Since writing Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist: The Disquieting Realities of Calvinism, I have been unexpectedly involved in engaging Calvinists through writing and speaking. I must admit that, at times, I have found my interactions with some Calvinists quite frustrating because of the great difficulty that I have often experienced when trying to discuss a particular point without being misread, when I am given a standard response (one that as a Calvinist I used to give) that is the very response I am trying to move beyond, or when they simply will not engage my point and scurry to something that I am not even addressing.
For instance, I have given precise examples of various disquieting realities of Calvinism to only, at times, have them either distortedly generalized, which, ipso facto, moves the discussion off topic, or summarily dismissed as “emotional arguments.” This is unfruitful for the Calvinist and those who do not understand the seriousness of the entailment mentioned because, while these disquieting realities do affect us emotionally, they are not merely jejune emotional arguments to be dismissed by such paplike indictments. They actually have for their substance the very nature and plan of God and the nature of man as portrayed in explicit Scripture. Consequently, I thought I would share three distinct levels of consideration that I find helpful in properly evaluating Calvinism. These distinctive levels do operate as a unit, but considering them separately seems to be helpful in the process of consideration. Read the rest of this entry »
How we desire to be thought of is a good guide for how to view other people. Eagerness to quickly think the worst of others is more often than not symptomatic of one’s indifference to his own weaknesses.
Impatience with the frailty of others, their inability to measure up, and/or leaping to attribute the worst of motives reflects a troubling sense of one’s imperceptiveness of his own failings. We are seldom as quick to welcome the eagerness of others to think the worst of us, so why should we be so inclined?
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
The future belongs to God, and we are not God.
Yet how quick we are to guarantee the future.
People frequently speak about the future with certainty, but God rarely discloses our personal future. When we speak about the future with phrases like “I will never” or “This will never” or other such phrases of future certainty, we are pridefully blind to the actual uncertainty of our future and our limited ability to change it. Speaking with certainty about the future seeks to elevate us to godhood and eliminate the walk of faith, neither of which is possible.
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).
A biblical attitude is crucial to the whole process of church discipline. If the attitude of those implementing discipline is not right, then what God designed to be a beautiful act of selfless love is transformed into an ugly act of power, even if all the other instructions are followed to the letter. The offspring of that evil may shortly surface as a disuniting and judgmental spirit in the fellowship, or it may lay dormant until the next attempt to lead the church in discipline and then surface with a vengeance. Read the rest of this entry »
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”’ (Matthew 28:18-20). (underline and embolden added)
Most often, this passage is referenced in order to emphasize missions and evangelism, and those are indeed vital components; however, the teaching task is often, albeit unwittingly, reduced to a secondary or tertiary status. Additionally, the essentialness of the breadth and depth of the teaching component is often obscured by our words and practice. Read the rest of this entry »
Sincere requests for forgiveness, which is evidenced in words and actions, is all that is needed to be saved and forgiven by God.
Christians should require nothing more to forgive their offenders, for to do so is to dishonor grace.
“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit” (1 Peter 3:8).
Following are responses to comments posted by a blogger on the SBCToday blog in response to my comments about his first responses regarding an article entitled A Better Gospel. The two previous articles include my original article, A Better Gospel and the first response to that article. The words “You said” refer to the comments of the blogger, and this is followed by my response.
Here are my thoughts regarding your thoughts about my thoughts.
You said, “Are you dealing with what Calvinists have claimed or with implications you see coming out of Calvinism? I believe that clearly you are dealing with the implications you see and not what Calvinists have actually said….Without a doubt you are dealing with the implications you see of Calvinism and not what Calvinists actually say. Do you agree?” Read the rest of this entry »
Following are responses to comments posted by a blogger on the SBCToday blog December 11, 2013, http://sbctoday.com/2013/12/page/2/ in response to the article entitled “A Better Gospel”, which I posted here last week. I introduce his statements which I am responding to by “you said, then follows my response
Thanks for your response. Here are my thoughts on your thoughts.
You said, “First better, I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder. You claim it’s a better gospel when the deciding factor depends upon the individual. I claim it’s a better gospel when the deciding factor depends up on God.” Read the rest of this entry »
The good news according to Calvinism is to be proclaimed to everyone everywhere, but it is not good news for everyone who hears. I believe the gospel according to Jesus presents a better gospel. Read the rest of this entry »
Giving thanks to God without the omnipresent conjunction “but.” Rare!
It is easy to give thanks to God because it is right, and we have so many things to be thankful for as long as we do not have to be unguardedly thankful.
Try naming everything that you are thankful for with regard to your job, spouse, house, day, etc., and then stop. You will find it more difficult than you may have thought it would be. We seem ever so prone to give thanks only if we can take a breath before reciting our woes.
I love my children and I am thankful for the following reasons. STOP RIGHT THERE! Now you have a new level of thanksgiving, which is rare indeed.
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).