8.19.2007

On Being A Good Calvinist

When I was in high school I learned about predestination and became a good Calvinist. I knew my Tulip and the whole nine yards. When I was in college I abandoned nearly every doctrine I was taught in church, save Jesus being the incarnate Son of God and redemption throught his blood. Everything else was subject to what I thought the Bible was teaching. There's a huge danger there, because it was all up to my interpretation. That's loads more confidence in my own intelect than anyone should have.

Recently I've revisited some of those doctrines and ideas that I cast to the wind, to see if I was out of bounds or if my Sunday School teachers were. My problem with predestination was simple; I feel like I have control of my own will. I act under my own volition (most of the time) and I have to take responsibility for my own actions. Until I read this quote I thought I was right and they were wrong. These are the words of George Whitfield; "Nothing but the doctrines (predestination) of the Reformation can do this. All others leave free will in man and make him, in part, at least, a savior to himself"

As much as I don't like the idea of not being in control of my destiny, I'm inclined to agree with Whitfield. I simply cannot be saved by my own actions. I'm sinful, so if my salvation is based on my actions I cannot be saved. I must be saved entirely on the merits of Christ and him crucified. I don't like predestination, but it's not for me to like or dislike. It's staring me in the face and demanding that I accept it. What choice do I have?

Honestly, it's been liberating, not being in control of my path. Every carpet I clean is ordained by God so it's much easier to turn it into an act of worship. Being in Worship Professional limbo is God's will, what for I'm not sure, but it will be revealed in his time. This has lead me to rest in the knowledge that I'm not in control, which is opposite of being in control. It has given me a patience with things I don't like. I'm not in a hurry to get my way anymore, because it's all in his time.

At the same time I feel a deep discontent with the way things are. Almost like God is pushing me away from here. I strongly dislike my job, I'm not that good at it, it doesn't pay well, all this on top of everything else point me somewhere else. Cleaning houses has given me a greater appreciation for what I have and an outrage that America refuses to do something real about poverty. Social Security has failed, Wellfare has failed, and yet we're spending how many millions a year, fighting a war that no one asked for?

At first I was frustrated at the church about the poverty problem.The more time I spend interacting with poor folks, I realize the church isn't to blame. Apples rarely fall far from the tree, and people in poverty teach their kids how to be in poverty. I'm starting to believe that the church is the only hope they have. Or rather, that Jesus is the only hope they have, but the church was created to share Him with them.

I've also gained some faith in myself. If all of my deeds were determined before the foundation of the earth, I can't mess it up. It's not that I'm perfect, it's that God created me for my circumstances. He created me to succeed where I am. I'm ready for whatever life may bring. I'm constantly blaming myself for anything and everything, so this feels a lot like freedom. Interesting then, that freedom and predestination were always presented to me as opposites that couldn't co-exist. Funny how that works out.

So yeah, I'm doing good. You?

Peace

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