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Is God a Failure?
The Bible Reveals God is Not a Failure

by Curtis A. Pugh

First of all consider that God has revealed Himself as the "Almighty God" some 57 times in both the Old and New Testaments. Either "Almighty God" is indeed "all mighty" - i.e. all-powerful - or He is not. The Bible teaches that He is. Consider the following passages.

Daniel wrote, ". . . he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise and knowledge to them that know understanding." (Dan. 2:21).

King Nebuchadnezzar learned that God ". . . liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Dan. 4:34, 35).

Job said, "If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?" (Job. 11:10). He also said, "Behold he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening" (Job 12:14). Along the same line, in the New Testament Paul wrote, ". . . For who hath resisted his will?" (Rom. 9:19). 

By the prophet Isaiah God said, ". . . I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient time the things that are not yet done, saying my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isa. 46:9, 10).

Jesus taught that God is in control of all things when He said concerning sparrows, ". . . one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father" (Matt. 10:29). Note that Jesus did not say 'without your Father knowing about it', but simply, "without your Father." This clearly means that God is in control even of the details of natural life.

The New Testament preacher Peter, speaking of Christ, said, "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge [margin: "foreordination"] of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23). The apostles testified that God was in control even when wicked men crucified Jesus. They ". . . were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done" (Acts 4:28). 

James said, "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18).

Paul wrote concerning God, that he, ". . . worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11).

John heard people in Heaven saying, ". . . Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Rev. 19:6).

To these verses could be added many others which demonstrate that God does as He pleases and that no one is able to resist His power or hinder the progress of His plan.

Every honest person must admit that the Bible teaches that God is in control of all things as the foregoing Scriptures clearly indicate. If God is not in control of all things, He cannot be really in control at all. All miracles set before us the fact that God is able to do as He pleases and is not subject to what we call natural laws. The very concept of prophecy must mean that God is in control of all things else He would not be able to accurately foretell future events. If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches that God has a plan and the ability to carry out that plan! 

One would think that all professing Christians would glory in these great truths concerning God. Surely every professing Christian should rejoice that God is in control rather than Satan or mere man for that matter. Yet this is not the case. 


Without considering the consequences of such a system of belief, most professing Christians today have adopted a theology which makes God a failure! Historically, this system was first taught by Thomas Aquinas among the Catholics and is known as Thomism. Later, among some Protestants these ideas were popularized by James Arminius and others. Today they are known by the term Arminianism (not to be confused with Armenia). This free will system of doctrine is the tie that binds Catholicism and Protestantism together -- and in our day a host of nominal Baptists who also have fallen prey to it.

By carelessness in Bible study on the part of many -- and evident wresting of the Scriptures on the part of some -- many professing Christians now claim to worship a god who is a failure! Often these people slander the Bible by saying it contains two contradictory lines of teaching which cannot be reconciled. They may claim to believe in a sovereign God, but at the same time think mankind has a "free will" by which he can resist God and hinder His working. Thus, they take the Thomist/Arminian view and promote free-willism. (Nowhere does the Bible teach that man's will is free from his depraved nature!)

This free will system of doctrine sets forth a god who is a wimp. He loves everybody (in spite of clear Bible teaching that God has set His love only on His elect people). The god of this theological system is trying to save everybody, but cannot because they will not let him. Therefore this god is a failure!

Most often, adherents to this Catholic system of theology deny vehemently that they teach that their god is a failure. However, occasionally one of their preachers will say in words or substance, "God has done everything He can do to save you. The rest is up to you". Or perhaps their preaching takes the slant that you must "let God" do this or that in your life. If you do not "let God" He cannot accomplish His purpose in your life, according to the god-is-a-failure theory.

As further proof, we quote one prominent "Baptist" (BBF) preacher of some years ago as representative of this Thomist/Arminian view. He wrote, ". . . hell is a ghastly monument to the failure of the Triune God to save the multitudes who are there . . . sinners go to hell because God Almighty couldn't save them! He did all He could. He failed." [Noel Smith, "Universal Atonement," Defender Magazine, Springfield, MO., U.S.A., December, 1956].


