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Do Leaders Have to Know All The Answers?

I had someone ask me if I leaned more Reformed or Arminian theologically.

I said yes…and I wasn’t trying to be clever. I have a feeling that the truth lies outside the scope of my little IQ points.

Which caused me to wonder: Do leaders have to know the answers to everything?

I happen to love books about biological and cosmological systems and complexities, at least to the degree I can understand them. I find them fascinating summertime reading. I even try to read plebian stuff on quantum theory by accessible pop writers like Ferris and Greene.

But the question got me thinking again about the problem of free will...if we assume God’s existence and that He has a purpose. Now it gets interesting. Just those four words in the same sentence make things very complicated: free will and God’s purposes. How can that work?

Even if you’re a hardcore predeterminist, it’s still incredibly complex. I suppose you could try arguing that predeterminism doesn’t necessarily rule out your ability to choose freely. If you lean that way, it makes God a Garry Kasparov on cosmic steroids…fifty gazillion moves ahead and able to checkmate you whenever He wants while all the time you think you’re choosing your own destiny with that cool move of your bishop. Is free will not free will if you’re unaware of the Chess Master’s strategies?

Okay, maybe not in the purest sense.

Truth is: there are compelling scriptures on either side of this theological fence.

But I wonder if this little illustration might be more accurate where the truth actually falls:

Think of our brain capacity as the size of a bottle cap (now we’re getting honest…). Imagine two toothpicks placed across it. One of the toothpicks represents classic Calvinism; the other Arminianism—predestination versus free will—in their most primitive forms. Where the points of the toothpicks meet is the actual Big “T” Truth. I wonder if this particular Truth is simply outside of our capability to grasp?

Of course this could be a cop-out.

But how many of us can really understand current theories in quantum mechanics? And do we find it particularly difficult thinking the best and brightest brains among us might not actually understand, uh, everything? Really?

It doesn’t mean we stay stupid. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explore the edges of our gray matter.

Years ago I was caught off guard when I visited Greenfield Village in Michigan and saw the bike shop where the Wright brothers built their airplane. Henry Ford had moved the whole house from Dayton, Ohio (a pox upon you, Dayton city fathers…). It displayed a wing from the plane with a simple plaque expressing something to the effect of: “Sixty-five years later man walked on the moon.” Can you imagine the extremely complicated technical advances in just a handful of decades? Later, in a visit to the Kennedy Space Center, it was noted that the iPhone in my back pocket had 100,000 times more computing power than the computers used in the Apollo moon landing.

Human beings are pretty impressive on some points. But let’s be honest as leaders: Can we know everything…philosophically and ontologically?

Please. Give me a break. That one started in the garden: “You will be like God.”

Dave Workman | The Elemental Group


Did you know The Elemental Group also works extensively with faith-based non-profits? Everything from fundability assessments to strategic planning to business development to grant-writing. Take a look at our “'menu of servicesat our website—an impressive scope of work along with clear, accessible pricing. Now that’s different!


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