Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Path to Humble Calvinism...

is rocky and rough! I am not sure how one can be a humble Calvinist and yet take a stand in defense of the truth. And see, right there is the problem. How arrogant of me to say that I know truth. Right there I lose all credibility as humble. By what authority can I proclaim something as true? But the problem is even broader than that because if I can't say that a particular doctrine is true, how can I say any of the doctrines are true, even the ones with which we all agree? The statement, Jesus is God is a doctrine that most Christians would agree is true, right? But how can I state that with certainty? Isn't it arrogant to do so? But we can all agree with that doctrine, can't we? Well, throughout church history there have been some who disputed it and that dispute lead to the creeds that the early church produced. The church took a stand and said this is truth. So, can we do the same?

If I'm able to make the statement, Jesus is God (which we, as Christians, believe the Bible clearly states), then I should be able make the statement that it is God who elects individuals unto salvation since Scripture clearly states this as well:

Romans 8:29-31 "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many rothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Ephesians 1:3-14 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
I guess what I'm saying here is that I'm still struggling to figure out how to live in the light of Peter's exhortation, "always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." (1 Peter 3:15b-16)

2 Comments:

  1. Susan said...
    a humble professor of truth...can there be such a person? I say yes. Can we "take a stand in defense of truth" (Michele) and not be arrogant? Again I say yes. Was the apostle Paul ever accused of being arrogant? I don't think so. Being able to speak the truth in love is what is missing in the debate of truth.

    Another missing component is listening. Are we quick to dismiss the other or do we listen to them? Like Peter's exhortation, being able to give a defense follows understanding who we are talking to (our audience).

    Michele, I have seen how God has grown you in your delivery of truth so take heart, "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion"...

    I may not be as eloquent as you or Teresa (I don't have the vocabulary of a seminary student) but I do understand your struggle because I have the same one.
    michele said...
    Thanks for the encouragement, Susan. I know what not to do (since I have done it so many times in the past) but I’m having a hard time figuring out what I’m supposed to do.

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