Monday, December 15, 2008

Considering the Cold and Calvinism

Here in Amarillo, Texas, it'll struggle to get up to 25 degrees today. It was 9 when I got up, currently 11.

Today's high in Bangor, Maine? 50. Go figure.
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New graduates of Southern Baptist seminaries are three times more likely to be card-carrying, five-point Calvinists than are Baptist pastors. Nearly 30% of the seminarians are, compared to 10% of the older group. A good number of my brightest, most serious students at Amarillo College are staunch Calvinists. It might be time for preachers and elders among the Churches of Christ to do some teaching on this subject.

I'm no fan of the preaching style that bashes the Baptists, mashes the Methodists, and crucifies the Catholics, but is there any major point of doctrine that the Churches of Christ are willing to get in a spat over? (And, no, disavowing that instrumental music is a salvation issue doesn't count).

Sociologists repeatedly tell us that the growth of a religious movement depends upon its taking a stand that resists the culture at large or, in the American context, other religious cultures. As I see it, there's plenty in the name of God for Christians to resist. But how will that happen unless our leaders explore and teach about basic issues of truth? No, not every preacher will be an Augustine, a Luther or a Campbell. But every one should carry on the best ministry of the Word possible. Revival and numeric growth are always accompanied by a growth of the Word.


Royce Ogle said...

I hear you loud and clear brother. I can't accept at least some of the points of Calvin. That being said, there are many very troublesome texts for anyone who disagrees with all that Calvinists teach.

In the last 10 or 15 years my study of the Word of God has left me leaning more toward Calvin than the opposing view.

The wonderful truth is that unity among brothers is only valid because we are brothers, in Christ, not because of doctrinal differences.

Merry Christmas bro'

Frank Bellizzi said...

Royce, I suspect there are some similarities between the tracks we've taken. I no longer accept the absolute Arminianism that I grew up with. My experience was that it led to reliance on people and, effectively, a denial of the power of God. Consequently, people did a lot of planning, but not so much praying. The whole time, Christ was saying to his followers, "without me you can do nothing." Our American cultural context teaches us to rely on human initiative; the Bible teaches us to depend on God.

As you know, to depend on God does not eliminate human responsibility and activity. But it does get the theological horse in front of the cart.

A very Merry Christmas to you as well.