God’s plan

I’ve had a wonderful exchange with my good friend Tanya about predestination and the glory of God.

[spring-sprang] The more I read about Calvinism, the more I disagree with it stressing the idea of predestination. Even if it is very important and even if their understanding of it is correct, I don’t see why such a great emphasis should be laid on this particular idea… I’m afraid, it may redirect our attention from something more relevant to us to the things that are, anyway, beyond our understanding and that we are likely to misinterpret. I may be wrong, of course.

[cristian]Well, the reason is pretty obvious and with it I agree: it takes all responsibility for salvation away from us and gives all credit and efficient grace to God.

What do you make of this? “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace…” (Gal 1:15)
Don’t forget, it’s not about how the question appears to our understanding from logic or common sense or our idea (by ours I mean, outside Scripture) of God, but how the Authority teaches about it. I have my doubts, of course. But, to stress Mark’s yesterday’s words (click here for Mark Meynell’s sermon podcast), the idea is not a modern concept, but the whole word is there. It’s our idea of predestination as well as the idea of modern European philosophers (who have shaped our thinking, to a certain extent) that have taken the concept from Paul’s teaching. I think our dislike has to do more with the word itself (pre-destination) than with what it may mean to us, if correctly understood. I’m always urging everyone to be ready to break down any walls that may stand in the way to Biblical teaching. A friend of mine, as I think I’ve told you, agrees with Scripture as long as her ideas stay intact. Again, I have my doubts about predestination. But it’s important, I’m sure, if only to recognize that we are not at all responsible for our coming to Christ. If you let a small section of a castle wall undefended, be sure the whole keep will fall that very day! As I told you yesterday, it’s either God 100% or nothing at all. And I am ready to proclaim to him this great honour that he is everything in everything, to me. There is a concept in modern theology, called prevenient grace: it’s God’s grace that enables us to freely embrace Him. I keep having my doubts but I’m sure the Lord will open my eyes to such an aperture that all these things will become clear as alpine air.
[spring-sprang] Yes, I agree with you on all these points, and I really appreciated Mark’s sermon (see link above)…  But I think, what he told us, differs significantly from some basic ideas of Calvinism.
I was also thinking of th following: being called to serve God is one thing, being saved is another. It can be that the latter follows immediately from the former. But I prefer to place emphasis on the fomer: by His amazing grace, we are called to serve him – this is the new purpose of our life, and to lose it would mean to lose life itself. While the purpose is clear before us, for the moment being, we are safe from desperation, safe from many sins, which would otherwise invade our soul, safe from the feeling of loss… But being ‘saved’… Oh, I just can’t grasp the meaning of the word…
Probably, my knowledge of the Scripture is not sufficient to discuss these things… Anyway, I get terribly tired when I start thinking of such matters as ‘being saved’. (When I was writing this to you yesterday, I must have fallen asleep at the word ‘tired’:) – I just couldn’t resist the tiredness and was even not able to wish noaptă bună to you…)
Just an image:
Someone finds himself in the middle of an ocean, though he doesn’t know he is so far from the shore – he can see a large expance of water all around him, but he still hopes that he is out of danger. It is impossible for him to save himself. Yet, he chooses one direction at random and thinks that in a few moments the land will appear before him. And then he notices a ship. It moves towards him. It approaches him. He hears a voice that calls him on board. He realises that this ship is here to lead him to salvation. But he may be obstinate. He may say: no, I’m a good swimmer. I can do without your help. Besides, we are moving in the opposite directions. And, most importantly, I don’t trust you – I’m uncertain about your intentions. Even if you don’t want to enslave me, I don’t want to be your debtor. I need my freedom and independence. So I will save myself.
He simply doesn’t know that it is impossible.

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