Tension: one of the reasons I love studying theology

I recently read a well thought out post by a Calvinistic friend who’s posts I read often about Calvinism relating to unconditional election. He explained how Arminians try to solve tension. Arminians’ quest to solve tension is one of their main problems/mistakes. There are a lot of tensions in Scripture and in theology. We do not have to solve these tensions. For example the Trinity, it does not make sense, but we do not find reason to resolve the tension created. The Trinity is not Irrational but it is difficult. Yet we understand that there is a certain amount of mystery involved in theology. Somethings that we humans cannot quite understand fully. One of the main points in Micheal’s post is that Calvinists and Arminians take a different perspective. Both see that God is Sovereign, but in different ways. They both believe in predestination but the difference is in the basis of predestining.

“The Calvinist says that God’s predestination has no founding in the predestined in any sense. God did not choose people based on any merit, intrinsic or foreseen. This is called unconditional predestination because there are no conditions in man that need to be met. It does not mean that God did not have any reason for choosing some and not others, but that the reason is not found in us.

The Arminian says that God’s predestination has a founding in the faith of the predestined. In other words, God looks ahead in time and discovers who will believe and who will not and chooses people based on their prior free-will choice of him.”

Michael brought a real interesting argument to the table. It is a good read and I suggest you take a look for yourself.

Scripture teaches both of God’s Sovereignty and Man’s responsibility. The Arminians found a solution to the conflict. Calvinists are left wanting more.
“To the Calvinists, man is fully responsible for his choice, yet God’s election is unconditional. Therefore, there is a tension that is created between human responsibility and God’s election.”

Man may not know how to understand how it works. The balance and tension of man’s responsibility and God’s unconditional election…it is amazing to think about. It is amazing how God lets it all happen but yet is in control either way. It is great stuff.

This post really was great for me because of my stance on unconditional election and predestination. The more I study it the more I feel like I have no idea what I am talking about. But I do not feel satisfied with the extreme arguments of the two sides, in the false dichotomy of Calvinism and Arminianism.

It was refreshing to see others alongside of Michael in the comments section of his post reflecting on it and realizing that there is a tension and mystery to some issues like this topic. And there is a balance to the arguments. And that the truth is ultimately in God’s hands.

Well anyways, thanks Michael for getting me exciting about theology again. This is one of the main reasons I love studying it…some of these things that I cannot get my brain around are fun to think about. The tension and mystery is like an adrenaline rush and a puzzle to piece all at the same time.

why people get so sad about being single

I don’t get it…

If they truly believe that there is ONE person out there for them why do they think it has to be EVERY SINGLE GIRL they run into, every girl they have a crush on, or every girl in the city they live in?

they get upset about every girl that does not like them, every single girl that just wants to be friends every single girl that passed them up…

Why are they so stressed out? Why are they so when there are so many fish in the sea?

That is just crazy talk. First off because it is not about dating every girl or wearing your heart on your sleeve over every girl. Do be so desperate.

Second it is about finding the right person for you, not a popularity contest. Not about always having someone to date. Not about dating for the heck of it.

It is about finding your soul mate. Relax. this will be an adventure. This will take some time. The first girl you pluck out of the crowd is probably not going to be the answer. It might….but why have such high hopes.

Maybe it is just me. I like myself. I am unique and special. I am a not the type of person every woman/girl is going to even want to date. That is cool. I do not want to date every single girl either. I am holding out for some one who fits with me.

I am a specialty item. Novelty, per say. I am proud of it too.
Why cry about that? That is good stuff.

Alex

Works Cited for the devotional I made and posted this past week

Schooley, Keith. (8-2-06)“The New Perspective and Ephesians.” The Schooley Files blog. Detroit. MI.
Accessed on 11-8-08 from http://www.schooleyfiles.com/2006/08/new-perspective-and-
ephesians.html
Kinnaman, David and Lyons, Gabe. UnChristian: What a new generation really thinks about
Christianity…and why it matters. Grand Rapids: Baker Books. 2007.

Willard, Dallas, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding how God changes lives. San Francisco:
Harper Collins, 1991.
The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1952.
Zodhiates Spiros,. The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary: New Testament, World Bible Publishers, 1992.
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Grand Rapids: Discovery
House Publishers 1963.

