So the hot topic in the evangelical Protestant world right now is Calvinism. Well, here I’m going to describe what it is from the perspective of someone who was raised not knowing what it was, have ready from many of the proponents and opponents of it, and have come to embrace it as an amazingly comforting doctrine. This may get a bit basic but that hopefully makes for a good foundation.
What is Calvinism? No, this is not the religious following of a kid and his stuffed tiger. It’s a system of Christian beliefs based on the teachings of John Calvin (as well as the Bible itself – you can tell I’m biased). Typically, Reformed Theology (the theology of the Protestant Reformation – a more accurate name than Calvinism) his summarized with five points that form the acrostic TULIP. So we will go over the five points in that order. Continue reading
So this has been written on quite a bit online, but I wanted to present this idea just so people who might not have heard it will have an understanding of importance of theological issues. Dr. Al Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, originally presented this in A Theology for the Church (edited by Dr. Daniel Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC). In the conclusion, he wrote a chapter entitled The Pastor As Theologian where he presented the concept of Theological Triage. Many have heard the term triage in relation to a hospital’s emergency room. This is the process through which they determine the severity of injuries as they enter the ER and assign them accordingly (e.g. gunshots wounds are seen before sprained ankles). This same process can be brought to bear on theological issues. For example, disagreements on the freedom to drink alcohol is not as severe as disagreements on the deity of Christ. Continue reading
So I’ve been listening to the CCEF podcast recently and heard Elliot Greene from Redeemer Theological Seminary speak. One thing he said specifically made me think. He said we’re all addicts. That confused me at first but then I thought about it. Some are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other physical substances. Others are addicted to getting their way, pleasing others, or pleasing themselves. Still others are addicted to controlling every situation around them, holiday traditions, or even sitting down when they get home from work. I would go so far as to say that addictions are universal. You know why? We were created for addiction. However, it was to be addicted to the Creator. That was the design. All that fell apart in Genesis 3 when man chose to disobey God and therefore sin. What can we learn from all this? Instead of the addiction I mentioned about (or feel free to insert your own), our addiction should be for our Creator. That cannot happen without a heart that has been regenerated and brought back to life by God. Otherwise we’re all just dead in our addictions.
I saw this amazing blog post from Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology and had to repost it:
On September 12, 1933, 35-year-old Clive Staples Lewis wrote a letter to his dear friend Arthur Greeves. The letter is located in the Wade Center at Wheaton College–just down the street from where I am typing right now.
Greeves had written to Lewis asking about the degree to which we can speak, if at all, of God understanding evil in any kind of experiential way–as Greeves had put it, ‘sharing’ in our evil actions.
I heard something interesting tonight in my philosophy class. Like you probably have, I’ve heard that Christianity is not a religion, its a relationship. Those who say that are right to distinguish Christianity from other belief systems. I always thought of religion as something you do “religiously,” ie. pray five times a day or the like. I never looked up the word, though. Here’s what the dictionary says:
Religion (re – li – gion) noun
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods
ORIGIN Middle English (originally in the sense [life under monastic vows]): from Old French, or from Latin religio(n-) ‘obligation, bond, reverence,’ perhaps based on Latin religare ‘to bind.’
To build on what my philosophy professor said tonight (Dr. Evans), if you’re a Christian and not bound, you better get bound! Further, I don’t think you can be a Christian if you are not bound to Christ. That’s kind of the definition.
Now, I do agree with distinguishing the dichotomy between religious ritual and, as Pastor Jimmy says, “a relationship with the God of the universe.” That is the difference between Christianity and all other belief systems in the world.