Sunday, February 1, 2009

freely chosen

This morning's message was on Ephesians 1:4-6. In Sunday school, we've been covering church history, and the Augustinian v. Armenian argument (the original one) came up today.  I suspect my pastor conspired with my Sunday school teacher (Damien) to make that happen.  For the most part, those who were doing the talking supported the Augustinian point of view, and the Calvinistic. 

I think one of the most retarded things that can be done is to argue over this issue.  It causes schisms, makes people upset, you end up where you started, and I've never seen any good come out of an argument over this issue.  Discussing it is fine, but trying to be right... fail.  I don't even think this issue is an important one.  If you're predestined or freely willed, you still need to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. And you need to love your neighbor as yourself.  Those things are hard enough, what the heck are we doing worrying about doctrinal battles?

One thing that Damien kept saying was that Calvinism tries to protect the sovereignty of God, and Armenians try to protect the justice of God.  I think he's wrong.  You don't have to be all Calvinist or all Armenian either... I think my pastor is pretty balanced (as in, he admits he can't figure it out and says that both happen)  But, Armenians don't protect Gods justice. It protects Gods love.

Love is beautiful, but love has to happen both ways.  Bruce Almighty probably isn't a good place to go for doctrine (actually, it definitely isn't) but "how do you make someone love you without effecting their free will?" "Welcome to my world."  Love has to be accepted, and I think that a sovereign God limited himself so that we need to accept him.  God doesn't need us for anything.  He doesn't need us to exist.  But for the joy it brings him, he created a world that rebelled against him and cursed him and killed him and denied him and tried to end his presence among them. And all the time his presence was always there comforting the coursers and the killers and the deniers.  Also comforting the cursed and the killed and the denied.  Always there always present and never making them stop.  He's not a clockmaker, he is ever present and ever involved, he doesn't allow bad things to happen... bad things are not part of his will, they happen because the world has rebelled against his will.  Calvinism cannot account for the love of God.  It cannot reconcile "...Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. That whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  

I think both theologies have problems, and I think that we're never going to figure out what the truth is. We're blind men.  Our vision is shrouded by a blanket of rebellion.  We've gouged out our eyes in our attempts to separate ourselves from dependence on God.  We can't recover those eyes, we can only ask God to lead us on a path that we cannot see.  In our effort to take away dependence on God, we've made it even more impossible to have it.  We need God.  We need him so much.  We've never been apart from him, and that is the torture of hell that nobody has ever experienced.  Separation from God.  Is hell.

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