How to Discover the Will of God
Author: George Sweeting
Publisher: Chicago: Moody Press, 1975. Pp. 120.
View: Synthesis of Traditional and Wisdom Views
The former president of Moody Bible Institute wrote a very popular book on God's will that sold more than 100,000 copies. Everything about it looks like the traditional view, except.
Sweeting uses the traditional view definitions, Scripture support and quotes the authors who follow the traditional view (Alan Redpath, Marion Nelson, J. Sidlow Baxter, S. Maxwell Coder, George Truett, George Mueller, G. Christian Weiss).
Sweeting uses the term God's will of an individual will or plan of God for an individual believer.
One of the most thrilling realities in all of life is the realization that God has a plan for your life. That's right! God has a plan, a design for every one of us. And when we discover that plan--then and only then, can we find true meaning and an eternal purpose for our existence (p. 14).
He calls this plan "God's blueprint" (p. 15). God is like a father, king, captain and has a plan for those he is leading (pp. 17-19). We must discover this plan because it comes from God who knows the future (20), knows what is best for you (23), who wants to bless you (27) and commands us to know and do His will (30).
It all looks traditional until Sweeting starts quoting A.W. Tozer.
Except for those things that are specifically commanded or forbidden in the Scriptures, it is god's will that we be free to exercise our own intelligent choice .... In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we're pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our Maker's praise without anxiety. God's choice for us may not be only one but rather any one of a score of possible choices. The man or woman who is wholly and joyously surrended to Christ can't make a wrong choice--any choice will be the right one (49).
Later Sweeting puts this view in his own words. He lists four things the Word prescribes for knowing God's will. First salvation, second surrender, third separation from the world and fourth, sincere motives (67-68). Then he says,
If you are right in these four areas, then do anything you want to do. You say, 'What?' I said, 'Do anything you want to do'; because, if you are right in these four areas, you will want god's glory only. Psalm 37:4 confirms this, 'Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.' (68).
Later he quotes George Mueller who finds God's will in every issue. "In trivial matters, and in transactions involving more important issues, I have found this method always effective (92)." When he quotes Anderson he is back to the idea of freedom and the liberty of the child of God for we are "mature believers with the divine wisdom and discernment to make the right decisions (107)." In these cases your will "will coincide with God's will (107)." Kenneth Pike is quoted to show that God's will is not "an exact pinpoint" but a decision within a range of options like the waves within the television tube (107).
Sweeting appears at first to be traditional view down to the jot and tittle, but he is not. He appears to hold a hybrid where you automatically find God's will when you are surrendered in heart to God. The believer must find God's will for large issues, but the rest are within the area of freedom.