Does it make any difference what people believe in this matter? We insist that it does make a difference what you believe and that your understanding of God is important! Consider these vital areas of doctrine and practice which are results of the evil notion that God is a failure.

1. God is dishonored.

"The Lord God Omnipotent", is reduced to a trying-but-failing deity. God said to ancient Israel, ". . . thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself . . ." (Psa. 50:21). This system of doctrine that makes God a failure makes God like man!

 Man, who can hinder God's plan by exercising his "free will", is elevated to near godhood. God, on the other hand, is lowered in men's opinion by this doctrinal scheme.

2. God's Word is contradicted.

Scriptures which teach the all-powerfulness of God are contradicted by those who promote the idea that God is a failure. The concept of God's sovereignty set forth in those verses quoted earlier in this tract, plus many others, are meaningless if God is trying to save everybody. If God wills and desires to save all and is trying God cannot be at the same time both a sovereign God and a failure! 

3. Christians are insecure.

If men can by their decision resist God and thwart His plan to save them, why can they not after being saved remove themselves from being a Christian? If an act of the human will is what causes one to be born again, then surely an act of the human will can cause such a person to be finally lost. Besides, if God cannot save all those He wants to save, what right do we have to think that He can keep those who have come to Him? If God is a failure at one thing, who is to say He is not a failure at another -- even at all He attempts?

4. Lost people are caused to have a low regard of God.

Instead of viewing God as the gracious, all-powerful supreme creator and sustainer of all things who is to be reverenced and worshipped, God is reduced to being a beggar. Rather than preaching the Word of God with authority and expecting the Holy Spirit to regenerate sinners as the Word goes forth, preachers beg, wheedle, and cajole people to try and get them to "get saved" (an unscriptural phrase). What thinking person, saved or lost, will respect a "god" who cannot do all that he wants to do? Who would worship a "god" that must beg and whine in an effort to gain the allegiance of His creatures?

5. The gospel and the new birth are perverted.

Those who cannot believe that God elected some to salvation before the foundation of the world will not believe that He also wrote their names in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; Rev. 17:18). Or else they claim that God "looked down through time" and saw that a certain individual would believe and on the basis of "foreseen faith" elected that one. This is totally contrary to the principle of election. Election has nothing to do with works, either actual or foreseen (Romans 9:11-16). In Romans 11:5, 6 we read that "the election of grace" cannot in any manner be mixed with works. "Works" (making a decision, exercising the human will, etc.), and "grace" (the new birth as a sovereign act of God) are opposite in nature and cannot be mixed without changing the basic nature of each one. Those who insist that God tries to save all men, but fails to save more than He saves, have changed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead of believing that a Christian is someone to whom and for whom God has done something, they teach that a Christian is someone who has done something. He or she has "decided" for Christ. 

Instead of being a glorious announcement of what Jesus Christ has accomplished on behalf of His people (Matt. 1:21), the gospel has been changed into a works message. Some tell the lost that they must be baptized in order to be born again. This is works for salvation. Others tell the lost that they must "make a decision for Jesus", or that they must "pray the sinner's prayer", or that they must "invite Jesus into their heart", or "walk the aisle", or whatever deed may be in vogue at the time. This, too, is salvation by works. (All the foregoing quotes which some preachers use are unscriptural ideas and phrases! Check it out in your Bible! No apostle or New Testament preacher ever "invited" people to "come forward and be saved"). Doing anything in order to be born again is salvation by works, whether it is "be baptized", "pray", "come forward", "make a decision", or "believe"!

The Bible teaches that the new birth is a matter of God's will, not man's will! John told us the reason some received the Lord when He was on the earth: they ". . . were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). God said, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy" (Rom. 9:15, 16).

The God-is-a-failure folks have missed the very picture Jesus used. Nicodemus needed to be "born again" (John 3:7). In the birth event it is the mother who goes into labor, not the baby! No doctor ever expected the baby to "do something" in order to be born! The baby is passive in birth. Popular preaching has it backwards. Today hearers are told to "do something" if they wish to be born again. Thus the gospel of the free grace of God is perverted into a religion of works. 

Search the Scriptures! Believe the Bible! God is sovereign in all things - even in the matter of the new birth! ". . . who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called . . ." (Rom. 9:20-24).

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