Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Don't Understand

No one has ever accused me of being the "sharpest tool in the toolbox", but the word 'confusion' does not even touch my thoughts today. In fact, these thoughts have not just begun with this week of the 2009 SBC in Louisville but rather, have been growing over the past 10-15 years as I have listened to the debate inside the convention which I love so much.
As confused as I am about this one subject, I am not confused about the potential repercussions of writing this blog. To lay forth these few thoughts generally will exact an attack of major proportions, yet what follows is what I feel about the debate over John Calvin and his philosophy (no, I don't believe it is a theology) called Calvinism. By design, this blog will not be extended.
As I have read the "Twitters", the "Twubs", and watched over the internet, I am amazed that Calvin is receiving almost as much attention as our Lord Jesus, and for me, something is wrong with this. As we know, Paul countered this type of focus in 1 Corinthians by bringing to light the "Apollos-Paul" principle. I submit that today we have almost come to a "Calvin-Jesus" parallel. Personally, in these meetings I would love to hear less about Calvin and more about our Lord. Calvin may have been a good Bible teacher and a deeply intellectual theologian, but he was not and is not infallible. From my reading of God's word, his "TULIP" has some debatable issues included (and none of which threaten the sovereignty of Jehovah God). As far as I can discern, Calvin's name is found no where in Holy Scripture and his "Institutes" contain some theology which most every Southern Baptist will find suspect.
For my two cents worth, I do not hate John Calvin and his desire to systematize Biblical theology, but I must say that I do "dislike" what the application of Calvinism seems to be doing to Southern Baptist.
Proponents will say, "He is returning us to a Reformed Theology which is what we need", while Opponents will respond, "He is taking us to a place we don't need to go."
Personally, my prayer is that we will simply return to scriptural principles of living, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, mission, ministry, worship, and prayer; making the Great Comission our one driving force while abandoning the temptation to allow a human leader to divide us. After all, Jesus is the one who still saves. And we will not be admitted to heaven based on our beliefs about John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Wesley, or any other historical leaders.
Is it any wonder that we, as Southern Baptist, have lost some of the influence and effectiveness we have enjoyed in years past?
"Lord, help us to forsake our sin of looking at your leaders and return to looking to YOU. Amen."

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