Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maybe I'm all wet here

but, all this hoopla amongst Reformed folks about Rob Bell's book strikes me as ironic. Usually Wesleyan-Arminian folks are the ones being accused of being universalists (they aren't, by the way), but this appears to be a in-house fight.

That being said, I can sympathize with the poor Calvinist here. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they take the wrath of God seriously—and they do—and the love of God seriously—and they do—what are their options? They believe that God, in some mysterious way for purposes known only to him, chose some to be saved (some Calvinists go further and say he chose others to be condemned). How do you reconcile these? I know the mental gymnastics and theological arguments, but they fail to convince me.

The Wesleyan, on the other hand, doesn't need to consider the universalist option. They believe that God, by his prevenient grace (grace that comes before), raises a person from depravity far enough that they are able to make an informed decision for or against God. Mind you, this is all by grace! But, it is a real decision. The sinner chose to reject God. Now, I would go a step further and agree with Augustine that the Holy Spirit is "the hound of heaven," in other words, he doesn't give up, but keeps pursuing the sinner.

Just an
</idle musing>


Scott F said...

I am generally bewildered as to why God has to offer prevenient grace at all. It seems just as likely that he created Mankind with the ability to accept his grace from the start.
Are we so certain of Total Depravity really that we have to put up with Calvinists? ;) It's an interesting concept but it is still a man-made construction.

That's my 2 cents! said...

I was attending a reformed church for a couple of years. They were committed to majoring on majors, and minoring on minors. So for a long time the Reformed undertow wasn't overwhelming. The undertow got stronger. What I found most surprising was this idea that Christians sort of needed to feel sorry for their sins, and simply cling to Jesus, until He returns. Kind of do the best you can, knowing there is really nothing to do with sin, until Jesus comes for the second time, and takes sin out of you then. Until He returns and takes it away, you're more than less stuck with your sin.

I wasn't aware that Reformed believers don't believe God can and does overcome our sin here and now. I loved that church, and the people are phenomenal, but I could not go on sitting under that kind of fatalistic atmosphere. The Bible is so crystal clear that Jesus has set us free.

I'm not offended by our Reformed brethren and sisteren, per se. But I can't see how Reformed believers can keep from being overwhelmed by its fatalism. I don't understand how Reformed believers can keep from eventually slipping into hyper Calvinism.