Archive | March, 2014

Beginning the Discussion of Calvinism . . .

31 Mar

Last year I read “The Joy of Calvinism” by Greg Forster.  Although I have obtained Calvin’s Institutes on iBooks, I have not yet read them.  

So I am a mere punter.

But, as someone who has lots of people in my life who are Calvinists (my parents, although they are more churchmembers than theologians; my best friend, who is one of the best female theologians I know, and has been since we were college roommates . . .), I approach Calvinism with the pre-disposition to regard it in a good light.  In fact, my love affair with dispensationalism may be coming to an end.  It peaked during the “Left Behind” series, as in “This might be how it all happens, but maybe not . . .”  Now I find myself increasingly leaning toward an affinity with covenant theology.  Thus, my look into Calvin . . .

I love the TULIP acronym, which I know came along long after Calvin.  To me, it sums up some deep mysteries of the faith in five letters. Some I am still pondering but I believe at this point I am about a 4.5’er.  I say that knowing that there have historically been 4-point Baptists (General Baptists) and 5-point Baptists (Particular Baptists).  So there is no need for me to depart from my heritage to become a Presbyterian like my best friend.  We already have had this covered in the Baptist tradition, if we don’t suppress it and rewrite our own history.  

T-Total Depravity.  Does anybody seriously argue this while looking around us?  I guess Pelagianism still lives somewhere, but it appears those who adhere to it think that they themselves were nearly perfectible before they met Jesus, but they sure don’t believe that about anyone else on this planet!!!  I also term this one:  “where man starts out.”  

U-Unconditional Election.  Again, if there were conditions to our getting saved, we would not be able to do it.  We are utterly depraved.  I get that.  I also term this one:  “God the Father.”

L-Limited Atonement.  This is the fifth point, the one on which we all get stuck.  There are better ways of naming it, but L goes with the acronym.  It is hard for us to understand how there can be joy and worship in our hearts if we are thinking that some people are the elect because (finish the sentence) . . .  Yet it is clear throughout the Bible, even as I today noted in Isaiah 65 and 66, that there is a tension present.  God calls, man answers.  But God also says He invades history to be found of a people who were not seeking Him.  So what is that all about?  I also term this one:  “God the Son” (because He made the atonement, whatever its theological underpinnings).

I-Irresistible Grace.  This is probably the fourth point, one over which many of my Baptist kindred struggle.  I don’t.  I was wooed so definitively by the Holy Spirit that I can’t doubt that His grace is irresistible.  I also term this one:  “God the Holy Spirit” because it is about His precious work in our lives.  

P-Perseverance of the Saints.  Once saved-always saved.  The only Baptists who doubt this are the Free Will Baptists.  I also term this one:  “where man gets to in Christ.”

So . . .  five tenets, man/Father/Son/Holy Spirit/man in Christ.  I just love it.  It is also the clearest Trinitarian doctrine I have heard yet.  Those who hold to this acronym seem to never overemphasize or underemphasize the work of the Holy Spirit.

I also throw out a challenge to any fellow Baptists who call themselves Arminians to really study what Arminius taught.  If you take the five points of Arminianism, you quickly find that most traditional Baptists do not believe three of them right off the bat.  

ImageIt behooves us to study the other two deeply and, no matter where we end up on them, to know and be able to explain what we believe . . .

Link

Using World Vision as a Litmus Test for Spirituality!

26 Mar

Using World Vision as a Litmus Test for Spirituality!

Exactly!  If you break fellowship with me over the fact that I support other worthy organizations instead of World Vision, how do you justify calling yourself progressive?  No one insists on everyone giving to just one charity to prove their Christian faith.  We’re all different and there are many places, people, and organizations that need our support.

Link

God is Not a Divine Child Abuser!

26 Mar

God is Not a Divine Child Abuser!

I worked this line of thinking out for myself about ten years ago . . .

It is very plainly (and poignantly) presented here.

A brilliant and innovative solution for women who want birth control!

25 Mar

Matt Walsh can be over the top sometimes, but in the case of the Hobby Lobby hearing before the Supreme Court, I think he hits it just right.

Link

If You Had Absolute Power to Make One Person Do Something . . .

24 Mar

If You Had Absolute Power to Make One Person Do Something . . .

Fascinating post.

Are we idolatrous?  Overly competitive?  Envious or jealous?  

Short answer:  we all are sometimes.

Should we be asking God to reveal this information to us so we can work to eradicate these tendencies, by His power?

Absolutely.  If we don’t know what our idols are, they probably control us.    

Is There a Separation Between our Body and our Soul?

21 Mar

PantsThis morning, as I left on an early walk, my body resisted me for about the first five minutes.  In fact, I was dragging so much before I got out of our cul-de-sac that I was thrown back to a point a little over two years ago.  It was the first time that I, a woman of more than 260 pounds at the time, tried to take a walk.  I had just joined Weight Watchers and I was determined.  Nevertheless, I was panting before I got out of our cul-de-sac.  I walked for about ten minutes that time, but I had to stop for frequent rests.

 It was not always so.  I spent 27 years in the Navy, most of them in top health or close to it.  A bout of breast cancer in 2008 had led to chemotherapy, with steroids and weight gain.  But, in all honesty, I could only lay 40 of my pounds to the account of the steroids.  The rest had gradually crept on as I rolled through life as a foodie.

I am still a foodie, but by God’s grace I have learned to eat lots more fruits and vegetables and to greatly control my portions of the other things.

All that to say that I am on year three of a lifelong maintenance program.  If I could say two things to my younger friends, they would be:

1) The body and the soul are intrinsically linked.  When I could not get out of my cul-de-sac without panting, a lot of other disciplines in my life were lacking, too.  You could be glib and say I was just lazy but I think I was double-pinned down by my weight.  Not only did I have to move a lot more of me from Point A to Point B, but I think that my lack of good nutrition (lots of processed foods and shortcuts) kept my brain foggy and my energy so low I couldn’t find a way out of the weight trap.

2) Life is a gradual process that takes practice and putting one foot in front of the other for long periods of time. Unless something unusual intervenes, you will still be here in 30 years.  Those could even be your best years, in fact!  So it is best to not grow impatient with yourself if you are fighting any battles with your body.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  That is not fair.  I hit 260 pounds when I was 52.  Who would think I would today be at 145, lower than my high school weight and ever so healthy?  God, that’s Who.

I spent that first year, 2012, just shedding pounds on Weight Watchers.  I didn’t even exercise regularly.  About once a week was average, but some weeks I didn’t exercise at all.

In 2013, I added three sessions of weekly exercise.  If I hit more than that, bravo for me.  But my goal was three times a week.

In 2014, I added morning Bible study before I do anything else.  I now have the energy to do that!!!  Well, on Saturday when we arrive at Weight Watchers at 7, I wait to do Bible study over breakfast, but you know what I mean . . .

It is only now that I see how my spirituality ties very intrinsically in to how my body is functioning.  The Greeks got it wrong.  The body is not a shell carrying around our soul/spirit.  Our body is us.  We need to include it in our total reckoning for life.  We become more spiritual, not less, when we do.

After all, God made our bodies.  Why would we think ourselves more spiritual for neglecting them?

I hope that encourages someone today for the long haul!  We have nothing but time, so take it slowly and establish healthy habits you can live out for the rest of your life.

5 Ways to Be a Better Christian at a Restaurant

20 Mar

We are aware, as Christians, aren’t we, that servers dread Sunday noontime diners? Ever wonder how we have created that impression?

%d bloggers like this: