Taking Every Thought Captive
Notes from a not so notable pastor
Ronnie W. Rogers A Pastor for More Than 40 Years
Thank you for visiting! The genesis and heart of this website are to help people think biblically about God, His person, will, ways, and works so we can faithfully follow Him in this world and be with Him in His new world one day!
I am a follower of Christ who believes the entirety of Scripture to be God's inerrant and sufficient Word. Therefore, my only questions about Scripture are what it means and how it applies to all areas and questions of life.
I have been a studying Christian and pastor for over forty years, and although I seem to know so little in light of what there is to know, God has been faithfully teaching me. I write articles and books, and when I preach, I pray that some of what He taught me will also help you.
After many conversations regarding questions I was answering that people were asking me, I began blogging in 2006 to share those answers more easily with others who may have similar questions. There are now hundreds of articles and essays on various subjects such as prayer, the threats of Marxism and CRT, social justice vs. God's impartial justice, Extensivism as an alternative to Calvinism, the Southern Baptist Convention, the First Amendment, being pro-life, homosexuality, non-binary gender claims, Darwinism, politics, immigration, biblical giving, patriotism, and spiritual disciplines. I pray you can find information that will help you follow God more faithfully.
Please know I do not even entertain the thought that I know all the answers regarding the subjects I address. Instead, I pray these articles will contribute to your understanding of God's person, will, and ways. And that understanding will cause you to love Him more, for He is worthy!
Whatever sacrifices we make to understand God better so we can follow Him more closely will be worth it. And without understanding His person, will, ways, and works, we will mistakenly replace His will with our will and feelings, which is the tragedy of a well-intentioned but misinformed life.
"But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:2).
Ronnie W Rogers
If Only You Would Ask: Praying God’s Conditional Promises
Although prayer is central to the Christian life, and God promises that some things will turn out differently if we pray than if we do not, prayer does contain some confusing elements. I seek to help us overcome some of the more confusing elements that discourage us from praying as we should. The confusion arises from a deep sense of not understanding how prayer really can change me, other people, things, and events or outcomes in light of the biblical teachings like God’s sovereignty, praying “Your will be done,” predestination, and God’s eternal foreknowledge of every future event. So that we can pray in faith and confidence, I seek to answer questions that can seriously discourage passionate praying such as:
- If God is in sovereign control of everything, and if he is omniscient (foreknows the future), how can our prayers change things? How can we change tomorrow by praying if God already knows what is going to happen tomorrow? Would that not make God wrong, or at least in a position of having to learn from our prayers?
- If our prayers are meaningful in the sense that they change events, how can God be sovereign? If there are almost eight billion people on earth, and Christians are offering up hundreds of thousands of prayers to change things, how can God eternally know the future; how can he be sovereign over a future that is changed by the prayers of his people?
- If we are to pray for God’s will to be done (Matt 6:10), and if God’s will is set from eternity (Eph 1:11), then why should we think our prayers can change anything? If God’s will is perfect, can we change that, and if we did, would that make it a less perfect will?
- If God’s will is perfect, and it is, do we even want to change it?
- Since we must pray, Your will be done, and his will is most assuredly going to be done, what is the point of making our requests known to God? Should we not just pray Your will be done and be done with it?
In light of thoughts like these, it is understandable why we struggle to be passionate about making our requests known to God. When we just think about the biblical teaching that prayer changes things and events, we do ok. Conversely, when we think about God, who knows everything and is working everything according to His divine plan, we are ok. But when we think about how those two realities work together, confusion abounds.
This confusion can hinder our prayer life, which is closely followed by the partner to a weak prayer life, which is a cold and distant relationship with God. Focusing too much on the power of prayer to change things will diminish our respect and understanding of God’s sovereignty and will. Focusing too much on God’s divine, immutable will, and sovereignty will erode our belief in the essentialness of prayer, as far as being able to walk with God and see changes in outcomes from our prayers.
Not understanding how these two realities work together is a prayer killer, finally arriving at praying out of believing that whether I pray or do not pray, things will work out according to God’s sovereign will. Although we continue to pray out of obedience because we are told to pray (Matt 6:9-15), we do so hoping it will help in some way. As we say, you can always pray even if you cannot do anything else.
After reading this book, you will be assured of this. We can know that if we pray, some outcomes will be different than if we do not pray because God made many promises conditioned on whether we ask. These promises relate to a galaxy of concerns and needs that are important to God and us, such as faithfully serving God and experiencing his blessings in our life, health, marriage, children, family, and job. If we fail to pray about everything as the Scripture commands (Phil 4:6), we will enter heaven and learn there were many things God would have done in and through us if only we’d asked!
Sadly, Calvinism’s determinism has turned these wonderful promises into nothing more than a promise that God will do what he predetermined to do regardless of whether we pray or not. Do not allow Calvinism’s deterministic beliefs and distortions of Scripture to rob you of this blessed intimate prayer relationship with God.