Posts Tagged ‘predestination’

Here we go. The predestination (Calvinist) argument comes up again. Is this an exclusive club? After all, the Jews were a chosen people? Why can’t we be too? Don’t think so.

Ephesians 1:4-5b
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted . . .

Truthfully, I think the Jews were chosen to carry the mantle of the One God and to prepare the way for the completion of those long ago promises. They were to be the roots from which the tree would grow and the Messiah would emerge. But once the Messiah completed the mission on earth, all humans had access in a way they never had before. All people could come in. Is this a type of predestination? I believe it is. But it is far more spacious than most Christians of today believe.

Christ is the way because the long-awaited Messiah was the promised way. It’s not so much about becoming a Christian as it is accepting the story, the redemption of humanity to God.

This also goes back to the sowing and reaping principle. [Galatians 6:7-8] This is part of the human condition and is a law not unlike gravity. It is the work of the Christ that can break that pattern. Without that messianic intervention, we bear the burden of our sowing alone.

I am not interested in arguing as to whether there are those who are not predestined to accept Christ. Instead, I give thanks for those who have accepted this way. And I give thanks for my own epiphany. Without it, I would be dead by now. This I know to be sure.

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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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