Howard J. Van Till (110661.1365@compuserve.com)
Fri, 3 Apr 1998 09:07:49 -0500

Bob Dehaan,

Thank you for your response to my comments.

We continue to operate with differing definitions of some terms. That's not
an unusual situation. My general comment on that is that the theological
use of terms in regard to divine attributes/actions is likely to differ
from common dictionary definitions that are ordinarily written in regard to
human attributes/actions.

Bob: "You put a very negative spin on the word governance, calling it
"micromanagment", and "coercing creatures to act in ways different from
what they would otherwise have done." I don't think God's governance is
micromanagement as used in today's political climate fits his activity in

My repsonse: Yes, there is a negative spin there. But it was to be applied
not to divine 'governance' as I understand it, but to the way in which many
Christians picture it as 'overpowering control' or 'micromanagement.'

Control language can sound very nice and pious when it is applied
selectively to outcomes that we welcome and want to thank God for, but what
about those real life outcomes that are the occasions for intense pain or
grief? Did God so control things so as to give us those particular
experiences also?

Suppose, for example, that we use your gardening metaphor. Life in that
garden looks good to the pole beans, but what if you were a dandelion?

Bob: "You have not commented on the relationship of RFE Principle to the
dcotrine of providence that I proposed, namely, *concurrence*. I suggested
that RFEP operationalizes (if I may use a scientific term) that aspect of
providence called concurrence, which Webster defines as agreement,
cooperation, consent. Do you accept that interpretation of RFEP?"

My response: Yes, I think so, but I would have to refresh my memory on the
way in which the concept of divine 'concurrence' is ordinarily employed in
theological discourse. Webster might not here be a sufficient source of

Bob again: "I believe your RFEP will continue to be interpreted
as deism, despite your disclaimers."

My response: I have no way of preventing people from choosing to ignore
what I say about my own beliefs.


Howard Van Till