Posts Tagged ‘Calvinism’

Back in the 80’s, I had several friends who were hardcore Calvinists and quite Reformed but they also attended the same “not-very-mainstream” charismatic Methodist church at the time. Somehow, even though Calvinism is counter to the Methodist Book of Discipline (doctrine), we all got along, more or less.

Romans 8:29
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Just when I think I’m getting things, when I feel as though clarity is right around the corner, I’m confronted with this scripture and all the memories of arguments and disagreements and frustrations about the ultimate meaning of this passage and it’s sister in Ephesians 1:11. This is the stuff that theologians love to dissect.

Honestly, this one is right up there with pre and post-tribulation controversies. Blech!

Here’s my opinion, for whatever it’s worth. Some people are predestined for a particular purpose. I don’t believe this necessarily means predestined for a salvation/relationship which is available to everyone [I Timothy 2:1-4]. Since I enjoy the mysterious aspects of Christ’s way and its paradoxes, I believe there are those people who have a powerful anointing from God. Their path is set, from being called, to being justified, to being glorified [Romans 8:30]. They are the ones who become translucent and the Spirit shines through them. Some will reach this state in a human lifetime, others in that Christ-time eternal.

Is God sovereign? Yes. But God operates outside of time and to discuss God’s view, who will do what and when, seems ludicrous. There is no “when.” Only we, humans, in 3-D time are operating linearly and therefore, trying to figure out what’s next or why things happened in our past the way they did.

I think some people can be anointed for a season and others for a lifetime: God time.

Some years ago, I wrote a note to a woman at a retreat out of an anointing. Several years later, she happened to be at a meeting where I was speaking and came up to me, still carrying that worn-out note which had been life-changing for her. Predestined? I don’t know, but certainly, a type of glory. Christ broke through me to her because it was needful. To this day, I have no idea what was even written in that note.

How I respond to Christ will not change because of someone’s interpretation of this scripture and its codification in either Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion or John Wesleys’ Book of Discipline.

Jesus is firstborn, elder brother. He is showing the way as the rest of us are adopted into the family.

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Acts 13:48b
“…all who were appointed for eternal life believed.”

My husband is totally annoyed by telephone marketers. We have put ourselves on all the “don’t call” lists and yet, every once in awhile, it still seems as though a few get through. If they do call and it’s Mike that answers the phone, he yanks their chain a bit and asks them, “do you have an appointment?” It really throws them off their game. And in the end, he tells them that he does no business on the telephone unless they have an appointment. I am waiting for the industrious sales person who actually writes Mike and requests an appointment.

When we lived in Atlanta, we had a friend who was very interested in Calvinism, Armenianism and predestination. I am not a good one to explain the nuances but I do know that there are many people who hold to the idea that only those who are “predetermined” or “chosen” will accept Christ. While others, believe that anyone can be saved. Some denominations are known to follow along these lines, Presbyterians are generally Calvinistic while Methodists are Armenian.

Certainly, this scripture fragment seems to imply that only those who were appointed for that time accepted the message that Paul and Barnabas preached.

But here’s my answer to all of this… an appointment can be for today or it can be for tomorrow. Just because someone’s appointed time is not today does not mean that he/she will not have another appointment with Christ in the future. It is not for us to judge. I believe I missed some of my appointments with the Lord and surely, my life would be different today had I accepted Christ in a meaningful way as a teenager or in college.

Now, I know that the Calvinists take it the next step and say that the appointment they are talking about is the “ultimate appointment.” In other words, everyone who is chosen by God in advance will eventually find God. Since God is sovereign, no one can really resist God. We have free will but, really, God can hit the override button at any time.

So, in the end, because I agree with that one key part, that God is sovereign, I believe God can override any destiny … any destiny. There are none who need to live out their lives separated from the grace, peace and love of God.

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