Then life happens.
At this point you can do one of three things:
- Hunker down and refuse to hear anything but the thoughts within your own group (you may listen to other arguments, but you know from the beginning you are right. So you, at most, only tolerate the deluded around you).
- Abandon your faith. Having found a chink in your armor, you throw away everything in a resentful rage.
- Eat some humble pie. Discover you are not half as smart as you think you are and learn to hold ideas with open hands.
Having grown up being right, I learned little about other people's ideas of God. So, in my latter years, I am having to play catch-up.
I have discovered that my thoughts this past decade line-up with a lot of things within something called "The Emergent Church" movement. Since I visit the blogs of a lot of these folks, I also come into contact with the blogs of many of their detractors. It seems (and here I say "seems" with heavy emphasis) that a lot of folks who cling to Calvanism take issue with the Emergent Church.
I always knew Calvanists were into predestination/election (the idea that God chose who would go to Heaven and who would go to Hell before anyone did anything), but I never really gave it much thought. However, I got into a discussion with a gentleman on his blog recently and it clarified for me how troubled I am with that idea. I commented on a post where he was stating his belief in predestination. I will post my comment and our brief conversation, then comment some more.
Andrew 7:56 PM
I could never put full stock in to election... This post confirmed that opinion. I grant that there is scripture that could lead one to that conclusion, but only if you ignore a heckalot of other scripture. I am not sure how it will pan out, but I am pretty confident God was not saying... "and you will be saved, and you too, but not you, hmmm how bout' you, you, and you, mmm not you, and not that one either..." If true, we are ruled by a psycho!
SB 9:01 PM
I'd like to see you defend that biblicaly. God elects people alright. It's all over the bible.
Andrew 10:28 PM
Is there a single scripture I could produce that you would not refute? You obviously believe wholeheartedly in election. The most you and I could do is play biblical ping-pong for the observers and each side would go away with the same view they previously held. Been in those conversations before?
Let me rather ask a question. Though my description of the thought line of a God of election above was absurd, is your view much different? Is that how you see God?
I have committed about 10 books of scripture to memory. I say this not as a boast, but to make a point. One of the unforeseen outcomes is that I started to see scripture by themes rather than statements. For example… I could remove all the scripture where God states that he loves man, yet, when I read the rest of scripture I would still come to that conclusion…. God loves us.
I don’t get that when it comes to election. Remove those verses and there would be nothing about the rest of scripture that would point in that direction. So for me, it leaves it suspect. There is scripture to defend and refute election. There is scripture to defend and refute grace vs. works. Pre, post, mid-trib? Whom shall I believe? The theologian who argues his point better? The one who produces the longest list of verses?
I honestly don’t have a big opinion about election. It is one of those scriptural oddities that seems to run contrary to other scripture ... yet there it is. To me, it is what happens when the eternal is explained in temporal language… it doesn’t quite fit. It can’t. In the same way a three dimensional being could never accurately describe himself in words to a world of two dimensions. I honestly think when people asked Jesus, “What is the Kingdom of God like?”, he had to think for a second. He must have thought, how do I put this, when they have absolutely NO frame of reference? Well, guys… ya see….. it's kind of like….. a mustard seed….
What concerns me is why people so doggedly want to defend election? Why? What is the motivation? To have a point of argument? To be more right than someone else? If one wants to lean toward election, I can’t totally dismiss them because it is a scriptural point… but why can there be no allowance for another view?
God chose the metaphor of a Father. He thought that was one of the best ways to describe himself to us. To buy into election, as people tend to interpret it, I would need to be comfortable with a God who is pro-choice – one who can toss his child in the trash can on a whim.
SB 9:47 PM
God would never toss his child....for someone to be his child he has to recieve Christ. The one's who get "tossed" aren't his kids. Other than that, I'd just say to you to use scripture as your standard, not make up your own ideas...
It bothers me when people respond, but don't really address my points. To me, it shows they don't know how to listen; they only know how to monologue. Being right requires monologue, not dialogue. To the absolutist, dialogue is tantamount to compromise.
Part of me wanted to respond back, but I am trying not to fall into the trap of needing to be right. Anyone who knows me knows I luuuv to be right, so it is something God is chipping away at. But if one needs a scriptural reference for my belief I will give one... well, two... and we could go on.
First, God is no respecter of persons. When I get to something in scripture I don't understand, I cling to the character of God. Does predestination sync with how God presents himself?
He desires all men to be saved. God would have to be a complete bi-polar or schizophrenic if he both desired a person's salvation, offered a way of salvation, but then put that person outside salvation's reach.
Again, if the concept of election/predestination mattered at all Jesus would have taught it, Paul would have taught it, Peter would have taught it..... not cryptically mention it, TAUGHT it.
I know scripture mentions it, I don't deny it. It is the conclusion of Calvinists I find unsupportable. If their view is accurate, then I will pass on Heaven. Their view makes God into as big a jerk as any I have met on this planet; as big a jerk as me....
.... and I need to worship someone greater than myself.