evangelicals brethren find no disjunction in the slightest. As one example, one AA Evangelical male took to Social Media to register his approval for Dwayne Wade’s effusive love for his son’s decision to declare as a female.
It must be without dispute the response in Heaven will regrettable lament, if not outright moral indignation. Yet, how does my fellow AA Evangelical colleague respond? Blatant and outright approval. How does the average Evangelical, especially those from those supporting the Democratic Party ideology, respond? Unfettered support. They may feebly attempt to postulate disagreement with individual planks of the Democratic Platform. But, I find tenets such as gender to rise to the level of non-negotiable principles that are deal-breaker.
Our gender, much like our ethnicity, is the direct result of God’s Giveness. I can no more change my gender than I can change my ethnicity. Try as one might, nothing will ever change the biological reality of Bruce Jenner. There can be modifications in certain aspects, like breast augmentation and estrogen injections, but nothing can alter the chromosomal composition.
I have learned to understand regret is a mental disposition that is alien to a proper Biblical worldview. I was born to the exact correct parent, at the exact correct time, in the exact correct place. I would not change anything about my past, even if there were opportunities to go back in time. Yes, some of my experiences have been painful and not pleasant, but they were given to me because God can view the full scale and scope of all realities. God knows everything as a constant NOW. He triumphantly declares the end from the very beginning (Isaiah 46:10).
I am proud I am an AA, not because I believe AA to be superior, as it is not. Yet, it is how God decreed I would be born into time and space. I am proud to be an American, not because America is morally superior to any other nation. I am proud to be reared in the City of Chicago, not because Chicago is the best place for an AA male to be reared, but it is the place on the globe that God sovereignly knew would allow me to come to know Christ as my Lord & Savior.
I am proud to be a male, not because femininity is a second-class reality. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created (Genesis 5:2). It is not the case that being a male is materially superior to the female. God gives us both as part of His plan for human flourishing.
It is cosmic treason for creation to rebel against God’s Creative Decree. What is next, humans throwing off the shackles of ethnicity? Well, you might be surprised because this is what the logic consequences when a society attempts to live in open rebellion to their Creator.
I will provide the link to just such a case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Dolezal.
This is what we see when a society imbibes from a worldview that naively believes they are the master of their fate and the captains of their souls. I was one such soul once before; thank God such is not my lot in life today.
This, among many other reasons, is why I can not, and I say, must not align myself with the Democratic Party. It will not be out for publication, as I had hoped, in time before the 2020 National Elections, but I have just published my first book. My book advances the thesis that no Evangelical, committed to living with fidelity to a Biblical worldview, can align themselves with the Democratic Party, as presently constituted.
I would love to hear your feedback on my thesis regarding God’s Givenness, especially as it relates to our gender. I would submit it is part and parcel of God’s good order that I was born male and that my maleness is an immutable part of God’s plan for my human flourishing and creating the maximum glory to Himself.
Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.