Posts Tagged ‘Arminian’

   I grew-up in church. A good church even. A little white Southern Baptist Church in a town of 600 people, located right next to the train tracks. I learned so much in that church. It essentially set the framework for my theology from a young age.

   Through various circumstances, the details of which I’m not entirely clear on, my family and I left that church and joined a church just up the road. It was billed simply as a Christian church, presumably of the independent variety; which as a rule, are loosely associated with either the Church of Christ or the Disciples of Christ. Either way, they maintain a more liberal theology than the SBC.

   Near the end of my almost sixteen year run with the aforementioned church, the theology of my wife and I began to charge (or perhaps evolve) and so did that of the church. As they began adopting some of the teachings of the Emergent movement of that time (specifically from Rob Bell and his Nooma video series), we began to take hold of a very Calvinistic view of Scripture. The two views clashed quite violently and we ended-up back at the SBC church I’d left years before (which coincidentally, was non-Calvinistic).

   So, what am I apologizing for, as per this post’s title? During the early days of our foray into Reformed theology, we (specifically me) fell headlong into the ditch of Calvinistic elitism. We believed that  because we had what we felt was a deeper understanding of the person of God that we were in some way superior to our Arminian brethren. I picked many, many fights and honestly, was a real jerk. Unfortunately, being a jerk seems to be the rule more than the exception amongst Reformed believers.

   So, for all the people I was a complete schmuck to, I’m sorry. To anyone I was a theological bully to, I’m sorry. To anyone who’s spiritual walk I questioned or assaulted, I’m sorry. I’ve done a lot of growing since that time. Please forgive me.

   So, where does that leave my theology?

   Oh, make no mistake, I’m still very much Reformed. Although maybe not enough to really consider myself a Calvinist anymore, at least not in the 5-point sense. I’ve just chosen to no longer make that fact the hill I die on or the standard by which I gauge someone else’s salvation. I am completely over viewing Christianity as a divided camp. We’re either in it or we’re out. Division amongst Christians does nothing but cause a weakened defense against the enemy, and we need all the fortification we can get!

   If we can agree on the essentials of the faith (which we’ll address another time), the rest will work itself out and you are my brother or sister in Christ.

   Say goodnight, Gracie.

 

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It’s a peculiar thing, one’s theology. It’s the means by which we know and understand the God of the universe. Yet, even though He is NEVER changing, my theology seems to be EVER changing.

So, here is a short and far from exhaustive list of the things I’ve learned since the Spring semester of 2012 that have helped to mold my theology. When you hear the chime, turn the page…

  1. Though having spent the majority of my life as a Southern Baptist and currently attending a Southern Baptist seminary, I am very likely the worst Southern Baptist in the history of the convention. When referencing the term in your thesaurus, you will find my name under “antonyms”. It’s not even that I’m opposed to SBC polity and standards. I simply just stink at being Southern Baptist. Don’t even get me started on the Teetotalism thing… (look it up kids).
  2. I’ve played on both teams, but now who’s jersey do I wear? I was raised in a very Arminian church and in recent years have waved the flag of a 5-point Calvinist, but now I’m neither. Or I’m a lesser degree of both. I’m not sure. There’s a good chance I’m a Molinist… (look it up kids).
  3. Contrary to what I’ve always been taught, I don’t believe Southern Baptists have an exclusive stake on Heavenly real estate. Though not explicitly taught it, I would now gladly stand with any member of any denomination with a right understanding of Christian essentials. These would essentially be summed-up in the 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation… (look it up kids).
  4. It’s okay to be a little charismatic, even if John MacArthur disagrees. Within reason. Nothing too weird.
  5. The Authorized King James Bible was not handed down by angels on a golden thread to be the only reliable source of God’s communication to us. Mind you, I like the KJV. I really do. However, let it be said that any pastor preaching from a biblical translation (not paraphrase) in modern language is not necessarily apostate.
  6. Women can be deacons. It turns out it was in the Bible the whole time. Who knew? Although it should be stated that a clear understanding of the intended definition of the office of deacon should be applied here.
  7. We cannot expect the lost to come to us. We must go to them. Kinda makes sense. Why would a lost person with no interest in religion casually stroll into a church on Sunday morning apart from a potluck?
  8. Hyper-Calvinists are mean and Hyper-Arminians really know nothing about the God they serve. Let me explain here before I get stoned by the masses. Hyper-Calvinists tend to show little concern for the lost by leaving salvation firmly in the sovereignty of God. Therefore they’re mean because they never personally show the love of Christ to anyone through evangelism. On the flip-side, Hyper-Arminians don’t know the true nature of God because they view salvation as a choice man makes with God merely waiting on the sidelines hoping they choose Him (like the fat kid in P.E. who really wants to play dodge ball).
  9. I have zero interest in a doctorate. At first I thought it would be cool to be Doctor Benjamin. However, after seeing the toll it takes on these poor men and women who commit years to earning the title of “Doctor”, I think I’ll pass.
  10. The “social gospel”, which I spent years bemoaning… is actually a part of THE Gospel! Ain’t that something? It turns out that while evangelism is our number one priority, we have a direct, irrefutable command to also feed the hungry, clothe the poor, care for the destitute, and love those who we so desperately want to hate. More on that it future posts.

So, that’s it for now. There’s so much more I could include, but then what would I have to write about later?

Sleep well planet Earth.