domenica, agosto 06, 2006

Iron Sharpening Iron

Yesterday was a wonderful day! It started out with a visit our friends which we worshiped with in Mandeville before we moved. It seems like it had been forever since we had seen everyone! There is always great fellowship with these brothers and sisters, but today it was even more interesting because we discussed pado-baptism vs credo-baptism, the New Perspective on Paul and various other "hot topics" surrounding Christianity. It was so rich that we didn't want to leave, and put off our departure for as long as we could. It's funny when you think that you know where someone is coming from and what they believe then WHAM! They say something totally unexpected, especially when you find out that they're thinking the same thing you are. Ah, the sweetness of like-mindedness!

So just as I thought that I'd had my fill of debate and theological thinking for the day, we made a stop through Folsom to our other old fellowship. We had been there a little over an hour when I was standing in the kitchen, talking to my friend Leah about the weather or some such thing. We had been talking quite happily about nothing in particular for a few minutes when someone who I hadn't even seen in five years walked up and after a few minutes looked to me and said "So, are you a Calvinist?" My first response was a blank stare. After I realized that it was a serious question that was awaiting an answer (even though I knew that it was rhetorical) I thought Oh no, here it goes again! and fumbled some sort affirmative reply. So it began. Now, debating Calvinism is nothing new for my sister and me, but I'll have to admit that it had been a very long time since I'd talked about the subject with someone with an opposing view. In fact, as I thought back to the last time I debated it, I realized that it was the last time I was at this fellowship.
So there I was, with no Merisha and no Bible, trying to explain why I believed in total depravity, and trying to understand his point in the analogy of the nature of the coke can (never did figure that out, by the way).
After a while, it came time to leave and it was decided that we'd talk about children being born sinful vs being born a blank slate another day. As we proceeded towards the exit, we entered the dining room where we found Merisha discussing the same topics with another group of people.
Merisha always articulates her thoughts during theological debates much better than I do, and never seems intimidated or ruffled, which continues to amaze me. By the time it was finished, there were 9 or so people all giving their two cents, and it was great! We all stayed for a bit longer and (as usual) ended up agreeing to disagree.

As I tried to discover what it was about debating theology that I liked so much, I realized that there is something wonderful about constantly being challenged to go back to the Bible for your answers. In no conversation during the day was anyone convinced of the other person's views, (in fact, Merisha just walked in and declared "His explanation of Romans 9 is completely implausible! Would you like to hear why?") but they all made me think and challenged my views. It made me go back to the Bible and say "Okay, why do I believe this? Where is it in the Bible?" After all, if my view isn't firmly planted in the Word of God, it needs to be challenged and blown out of the water.

At the end of the day, it isn't about who's right and who's wrong, it's about drawing near to the throne of grace and humbly asking God for wisdom. We're all in the same boat, striving toward the same goal, trying to understand as much as we can with our finite minds.
So next time someone asks "Credo or Pado?", "What about the New Perspective?" or, of course, the ever-popular "How could anyone be a Calvinist?" I'll recall the last time these views were challenged, remember the Scriptures, breathe a prayer for wisdom, and - by God's grace, with confidence and meekness of spirit - will make a defense for the hope which is within me.

~Robin <><

4 commenti:

Elijah ha detto...

Ok, so maybe a hey long time no see how you doing would have been a better opening line. But half the fun is catching one off-guard.

Well, I wouldn't want you to go on thinking that I am just odd making random analogies to things that have no revelance to the topic. So I'll try to explain what I did not when we left off. At least so you can see what my point was, agree or not.

Using the same coke can analogy. The Coke can's nature is aluminum with red and white metal dyes. That is it's nature. It has several applications. Consider. You can use it for something from which to drink. Or use it as a makeshift knife. You can use it as a percusion weapon even. If you use it as a weapon, you did not change it's nature. It is still aluminum with red and white dyes. You are only making bad use of it's nature. You're application of that nature is the err not the nature itself.

What is sin? Transgression of the law. Is your nature itself a transgression of the law? God hasmade no law prescribing what nature or constitutional powers one must have. That would be like making a law that said, "You shall have blue eyes." But this is even worse. Because it is enforced by the penalty of death. It be like (if you were in Isrealite when a rebellious son would be stoned) saying to your child, "I'm going to poke you in the eye. If you blink, you'll be condemned of rebelion and be stoned."

To quote C. Finney, "The fact is, sin never can consist in having a nature nor in what nature is; but only and alone in the bad use which we make of our nature." One verse I think that shows this point very concisely is Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. If it was true we all had sinful natures (even if that is restricted to before salvation), then homosexuality would not be against their nature. People would have a choice between bad and evil without good ever being an option. How many natures is it possible to have? Nature was defined by Webster in 1828 as, "The essence, essential qualities or attributes of a thing". Can a thing have multiple contradictory essences, qualities, or attributes? Can a man have two arms, two eyes, two legs, two ears, et al and have only one eye, only one ear, no legs or arms?

Anyway, sorry didn't mean for this to get so long. I always fear that my point won't be understood without going from a to z and as a result I usually have long posts.

