Chapter 3 “The Sovereignty of God” pp. 35-55
This is a difficult chapter to respond to. Since Bridges is a Calvinist and I have never been one, it is not exactly easy to build a fair response. Calvinist theology, I have often observed, is largely dependent on the sovereignty of God as its ruling principle. This contrasts with a Lutheran view founded on God’s love shown in the incarnation of Christ. It is not clear how Bridges will bring his argument to fruition - I’ve read the book before but enough years ago that I don’t remember details.
Bridges builds a strong case for God’s sovereignty both in what He has revealed in Scripture and in what he does by decree, for instance, in guiding human interactions. God is entirely free to act according to his will, which Bridges says many times is for the good of his people. In times of peace, prosperity, and pleasure this is easy to accept. In times of trial it is more difficult. On p. 37 Bridges says, “If there is a single event in all of the universe that can occur outside of God’s sovereign control, then we cannot trust Him.” Bridges gives many examples of situations, pleasant and painful, where we can trust in God’s sovereignty. And he is is quite right. God is sovereign and trustworthy.
Will the use of sovereignty rather than incarnational love as a foundation cause problems? I know I would find Bridges’ job difficult faced with the same plan. But we’ll see how he does.