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The Sovereignty of God is the Rob Wilkerson

Lead Pastor

Cornerstone of the Charismatic Church in the Boro

All pastors, laypersons, and Christians who are familiar with Reformed theology to any degree
know that its heart and soul is found in the sovereignty of God. One of the most able
definitions of it comes from the pen of Arthur Wellington Pink (commonly known as A.W.) in his
first work The Sovereignty of God (Banner of Truth Trust), which underwent multiple revisions
in his lifetime, and multiple printings posthumously.

“The sovereignty of God! What do we mean by this expression? We mean the

supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is
Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare
that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and
among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto
Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that

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He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none
can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say
that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is "The Governor among the nations"
(Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the
course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to
declare that He is the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1
Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible.”

It is this theology that became the drawbridge, lowering over the moat of my cessationism to
bring me to continuationism, and for one reason largely. The sovereign God of the Scriptures is
the same sovereign God of today. And I can no more believe that He limits His sovereignty
today, than He did in the days of the Bible, though my cessationist brothers continue to make
such a claim. It is apparent from beginning to end in Scriptures that a display of God’s
sovereignty, which lay chiefly behind the signs and wonders and miracles (all “charismatic”
manifestations), was His means of authenticating the message of redemption in the OT and the
gospel in the NT. In both testaments there is one way to get right with God, and that is through
justification by faith alone. And in both testaments there were two ways to bear witness to the
authenticity of that message, and that was through providence and miracle. God’s sovereignty
overarches both manifestations. How difficult it is to believe then that with the same message
as that preached in the OT and NT, and the same sovereign God behind that message, there are
not the same methods of authentication even working today both in the world and in the local

Certainly a healthy doctrine of progressive revelation requires that at punctuated times in

history God manifests His sovereignty in the charismatic at more times than others, especially
when the message of the gospel is pioneering new territory (Acts 2, 10, 18, etc.). However, a
healthy doctrine of God’s sovereignty also requires that such punctuated times not be limited
only to those in the Bible. In addition, those events or manifestations that have happened since
Scriptural history as well as those that will continue to happen must not be artificially contained
in some limiting doctrine of God’s sovereignty which says that although He can do whatever He
wants today (Psa. 115:3), He doesn’t choose to work that same way today.

This is why I believe cessationism still has God “in a box.” Human beings may try as hard as
they ought to rectify abuses in theology and experience through solid biblical exegesis,
exposition, and theologizing. But these efforts must be made subservient to God’s sovereignty,
realizing that He is still the King of the Universe. God is not in a box today, nor will He limit
Himself in some way. He is still out to reconcile the world to Himself through the gospel
message of His Son, and He will continue to do what He has always done – through providence

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and miracle – to authenticate that message, bring sinners to Himself, widen His universal
church, and expand His kingly reach around the globe until every knee bows to Him and every
tongue confesses the Lordship of Jesus Christ. At no points then, in this sovereign endeavor
which began before the world began (and even before the charismatic began) should there be
or can there be any separation of these points by disconnecting them from the miraculous and
charismatic manifestations which have always linked them together throughout history. And
toward a particular application already mentioned, abuses of the miraculous and charismatic
can never be allowed to serve as a cornerstone argument against these things in such a way
that God’s sovereignty is somehow voluntarily limited. The gospel today is still the same power
of God as it was in Romans 1:16, operating in full force with the manifestations of that power
being orchestrated by God in His sovereign and kingly providence as He freely desires. Let us
hold fast to and preached toward a greater consistency of our doctrine of God’s sovereignty in
our personal lives, our homes, our local churches, our neighborhoods, and our places of
vocation. This is a freeing doctrine not only for our cessationist brothers who inwardly long for
an all-consuming manifestation of God’s sovereign power, but also for ourselves as a gospel-
driven solution for the weakness we encounter in our own hearts and homes every day of the
week. God is sovereign in all and through all. May He open our eyes to see it, embrace it, and
savor it!

This article originally appeared in the Association of Charismatic Reformed Churches Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 1, 1st Quarter 2008

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