Day Seven – What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?

Day Seven – What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?
Passage: Pet
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.

(NIV) Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Does the term “living sacrifice” scare you a little? It should. When Paul is asking us to transform our minds and our lives in order to sacrifice, he is not joking around. The same is true with Peter’s writing. Also let’s not forget the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in , “You will be hated by all because of My name.” You will suffer as Christ did, if you are serious about obedience and humility. But learning from Christ and learning to be like Christ means that we will be living sacrifices.
So what does it mean? As we have studied this week, learning from Christ and learning to be like Christ means that we be humble. We need to be willing to set aside our own agenda. Sacrifice our time, energy, and money for the Lord to serve other men. Being a living sacrifice mean we die to ourselves. And we instead let our entire beings be used by God for his purpose. We give up our own bodies and mind to God every day. All of it is His!
It is worth it in the end. When we suffer for Christ, we are free from sin! We are choosing to do God’s will. It is amazing to fathom. As says, we are new creations in Christ. And to end with one note of encouragement: Dallas Willard upon reflecting on , asks us to imagine the cost of non-disciple. Sure the cost of discipline is high, but the cost of non-discipline is even greater (Willard, 1). Take on the yoke of the Lord and humbly serve others!

Day Six – Obedient Servant

Day Six – Obedient Servant Passage: , ,
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Paul reflects on Jesus’ teaching again. In , Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.” Paul goes an extra step. He says there are two choices, sin or obedience. In his letter to Romans, we see that when we offer ourselves in obedience, this is pleasing to God. It is an act of worship! Can you fathom what is happening here?
We are given only two choices, but when we decide to do the right thing, God is excited! God is happy! It is not just “status quo” to be obedient; it is not “following rules,” but an act of worship! When we obey, we are showing respect, devotion, and honor to God. And God blesses us for that. He blesses us with His will, His perfect and pleasing will. Will you be a slave for Christ? Or will you be a slave to sin? Those are the choices!

Day Five – In but not of the world Passage: Rom 12:1,2, John 17:13-16, Phil. 4:8-11

Rom 12:1,2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Jn. 13-16 “And now I am coming to you, and I say these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world but to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

Phil. 4:8,9Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world…” “they do not belong to this world…” Paul and Jesus both taught that Christians are to live separate and different from the rest of the secular world at large. Jesus calls us to protect others from the evil one. He reminds us of our perspective. We are not from this world, nor is anyone else, but rather, all of us are from God. This world is ruled by the evil one, Satan. We as Christians are to serve others and bring them to God. We have a paradox because we are not supposed to be a part of this world, controlled by Satan, but we are supposed to transform the people of this world. So it is necessary for us to be IN the world but we cannot conform to and be a part OF this world. Do you see the difference?
How then are we to be transformed? How do we renew our minds? The answer is simpler than one might imagine. The Word of God transforms the mind. It focuses us on God and His will. It brings pleasant thoughts to our mind. We as Christians are to reflect on those things. As Phil. 4:8,9 command us to, we are to think on things that are good.

Day Four – As bond servants

Day Four – As bond servants
Passages: Gal 2:20, 1 Pt. 1:16

Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

1Pt. 1:16 – for it is written, “Be holy because I (am) holy.”
Paul claims to be a bond servant in the introduction of many of his letters, a bond-servant to Christ. What does this mean? The Greek word, behind this text is “doulos” and it basically means “slave” (Zodhiates). Another way to think about it is “one who gives himself up to another’s will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men.” I love how Oswald Chambers puts it, “The passion of Christianity is that I deliberately sign away my own rights and become a bond-slave of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I do not begin to be a saint (Chambers).”
Being a bond servant or a slave is not easy. Paul is calling us to be crucified with Christ. He is calling us to live by faith, not flesh. And Peter repeats Moses’ call for us to be holy as God is holy. Romans 6:13 says, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” This means we need to do three things: First we must refuse to give ourselves to sin. Then we must yield our whole self unto God. This means to give in to surrender. Finally it means to yield ourselves as instruments of righteousness unto God. We are not slaves to sin. We are not slaves to self. We are to be slaves to God and God only.