As I mentioned in my previous post I have been reading “The Pursuit of God” by AW Tozer.
I just read something that put into words a thought that I have been wrestling with for a few months.
Important as it is that we recognize God working in us, I would yet warn against a too-great occupation with the thought. It is a sure road to sterile passivity. God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination, and divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, “O Lord, Thou Knowest”. Those things belong to the deep and mysterious Profound of God’s omniscience. Prying into them may make theologians, but it will never make saints.
As I have taken a deeper and deeper interest in my faith I have run into the centuries-old Arminian vs Calvinist debate head-on. It’s an ugly struggle that leaves many hearts trembling with anger.
Though Calvinists are known for being elitist douche bags, I have seen just as much douchery (new word?) from the Arminian side. I have seen people from both philosophies say really hurtful, degrading things about their brothers and sisters in faith. As someone who still has a foot in the “real world” (the world that doesn’t have a MDiv and has read less than 3 dozen books on the nature of God) I want you to know something…
Your fight is making us all look bad. It is reinforcing the stereotype that Christianity is an isolationist culture (since, you know, no one outside the Christian bubble gives a crap if God predestined all things). It is making the outside world look into a community of religious scholars that have nothing better to do than debate each other on petty details. Please try to look at this with different eyes.
Additionally it is making it difficult for people like me who are trying to understand the tenets of their faith to sort out fact from opinion. You are turning Jesus into a 24-hour news network. There is a lot of shouting. There is a lot of mean-spirited commentary. There are a lot of talking points. There is a shortage of humility, clarity, and love.
Please stop calling each other “fundamentalists” and “heretics”. You sound like Glen Beck and Rachel Maddow. Your fighting sterilizes the power of the death and resurrection of God incarnate.
I’d like to quickly qualify all of this by saying that it is ok for you to have opinions on the nature of God. It is, of course, natural for us to think about these things and come up with our own answers. I simply aim to point us away from the idolization of our own ability to discern scripture and focus us back to much more pressing issues like actually living out the Gospel that we claim to follow.
One of my Reformed friends once arrogantly said of Greg Boyd: “My problem with heresy isn’t that people believe in it, it’s that those people have to go and teach it.”
I’d like to turn that statement around. I would say that my problem with people having exclusive views on the nature of God isn’t that people have views on the nature of God, but that they teach them as exclusive. When you begin denying the authenticity of faith of people who hold fast to the knowledge of “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” you are yourself stepping into a role that is reserved for God.
I don’t care how many degrees you have… I reserve that right for the Great Judge of All Things.