Green Piece

The simple musings of a man who thought he knew everything . . .

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Calvinism vs. Freewill 1

You can't be a Christian for very long without eventually getting into the debate of Calvinism vs Freewill. I, like many other Christians, have a position that I am confident is correct. There is a forthcoming post where I am going to lay out what I believe on this subject and why I believe it, but for now I just want to address the division that many believers - especially the Southern Baptists - are experiencing.

It is definitely important to flesh out what we believe about God, and debates within Christian circles on the "non-essentials" can be healthy, and even important, however, this issue has driven a wedge, not just between denominations, but between believers who otherwise agree on everything. This need not be so.

The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the matter of assigning motives to those with whom we disagree. Many that believe in free will say that Calvinists believe what they believe so they won't have to witness, or because they want to be a part of some movement, or because of some other invalid reason. Conversely, many Calvinists will accuse those that believe in free will of not being able to accept that God is perfectly sovereign or that they are unwilling to really look at the scriptures or some other invalid reason. It never occurs to some people that the person with an opposing viewpoint may just really believe that the Bible teaches something and that, despite the consequences of that belief, they cannot pretend to believe any other way.

The first step in any debate between two believers who disagree on some aspect of the scriptures is to, until proven differently, believe the best about the other person's motives. Please don't think that I am trying to suggest that maybe both sides are right or some other nonsense like that. Without question, somebody is wrong here (and I am pretty sure that person is not me). But what's wrong with both people laying out what they believe the scriptures teach, backing it up with scripture, and then if their "opponent" is not swayed just leaving it at that, secure in the knowledge that both of you love God, serve Christ and that when you both get to Heaven that other person will finally realize that he is wrong.

I especially like this post on Calvinism, and I like that comments associated with it. Nobody is angry and nobody is accusing anyone else of bad motives. The commenters and author of the post can walk away from this discussion with clean hands and a pure heart.

There is a world out there that doesn't know or care about our free will or God's sovereignty. This world needs the Church to be unified, but instead we let our minor beliefs divide the body.

And Satan is laughing.

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