It was nice talking to you again. I don't wish to bring a petty issue such as this inbetween one of my companions (Psa 119:63). When it gets down to it, Jesus said in John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Now as 1 John 1:7 if we walk in the light as He is in the light then we have fellowship one with another and His blood cleanses us from all sin. That transcends the Calvinist-Arminian debate. It's the type of doctrine that Paul often spoke of. That is the lifestyle of a Christian. How they walk above sin, . Being servants, ministers, and ambassadors of Christ. Walking in perfect righteousness and holiness on the foundation of Christ in love. In all things remaining blameless that the ministry be not blamed. We're all servants with the same master. And He has said that He'll lead us in to all true.

Well, I don't mind helping Him as much as He will allow, as I'm sure you would too. Glory be to God who has predestined us who believe to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Once again sorry for the length and for rambling on. 1Pe 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Avalon's Fountains ha detto...

Some times Iron can be over sharpened and thus becomes useless.
But that takes alot of sharpening.
It was really good to see you Sunday. Nothing beats all being together again, yakking about Calvinsim and all. I'd have more to say but I writing a post about it all so you can read it in a few days.

LIGHT FOREVER!

The.Warrior.Of.Ages

Avalon's Fountains ha detto...

That Christain guy, he has a real cool blog. Like it just ooze's with neatness and divine wisdom!

You should read it more often.

Robin ha detto...

Elijah,
Well yeah, "hi" would have been okay, but I have to admit that shock factor is much more fun.
The analogy of the coke can is interesting. I don't agree with it nor with the being murdered for blinking analogy, but I guess that's no big surprise. :)

I know that this is sort of a pain, but I really don't like analogies at all. I almost never use them for the reason that just because something is true in an analogy doesn't have anything to do with it being true in real life under real and different (or else it wouldn’t be an analogy) circumstances. For example, one day Merisha and James were debating and she made the analogy "If a person chooses to adopt one child and not the whole orphanage full, no one accuses them of being unjust." This, we would all say, is true. What a wonderful thing to adopt an unwanted child and place them in a godly home. How could anyone in their right mind say that it’s not fair to only adopt one or two children but this person is required to adopt every orphan in the world? But James was ready with an analogy of his own "But what if there was a burning building and someone was fully able to rescue every person in the building and didn't?" A very good analogy too, I’m the first to admit. But I realized at that point, what I had suspected for a long time: just how much I hated analogies. For one thing, they always, always break down. And for another, just because something makes sense in the analogy, it doesn’t mean it is biblical. So the point is: what does the Bible say? When you're no longer arguing over the scripture and suddenly arguing over analogies - rather or not they're good, and rather or not it applies in or transfers to the topic at hand - I think the conversation becomes more intellectual and less biblical. I’ve heard some incredible and very convincing analogies to illustrate and prove points about Calvinism, Catholicism, Baptist beliefs, Mormonism, Word of Faith people…you name it! But until I see a scripture that clearly states a position on its own, I remain unconvinced.
I’m not trying to rag you about using analogies. Really. It’s a free country, and you have every right to make your point in whatever way you want to. I just wanted to explain why I’m not, and never will be, convinced by any analogy, even if it “proves” my point. I’ll not go through all of the points where I think that your analogies break down for the reasons listed above. I’m not just trying to be difficult! One last point on the subject, and then I’ll step off of the soap box. I am not so naïve as to not realize that some scriptures are analogical (the leaven, for example). In these circumstances, the allegories are divinely inspired, infallible and are perfect to describe the point. In other words, I only like analogies given directly in the Bible. That’s just me.

Okay, then there was the scripture…Rom 1:26. It is obvious that homosexuality is against nature. Not necessarily against “their sinful nature” or “the flesh” or “man in his separated from God state” or whatever you want to call it…but against nature itself, the way humans were physically designed. I shan’t expound on my point, but maybe at least you can see where I’m coming from.

So anyway, I don’t think that you’re being petty. I’m always relieved when people thoroughly explain their points. That way I can really have an idea of where they’re coming from and am not left to assuming things and reading between the lines. The issue is fun and interesting to discuss, and as long as no one is mad at each other and thinking that the other is going to hell, we’re okay. :)
Orthodox believers through the centuries have held both views, we can only expect that it will be the same today and forever until the mysteries of God are revealed.

So there you go. My response to your response to my post about our conversation. Of course, feel free to volley back if you’d like, and anyone else add your two cents!
Who knows, maybe next time we’ll pick up where we left off…or perhaps we’ll find something new to debate about, like bible versions :)

Christian,
It was great to see y’all again too. Maybe next time we won’t be so far between visits! I’m not sure if I understand your point about the iron being able to become over sharpened, or if you had one at all, but I think I’ve got so much to learn that I’m a long way from being “too sharpened”! Progressive sanctification, you know. :)
Talk to you soon…looking forward to the updated edition of the book! By the way, I’m e-mailing you the REAL edited version (I think Merisha accidentally sent you the unedited one that you initially sent us).

Wow, talk about a long comment!

Saluti
~Robin <><