I once remarked to my pastor that the Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is the realest song ever written. I had the occasion to remind him of this yesterday as we were watching an episode of Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” in our place of business. Sid Roth ended the show with a sinner’s prayer and asked those in his audience to repeat after him, in part saying, “Jesus, I make you Lord of my life.” My ears perked up and I thought, “Well isn’t that special; we have the power and authority to ‘make Jesus Lord.'”
I’ve just started reading K. Scott Oliphint’s Covenantal Apologetics and he does well to point out in the introduction that Jesus is Lord, period (John Frame also highlights this in pretty much all of his work). He’s Lord whether we believe it or not. What’s more is that he’s the Lord over all life, including the unbeliever’s life, whether they want to accept it or not. I agree completely and having been thinking and saying this stuff for quite some time now. So I noted the problem with the prayer that Roth was having his audience repeat. My pastor seemed to think that I was looking at things a little too deeply and that he didn’t think Roth intentionally meant anything negative, to which I agreed.
My point was (and is) that there’s something deeply ingrained in people that’s been with us since even before the fall of Adam, i.e., a desire to be in control. I say before the fall because had that not been in Adam and Eve then the serpent’s offer to eat the forbidden fruit and gain the knowledge that only God possessed wouldn’t have been tempting. But it was tempting and they succumbed to it. So no, I don’t think Sid Roth consciously thought about what he was having people repeat, but that doesn’t make it any less troubling.
It’s troubling because it assumes for us what’s only meant for God. The viewer wasn’t asked to “confess” or “declare” that Jesus is Lord (Rom. 10:9). They were asked to “make” him Lord, and it’s an all too common refrain in sinners’ prayers the world over. But Acts 2:36 records Peter saying that it is God who made Jesus both Lord and Christ. The sinner saying the prayer is being directed to assume God’s prerogative! Is this so different from what happened in the Garden of Eden? Were Adam and Eve not given a free and gracious gift in their authority over creation and yet duped into wanting more? Deceived into wanting to possess divine prerogatives?
It’s not enough that we’re offered salvation; we have to find a way to somehow be in control of it. I think the words of the song sum it up nicely:
It’s my own design
It’s my own remorse
Help me to decide
Help me make the most
Of freedom and of pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world