>As always until I don’t often use the real names of people until I know have given me the okay. I had a short discussion with PRich (not a rapper. Not rich by worldly standards. Okay maybe a little, but his spiritual account is so large he makes statements like ‘putting those things which were behind me’ jump right off the page.) I digress. But he got me to thinking about what another preacher who cuts hair started me on earlier during the day. Let me illustrate it through a little Christian History.
Through the annals of Christian time since the incarnation of the church there have been two schools of thought which permeate every era. The result may vary but ultimately it will always revert back to this primary issue. One side (Calvinist or Quasi Calvinist) is quite aware of the sovereignty of God, they embrace it, live in it, are overjoyed by it (when you think about it this view does release some pressure.) The other side (Arminianism) is protective of free-will. They exercise their great free-will by deciding where to be born…eh, choosing to like a food they really hate…eh, loving people who have hurt them…eh. They use their great freewill to choose to disagree about the sovereignty of God in picking their careers and Dunkin Doughnuts versus crispy creme.
I’m having a little fun at their expense (which they chose to allow me to do) but their is a primary point I think that is very interesting. I’d like to take credit for it, matter fact I choose to, but I would just be lying. A certain theology professor painted the picture clearly for me and I think it is right. The problem with Arminius is that he (and all of us ultimately) did not think hard about the issue. This is the real issue with just about everything. We don’t want to think hard about anything (most notably entertainment. How fleeting is everything in it?)
Perhaps this is best examined by looking at a couple of scenarios of what happens when we start to think hard about things:
1. Consider scripture as a whole. Lets say you just look at the statistics of it. Number of clear cut free options- about 2 (maybe 3.) Number of cases where God’s sovereignty surmised any person or persons attempt to disagree, the entire counsel of God’s word.
Number of cases where someone disagreed with God 1 (man in Adam which ultimately means all of us. I’m not passing the entire buck to Adam by any means so please don’t label me a heretic.) Number of cases where God got what He wanted when Jonah, Pharaoh, Paul, etc tried to disagree with Him. I think he’s batting perfect so far.
2. If we consider just what a sermon is I think we would walk away with a sense of obligation.
3. If the Great Commission is for all intensive purposes at the least a good start for the vision and purpose of every believer we might be obligated to look at our planners a little more closely to see where our priorities sit.
4. If the Great Commission ….(see 3)…. we might be more apt to be looking for purpose in life.
5. If we thought long and hard about the fact that every word in scripture is literally true then Colossians 3 and the fact it attributes us to something that is presently true for the believer might lead you to feel a little more triumphant than we sometimes live (provided you don’t walk with a false swagger.)
6. From the Prof. Freewill kind of dampens evangelism. I mean you are sharing the gospel with someone and they reject it with their freewill its almost offensive to us. “Just believe… Heaven, Hell. Choose. Its not hard, just pick one!”
I guess what I am trying to say is that when you think hard about things the conclusions come a little slower and evolve out of a more humble submission to God. Lets not even talk about scriptures where God says love Him with ALL your heart, soul, and might. Or elsewhere where He says to be perfect. Thinking a little bit about it would probably result in the fact that you have a dilemma. That is of course unless you choose not to. Or in God’s limited sovereignty those are just flippant statements, allegory, idioms, haiku….
I’ve left at your feet to options. The blog is either about thinking hard about things, or about free will, or even perhaps both. I leave it to your choose which is more prevalent. More to come….