Monday, April 21, 2008
Tiptoe Through The Tulips
Spring has finally sprung, and the Tulips are in bloom. Somehow, in thinking about these flowers that herald spring and bring us hope, I made a huge leap to TULIP. Yes, as in theology...don't even ask what prompted it....
I remember in college being totally frustrated in my theology class. Predestination, Unconditional Election, these did NOT make sense. Neither did Limited Atonement. And where did any of this leave Free Will? Of course, we were taught five point Calvinism at our school - but it just didn't sit right with me, and I struggled. I passed the class - I could parrot what they wanted to hear, but even then I questioned what I was being taught.
That's probably why I struggled long and hard for years in the church I was in. Why I didn't fit. I just didn't think like they did, yet I was raised there....so what was the problem? When I was able to pin it down to some of these issues I could see I was a square peg in a round hole. I fit if I was forced in, because yes, of course you can fit a square peg in a round hole... but it was not a comfortable situation.
I believe pretty strongly in free will. And I believe pretty strongly that "Whosoever will" means just that - God has chosen all of humanity to be his elect, that he chooses to make us all righteous. And I believe that God's grace is resistible - we can refuse it. Why would God force us to love him, to choose him? What kind of relationship would that be?
Think about your relationships - if you force someone to love you, or be your friend - what happens? Resentment, pushing back, lack of trust and a suspect friendship.
So, really four of the petals have pretty much fallen away, leaving one standing - Assurance and Security. I'm still debating this, turning it over and over in my mind. Once you have the gift of God's salvation can you lose it? Calvinists say no, Arminians say yes - you can defiantly reject God. To me, I think once you have that salvation it can't be lost, and this begs the question of just what salvation is, and if you were truly "saved" in the first place. And of course this throws back in the whole concept of works. No, works can't save you, but without works, faith is dead! If there isn't a heart change, a desire to follow Christ and his way, was there ever salvation at all?
Wow - deep thoughts for this beautiful spring day when the tulips are in bloom.