Friday, March 30, 2007

Even I Didn't See This One Coming

One of the coolest things about life is that you never know where it's going to take you. People change, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly, sometimes profoundly, sometimes minimally. In any case, change happens. People grow, and often times one will find himself ending up in a place that is the polar opposite of where he thought he'd be.

Such a thing happened to me recently. I think some of you might remember the post I made about Calvinism vs. Arminianism back in November. Back then, I was a very devout Arminian, and I responded to Calvinism with strong opposition. It was actually very draining on me, and I remember becoming very spiritually hurt during the debates that followed the post (to this date, it's still the most comments I've ever had for a post -- 52). I eventually just gave up on the whole situation. That was five months ago.

In the time between then and now, I considered myself somewhat of a Calvinist. I definitely believed in the concepts of Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints, but Unconditional Election and Limited Atonement still gave me the same knee-jerk reaction that they had in the past. I just didn't think they were "fair." Then, very recently, something hit me. Who was I to hold the God that created me to my version of "fair?" Heck, I had mentioned in this post how Arminian theology didn't seem "fair" either. If I wanted total "fairness," the best bet would be to not be a Christian at all.

But enough about that. The funny thing about this situation was that I didn't really realize that I had actually embraced Reformed theology until a few nights ago at Bible study. We were reading from Ephesians 1, one of those Bible chapters that mentions those big scary words like "predestination." ;) The group leader knew from the get-go that debate might ensue, so we prayed that God would guide the discussion in a way that would glorify Him.

Lo and behold, debate happened, and for some strange reason I found myself defending the literal meaning of the verses, and even such things as Unconditional Election, concepts that I had once hated. The study ended on a good note, thankfully, with mutual respect between both sides and reassurance that doctrinal differences didn't affect our statuses as brothers in Christ. My thoughts after the study could pretty much be summed up by the phrase: "By Jove, I'm a Calvinist!" :) I was reminded of the line Bob Hope said in reference to his first television appearance: "Well, they got me!"

To be honest, embracing Reformed theology really shouldn't have a big impact on my Christian living. By no means do I think every Christian needs to be Reformed, and personally a lot can be said for seeing the debate as irrelevant. This doesn't affect my thoughts on witnessing, charity, mission work, or even God's love for the world. If anything, it's just a way for me to greater understand God's grace and His love for me. In my book, it's one the best way to look at God and say "Yours is the glory!"

It's just so fascinating how things change over time. Who knows where I'll be in the next five months?

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