Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Brief Explanation of a Biblical Concept - Laying the Groundwork for a Future Post

So I always refer to myself as being biblical in my theology and pursuit of God. I often say this in reference to systematic theology, when someone asks me to which systematic theology I adhere. What I mean by that is that rather than looking at the Bible through a systematic lens, I instead try to look at my broad beliefs about God (systematic theology) through a biblical lens. Basically meaning that I do not hold strictly to the 5 points of Calvin because I read in Scripture that Moses prayed and changed the heart of God. But it also means that I don't hold to the 5 points of Arminianism because there are only 2-3 places in Scripture that I can find evidence for these things. So I have to find a way to reconcile the Arminian passages with the Calvinist and there is my biblical theology.

Ok, enough talk with big words and describing how it is that I see these things. All you really need to know is that I do not hold tightly to any one person's view of the Bible, but I think that there is still value in taking a step back from the Bible and addressing some of the big issues of the faith from a general knowledge of the Scripture rather than a specific interpretation of one passage, which is what I am going to do today, hence this long prologue.

So there are two different ways of looking at our salvation. Both hold that Christ took our sins upon himself on the cross, thus canceling the written code, and that by faith we look to him for our salvation. This is where one side now differs to say that this faith is the gift of God (Eph 2:8-9) and that unless God draws us, but not only draws but also establishes us as His child, we will not look on the Son and be saved (John 6:25-70). There are many more verses that speak of this, but I will leave it here, it is the idea that we are completely powerless to save ourselves, that we are completely unregenerate, lost in sin, and haters of God, but that while we were still sinners Christ died for us and God made us His sons and daughters.

Now, the other side argues that, while the work of Christ is entirely sufficient for our salvation, while it is entirely by grace we have been saved, that even though there is no work we can do to earn our salvation, they hold that we must still have faith. That it is our work of faith that brings the righteousness of Christ. That while God draws us we still have the choice to follow or not to follow. That we wake up everyday and it is our choice, not the work of the Holy Spirit, that causes us to decide to live for Christ or not for Christ that day.

Now that I have all of you thoroughly bored and wondering why in the world I'm saying all of this....I'm not going to tell you. I actually had a reason for saying this, but this post has become too long, so I'm going to wrap it up and write the rest later. Now, in case you didn't know, the first point that I detailed is monergism, which is Calvinism. This is the interpretation of Scripture that I lean towards, and I do truly believe that even to trust in Christ is the work of the Spirit in my life, and that to walk with God is to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh (Rom 8). The second viewpoint that I detailed is synergism, the work of the Spirit in accordance with my will. This is a key point in Arminianism, which I do not adhere to.

Many people say, "So what? Why would I want or need to know these things? They seem like just splitting hairs." I would say that it is important because these are matters of life and death! Go read Romans 8 where it says that to walk in the Spirit is life but to walk in the flesh is death. Now if I am getting up every morning thinking that by doing something I am drawing near to God, if I look at my actions throughout the day as me striving to come to God, if I deny the Spirit and the work of the Spirit in my heart, thus blaspheming him (Matthew 12:22-32), then these are great consequences! Now, I am not suggesting that Arminians blaspheme the Holy Spirit and are thus not Christians, some of the strongest believers that I know are Arminian, but what I am saying is that I see a danger in that theological understanding, I see the fires of Hell buried in that way of living my life, and I think that it is a more correct understanding of Scripture to say that there is nothing that I can do to present myself, or bring myself before God.

No comments:

Post a Comment