Chapter 2, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I, Too, Have Heard God Tell Me No’” pp. 11-22
After Guthrie’s daughter died at approximately six months of age, she had difficulty seeing what God could be doing. She read a number of books and was confronted with the idea of God being sad with her. How would the sovereign Lord be sad with her? After all, God could have kept the trouble from happening. The difficulty lies in our desires conflicting with God’s desire. “Jesus ran into this same wall when what he wanted came in conflict with what God wanted” (p. 12).
Guthrie begins an exposition of the NLT version of Hebrews 5:7-9, where we see Jesus crying out to the Father. She bases her understanding of the Gospels on her reading of Hebrews, which runs counter to the orthodox exegesis through the ages. As she does this, she asserts that the one Triune God has wills in conflict with on another. This is an impossible position.
Led by this precedent, Guthrie is left with a God of two wills. The Father wants the Son to suffer. The Son wants the Father to relent. “If anybody ever deserved to have his prayers answered in the affirmative it was Jesus . . . Yet God, through his silence, said no” (p. 17). Jesus dealt with it by trusting God’s purposes.
We likewise need “to overcome our own wants, to push through them to surrender” (p. 18). This is what we do, trusting that God is kind.
Guthrie, in this chapter, has both divided the will of God and has left faith as our work which we must do well enough to please God. This is not a historic Christian view. It lacks the comfort of the Gospel and binds us to a law, a very unkind law indeed. We are left with a God who has no consistent will, a Father who doesn’t get along with the Son, and our only hope as living up to Jesus’ model, which apparently was not successful.