Saturday, May 2, 2009

Doctrinal living exceeds doctrinal articulation

Very close to the top of the quotes of Paul Washer, that has made many angry has to be this one: I've met many Arminians that lived beyond their theology but bot many Calvinists that live up to theirs!
Hmm, go back and read that one about ten times and then continue reading:

Ok? Ready?
Doctrine? Sound teaching that is set forth by the scriptures, the revealing of God's mind about Himself, what He desires, requires, and hates and what man is, what man needs, and what man must do.
Calvinism means a lot of things to a lot of people, but generally speaking it has little to do with Calvin himself. Most people, solid believers, have historically associated themselves with that name because they hold to a specific set of teachings. The five points of Calvinism, some just use the word 'reformed', others rather use 'doctrines of grace'. It's simply the scriptural reality that salvation is of the Lord, that it's a work of God and man is incapable of producing the change necessary in order to be saved. Man is at the mercy of God, because He is dead in sin. God being Sovereign not only in the personal salvation of each believer, but in every aspect of salvation (from it's planning BEFORE the foundation of the earth, to it's working out, and to it's purpose).
Yet beyond all that the Calvinist may mean much more than that, specifically recognizing that God is the Sovereign Lord over all things and does all things according to the counsel of His will and that no man can hinder His work (once again man is at the mercy of God, God is NOT at the mercy of God).
Such an understanding of God leads to incredible humility on the part of the one being saved and on the part of the one who may have been the instrument used to preach the gospel. Such an understanding leads to an incredible trust in God's word and His appointed means, in otherwords since it's not up to me (not by my creativity, my intellect, my ability to convince) I then only have ONE responsibility, and that responsibility is to be FAITHFUL to what God has said. We are messengers of truth, proclaimers of the gospel, NOT SALESMEN (we have no pitch, no gimmicks,). The affairs of my life then are in the hands of God, and my part is to simply use that which He has given me to use, to employ the means, the tools that He has equipped us with.
Yet there is a DISCONNECT for some, there are many who in 'doctrine' seem void of such truth, YET in practice really grasp it. (which shouldn't surprise us since they are children of God).
It was A.W. Tozer who said that he preached like an Arminian and prayed like a Calvinist. What??? in otherwords with all his might, with all his mind he preached to men as though it ALL depended on him (much could be said about our need to do exactly that, Spurgeon taught that). Prayed like a Calvinist? That means to pray BELIEVING God CAN do something about it (the heart of the king is in His hands), believing that God KNOWS best (Your will be done..)and believing God is in control.

The natural response then to a LIVING revelation of God should be utter denial of self and utter dependence upon God. If it's all of GRACE then shouldn't that cause us to do more 'spiritual' things as opposed to natural? Wouldn't that cause us to search the scriptures and to boldly proclaim it, to find our greatest arguments not in philosophy, but from scripture? Wouldn't that cause us to be more prayerful, to fear our own ingenuity and ability begging God to do a work in us and among us? Wouldn't it cause us to be more holy if we have a deeper, more thorough sight of God? Wouldn't it cause us to be more sacrificial and willing to take LEAPS of faith?

Calvinistic Misnomers
A Calvinist who doesn't pray
A Calvinist that regularly reads through books but not the bible
A pragmatic Calvinist
A proud Calvinist
A ecumenical Calvinist
A apathetic Calvinist
A fearful and stressed Calvinist
A boring academic Calvinist

I'm sorry if you felt like I might have been speaking about you, I certainly don't want to give the impression that i might be speaking to you.
FORGET the 'impression' and 'might have' if this applies then I am absolutely speaking to YOU! Lay hold upon Christ and apply His truth to your LIFE, what good is it to have correctness when it causes NO effect?
I would argue that you really don't have doctrine then, you simply have a good memory and have the ability to recite what you've been told, but it's not YOUR truth yet, it's not burning upon your spirit. Doctrine MATTERS, doctrine is practical, doctrine produces devotion (it's intended purpose is ALWAYS to lead us to a greater intimacy with CHRIST).
Yes the WORD of God is a sword, and it's a defense as well as an offensive weapon, yet you must never forget that it MUST pierce your own heart FIRST! If the doctrines of grace don't produce humility, then you must relearn them until you stop thinking so much of others who have it wrong and more about how this relates to YOU.
God help us if our knowledge only puffs us up, let us fight against that and cling to CHRIST!

3 comments:

Puritan

Love your "Calvinistic Misnomers" brother. The sad reality is though they sum up 99.9% of today's "Calvinists".

I was once told by a Calvinist of a guy who "probably wasn't saved" "because he was an arminian". I replied, whilst you've spent the last five months playing Westminster Confession Minor Point Trivia, this guy has took a homeless guy off drugs, took him into his home, and is now getting this new brother, his own place to live.

Talking theology is fine, but seeing people live it, gives me a much greater glimpse of Christ.

Julius Mickel

Amen brother, guess we could say with the disciples are there few 'Calvinists' who will be saved? Jesus would thus reply 'all things are possible with God'! (i think i need a cartoon for this :) )

It is a frightening thing to discover, regardless of the churches I've been apart of (doctrinally), the reality that 'narrow is the gate... and few enter in..'.
bless you brother...

SQLSvrMan

Amen!!

Yes, the Gospel that is in scripture needs to be proclaimed to ALL!!

Then we pray that God will save who He will.

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