Anyways the theme for the next few weeks is Joseph which is very cool. He's a great character to pick. However, as the church I go to is a reformed baptist church I fear that when we get to the end of the story that it'll be taught that God orchestrated everything that happened to Joseph for his own glory. For the story of Joseph when one is disassociated from it; it can make sense and sound great. The problem is, what if a teenager is there who is feeling suicidal, or a teenager is there who is being horribly bullied at school, or being abused at home are they to think that this is something sent from God to build their character? Are they to think that God is to be completely trusted, despite the fact that he leads them in to situations where they will be abused so he can get glory from it somehow?
The two verses that are usually used in the story of Joseph to bring this way of thinking about is Genesis 45:4-5
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.
And Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
These two verses don't say that God decided to use his brothers evil intentions from the beginning of time; never mind creating his brothers evil intentions from the beginning of time or before the time that his brothers developed their own moral character. The verses do suggest that at some point God saw the opportunity to incorporate into his plan for his people to use the evil intentions of Josephs brothers. If Josephs brothers had chosen a different moral outlook God would have used a different way to bring them into Egypt; however God in his infinite wisdom chose to use the brothers freely chosen moral traits to fulfill his plan.
Scripture never says that God makes people evil, however it does say that he can use evil people to carry out his plans. His can use their dreadful intentions for good. God using evil for his own purpose is one thing, but to say that God ordains and predestines evil to occur to fulfill his sovereign plan creates huge moral dilemmas. God does NOT need to create evil to bring about good.
I may be surprised in what is taught over the next few Saturday nights; BUT even if I have problems with what may be taught, I respect the guys teaching it, I'm not there to rebel or cause trouble and I'm still privileged to have the chance to impact these guys lives.