Friday, August 7, 2009

Calvinism 7: What Difference Does It Make?

Calvinism: What Difference Does It Make?

Many times, when I bring up the fact that I am adamantly opposed to the doctrines of Calvinism, people wonder what difference it really makes. Calvinists love God, help others, and live a good life. Yes, and I support and love all fellow Christians, Calvinists or anyone else. But I do not support false views of God because the truth is the best.

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:32

I want people to be free, and to see themselves, others, and God as they really are. A distorted view of God may not seem to be harm, but when people misunderstood my beloved, I’d rather they see how awesome He is!

Whether or not we believe the doctrine of Calvinism will determine how we answer these important life questions:

· What’s love?

· What’s justice?

· What does God delight in that we should delight in?

· What is God cool with that we should be cool with?

· Do we see the best or worst in people, including ourselves?

· What is personal responsibility?

· Is life about relationships, or various agendas?

Along with my answers, I’d attached various works of art that put the question into a visual format. What’s love? Loving includes action. Just as faith without works is dead, if you say “be warmed and filled,” but do not feed or clothe that person, that love is dead. (See James 2.)

Calvinism teaches that God not trying to save some people from Hell is “a different kind of love. I believe that not trying to help is not love. True love motives helping, if you see someone in a bad situation.
Calvinism teaches that only some receive the offer of loving help (grace) from God. I believe that we all receive the offer loving help from God. We need to pass that loving help along to everyone who comes across our path.

What’s justice? What we think is just from God will determine what justice we use toward others. If we believe that we must be fair, then we will give each child the exact same amount of cookie and try to give each the same chance at winning, even if they differ in age.

If we believe that justice means, as Calvinism teaches, punishing one deserving party, but letter the other off free, then our children will see the injustice and grow bitter or spoiled. If we see that God is just to all, not necessary fair, but loves mercy, then we will discipline those under us, but be quick to be merciful to the repentant child rather than always laying on them the full penalty.

What does God delight in that we should delight in? God delights in setting captives free, in letting the blind see, and the deaf hear. God delights in showing grace and helping people.

Calvinism teaches that God sets some free, and helps some people, but delights in withholding the same from others for the sake of His own glorification. We should learn to delight ourselves in what delights God. We want to be like Him
If God delights in setting captives free, and desires all captives to be free, then we should also rescue people with passion.

If God delights in offering a helping hand to all who desire it, then so should we.

What is God cool with that we should be cool with? Calvinism teaches that God is cool with millions going to Hell. That’s all part of His plan, and He’s cool with that. I believe that God wants no one to go to Hell. He allows it to happen because of the hardness of people’s hearts, but He is not cool with it, and we shouldn’t be cool with it either!

We should give our lives, if need be, to share the gospel and try to help rescue as many as we possibly can!
We shouldn't just be cool with the suffering of others, so long as we are doing fine.
Do we see the best or worst in people, including ourselves? Many calvinists look around them and see lots and lots of depravity; they don’t see any good in people or in themselves. We are told in the Bible to focus on what is pure, good, of good report, etc. There is so much beauty that God has created in people that they don’t see.

Humility is not believing that we are less or worse than we are, but rather seeing all that we are, and see how small and helpless that is!

Man’s depravity and selfishness can actually lead him to God. The prostitutes and tax collectors came to Jesus for help first.

What is personal responsibility? Calvinism teaches that we have free will in that we freely choice what God puts in our hearts to desire. That so-called “free choice” is caused by God, and yet we are held responsible for it.

If I were to translate that into real life, when Daniel pushes David into a vase, which falls and breaks, I will hold David responsible even though Daniel was the cause.

On the other hand, I believe that God does not “cause” some to be saved, and leaves others on His black list.

I believe that we all have personal responsibility where we cause our actions and are held responsible for our eternal destiny. Is life about relationships, or various agendas?

Finally, if Calvinism is true, then this world was not created so that God could have a real relationship with us, where He would love us, and we could choose to love Him back. God’s pleading with unrepentant Israel throughout the Bible would be a charade, since He predestined them to reject Him and caused their hearts to be hardened.

God goes through with all these plans of sending some to Hell and other to heaven merely for His own glorification. I believe that we all should glorify God forever, because life is not a charade, and because life is about having relationships with God and with each other.

We will have these relationships throughout eternity and “that’s what it’s all about!” I don’t believe the idea of “unconditional election” gives God any glory.

It is a gross misunderstanding of His amazing and pure character.

And yes, we may all at some points find the truth offensive, but God is God and we are not. We must accept that He shows mercy to whom He shows mercy - not for the reasons that we perhaps think He should, but according to His good pleasure, and according to the conditions that He decrees.

God Bless!