Over at the White Horse Inn, a ministry with a weekly radio show and magazine, Michael Horten responds on the subject of perceptions about Calvinism in regard to predestination. Michael Horten has responded to the often assumed “hyper-” views of Calvinism, as well as challenges to Arminian views. Too frequently I feel we misunderstand, and therefore misrepresent, the view held by others within the faith.
There are views that I find difficult to understand how people see them that way, but I try not to judge peoples hearts based on them. We seem to have lost the art of discussion without anger and judgement. That is sad since we are called to think on and discuss our understanding of His commands pretty much all the time in what is probably one of my favorite passages from the Bible.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” - (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV)
Not being able to voice ones beliefs without fear of verbal assault is killing personal growth in theological understanding in our communities. If we aren’t prepared to defend our position then we should be spurred to investigate it further. Any increased study prayerfully undertaken should produce the blessing of further comfort and possible correction of previously misunderstood texts. Now not everything we undertake to study is an overnight effort. Sometimes the journey to arrive at what you fully believe on a specific topic is fraught with moments of disbelief and doubt in your own understanding, being willing to change your position is part of the maturity we all seek to achieve.
I pray we recover reasoned diligent discussion through debate, it is a tremendously beneficial skill that offers the reward of refining and sharpening our understanding of the Lords word. Understanding why someone is saying what they are saying frequently yields results that are closer to your own than you previously would have thought, and often spurs study which ultimately strengthens all involved.
My favorite portion of his post is below…
Reformed theology has maintained consistently that Scripture teaches God’s exhaustive sovereignty and human responsibility. God does not cause evil. In fact, God does not force anyone to do anything against his or her will. And yet, nothing lies outside of the wise, loving, good, and just plan “of him who works all things after the council of his own will” (Eph 1:11). That God’s sovereignty and human responsibility are true, no serious student of Scripture can deny. How they can be true is beyond our capacity to understand. As Calvin put the matter, following Luther, any attempt to unravel the mystery of predestination and human responsibilty beyond Scripture is a “seeking outside the way.” “Better to limp along this path,” says Calvin, “than to rush with all speed outside of it.”