Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Calvin and Me

I recently wrote this in reply to a question on an email list about whether the God of Reformed Calvinists is the same loving God of other protestant denominations.

I am a reformed Calvinist. I attend a reformed Calvinist church. This is the best church I have ever been in my entire saved life. I spent twelve years in a typical baptist church where my spirit waxed and waned and where I was the oddball for allowing the Lord to open and close my womb and for homeschooling. By the time I left that church, I was cynical and depressed. My spirit was just beaten and had rarely (especially at the end) received the nourishment it needed in the baptist church I was in. When we changed churches, it was like a veil was lifted from me. My heart began to be convicted anew of sins I had not seen before, because I was in a spiritual coma. Life became pleasant again, and I no longer had a critical spirit. I too, battled with the idea that if some of God's creation were predestined, then logically, some were created unto damnation. But that is wrong thinking. God calls whom He will call, and since absolutely none of us deserves His grace, who am I to judge His intentions about the elect? When I was doing that, it was as if I thought I knew better than God. I have since repented and know that it is not my place to say whom the Lord should save through His election. When we read through the old testament, do we not see the Lord "playing" favorites, as it were? He chose Jacob over Esau, He chose Abel over Cain, He chose Isaac over Ishmael. He saved Noah and his immediate family, but no one else. He saved Lot and his daughters, but not others. I'm sure there are more examples I am missing right now. Anyway, who am I to tell the Lord whom He should save? I am nothing, I am the creation, He is the creator. Isaiah 45:9 "Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'?

As far as missions goes, if a church does not believe in sending missionaries to the far ends of the earth, then that church is disobeying a direct command of our Lord. I would say to anyone, run away from a church like that, no matter their denomination. My church went on 5 mission trips this last year, we had a missions conference and 12 of our young people and 10 more older people committed to moving towards a life of missions. We currently support approximately 8 missionary families and intend to support those leaving from our church to go into the mission field. My oldest son, who is 17 today, is finishing high school this year with his mind on becoming a missionary to Mexico. In fact, becoming a missionary as soon as possible is what finally motivated him to get his schoolwork done and not only done, but done early. We are commanded by our Lord and savior to Go!

Just because the Lord chooses whom He will choose, does not make Him an unloving God at all. It makes Him a loving and just God. He keeps His word. I am so thankful to now believe in the election of the saints, as before, I was always worried if I was really saved. Am I doing all the right things. Even before, though I "knew" that I could not save myself, now I really know it. It takes the pressure off of me. I do have assurance of salvation as well.

John Piper and John Macarthur are both Calvinist. If you can get some books by either one, they explain it so much better AND accurately. Also, Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem is very good.

My knowledge of Calvinism probably isn't as refined as it should be. But I know this, the Lord is a loving and Just God and He changed my life radically when I responded to His wooing. I am not saved by Calvin, but by grace alone, in Christ alone, through faith alone.
Serving a loving, all mighty, all knowing God.


~Tonia said...

I agree if a church is not active in the mission field be it here at home or the farthest ends of the earth something is wrong..
One thing about God playing Favorites all of those mentioned that didnt get saved had a choice.. Esau had a choice but he sold his birthright. Cain knew his sacrific wasnt worthy and became angry because his brother had the right sacrific. Ishmael was the product of disobeying God and Sarah not having faith in God and Abraham allowing it to happen. Noah preached to the people but they mocked him and didnt believe.. Abraham talked to God to try and spray Soddam and Gomorrah but God couldnt find a righteous man. He did send angels to warn Lot and his wife was still to enthralled with what they were leaving behind to trust God and not look back..
God created man with a Free Will. To either worship and obey him or not.
I know there are many different religions but there is only one bible. When we judge we are not following some of the most explicit instructions in the bible. No one can say they cant understand that!Lol
I thinks its great your son is so focused on his calling! Not many kids are that focused they seem to wonder through life never quite figuring out their purpose.
I know a girl that this last summer went to Eucador(sp?).. She came back different. It really changed things for her.
I have another friend her husband is from Guatamala he had a burden for his family and they with their children have moved back there and their church has grown to 170 in less than 2 years. God is willing to work if we are willing to let him use our life.. But sometimes we tend to try and tell him what to do... That Human nature is hard to control.. That being said not all of us are called to foreign missions type work but in reality it all is missionary type work. He seeks to save those which are lost... Who is that? The World...
I dont know where all that came from LOL Leaving this comment made me realize I havent discussed things like this in a while.. Been to bound up in the day to day life and stress...
Thanks for the posting! And Happy Birthday to Corban!

Heather said...

Thanks, Tonia, for your thoughts on the matter. I will definitely be looking into the bible stories you are referring to and reading them again. Meanwhile, I have written another post about predestination based on what I read in scripture. But I love all believers whether our beliefs are in perfect alignment (ha!) or not.