Monday, April 16, 2012

HAVE SOME HUMILITY

On the day you stand before God to give an accounting of your life, do you expect to hear, "WOW. You did everything right. There is not a single flaw in your theology or thinking. You need ZERO correction. Stand over here and wait for a vacancy in the Trinity."

...Thought not; me neither.

NO human theology or interpretation is error free. Therefore, have the grace to not act like a self-righteous jerk to people who disagree with you. It is--theoretically--just possible that YOU might be wrong. Whoa! There's a head-spinner.

I have serious theological and philosophical disagreements with Calvinists. Though I came to Christ in a Calvinist congregation I do not think John Calvin's doctrine of absolute predestination is biblical. Now, right there I know ANY Calvinist who reads this will hereby consign me and my thinking to the deepest recesses of H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. Sorry.

My purpose here is not to set out my theological scheme and reasoning's for WHY I disagree with Calvin. No, I want to encourage Calvinists to have a teency bit of humility. After all, they might ~GASP~ be wrong.

I admire Calvin's defense of God's Sovereignty. Calvin was not concerned with a trivial protection God's feelings. He meant to call fallen mankind to a proper awe, respect and worship of the Almighty. But carried to its logical conclusion his teaching means man does not even have the freedom of an ant in an ant-farm. No freedom, no accountability, no point to fifteen billion years of creation apart from some sort of cosmic Kabuki theater. I reject that with all my heart.

Okay, so my point about humility. First, every Calvinist I ever met wants to know--and right now, buddy--if I am Calvinist or Arminian. Really? Are those the only choices? I am NEITHER. The whole things smacks of the "I'm of Paul/I'm of Apollos" thing. I don't think either man's theology grasps the whole of scripture. In my opinion, they both got some things right and some things wrong. After all, they were fallible men.

Which brings me to my second point. if you give it some thought, you come to the astounding conclusion that John Calvin's writings are NOT included in the canon of scripture. Stupid point? I don't think its possible to belabor the point ENOUGH. Not after I've beat my head against a wall talking to a Calvinist with that righteous flame of truth burning torch-like in his bosom.

Most Calvinists are fanatics about Calvin, and that is wrong. Calvinists themselves would be offended by the notion of a non-biblical writer speaking in the same authority and power as the God-breathed writers of scripture. But that is in fact how they treat Calvin's works. Phooey.

So what about MY humility? Okay, maybe I'M wrong. I accept that. What if John Calvin was correct? What if God predestined some to Heaven and the rest to eternal damnation? Okay, I'll stipulate that. And my conclusion is, SO WHAT? Predestination, if true, is the most useless doctrine in history. It doesn't change a blessed thing. It has no effect on how God commands us to live. We are still commanded to preach the Gospel to all the world. But Calvinism works so hard to establish God's sovereignty we end up losing any reason to care.

In Calvinism, the righteous are saved  not by falling on God's mercy, but because God in His sovereign power FORCES them into righteousness. The lost are sinners through no choice of their own but only in order to show that God has the right to consign them to Hell. But even if the doctrine is true, it makes no difference to what God calls us to do in this life. We are still called to take the Gospel to all the world without any distinction between saved and lost. Jesus still died for the sins of all mankind. God still calls "whosoever will" to believe and repent. So who knows or cares about the predestined?

I reject the doctrine of predestination as scripturally false and out-of-line with God's character. And even if it's true I ignore it as a theoretical waste of time.

4 comments:

Dan Smith said...

I concur completely. I am a moderate Calvinist I suppose, but really it doesn't matter. Even if it's true (Calvinism), it doesn't mean I still shouldn't evangelize. What if God chose me to show God's will to that person? It's all academic. Christ told us to make disciples. Seems pretty clear to me.

Don the Baptist said...

...Guess I'd better back off the "ALL Calvinists" rhetoric.

Dan Smith said...

Ha! No, that's not my point. I just agree with you that we all go a little further than we should.

Wonderer said...

Amen Pastor Don! The great thing about being a Greek Orthodox/Baptist is that Calvin is completely irrelevant :o)!