Anonymous reader of my blog:
I found some posts of yours from a few years ago on election and predestination. You have no idea what perfect timing it was to read what you had to say. I’m currently going thru some very similar situations at my church. Other than MacArthur and his church, I really began to wonder if there was anyone else out there who believed and understood the sovereignty of God. I was on the SBC site looking for it’s doctrinal statement and found a link to some your posts. The history behind all this for me is this. I’ve brought up issues like this and others in our church (a southern baptist church in mid Missouri) and I’ve really been given the cold shoulder. I’ve been told I’m too controversial, that we don’t need conflict like this in the church. I was told last week I could not lead a bible study because my views on predestination among others didn’t align with the SBC. The sad part is just last Sunday, rather than having a message from a preacher, we had some Xtreme Power group
come in and “raise the roof for the Jesus”. It really was the most disgraceful display of the Gospel I’ve ever seen or heard. The guy spoke only of how God loves us and wants a relationship with us and all we have to do is raise hands and come down and say a prayer. The man never mentioned brokenness over sin let alone the sovereign purpose of God. By then end with emotions flying he actually said he knew there were people out there with pain, (i.e. hip pain and carpel tunnel) and if they’d come forward he’d pray for healing. Of course my first question was does that align with the SBC? The people in my church talk about free will and when I point them to 1 Corinthians 2:14, they just say I’m to divisive.
If you have a chance to respond I’d certainly appreciate it, but understand if you don’t have time. It was really just nice to find someone in my area that let the bible changed the way he views himself and the Lord rather than changing the Lord and scripture to suite himself.
My hopefully spirit guided response:
About 10 minutes before you sent this email I was reading over some of my old posts about the SBC and predestination. I don’t find it a coincidence that I received this email moments later. God is good. I am happy to hear that you are opening up your heart and mind to let the scripture speak to you. It is so easy to read what you want to hear instead of truly listening. Let me be the first to tell you that I do believe that you can be saved without a complete understanding of God’s sovereignty. I challenge you to pray for your brothers and sisters at church and that you approach the subject delicately and with love. I also believe that it is an advanced topic for mature Christians and it can be Earth shattering for someone who is just breaking the scripture’s surface. It is a controversial subject that tends to create anger amongst God’s people and I know that is probably not his intent. What I can tell you is that there are others that share your understanding of God’s sovereignty including myself. I am sure there are others within your Church that may not be as bold as you. I also caution you to explore God’s word for other theological concepts beyond God’s sovereignty. I know that may sound strange, but I can attest first hand that searching and studying scripture in regard to predestination can become an unhealthy obsession and may become more of “proving someone wrong” than growing in a relationship with Christ and loving thy brother as thy self. After all, you did come across my Blog article so I already know your digging and searching 🙂 Don’t forget that there are probably other theological topics that Christan brothers and sisters disagree on and this one is no different. I think you are probably on the right track and if you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask me. I should probably write a few more articles in the near future. I feel like I have grown since writing those posts and would like to build upon them and provide some clarifications. If there is one thing I believe to be absolute truth it is this. God is in control. Nothing surprises him or catches him off guard. We cannot put him in a box based on our beliefs of the way He should be. If He wanted to give a man a completely free will decision then I believe he could do that. If he wanted to create vessels fit for destruction..he could do that. If he wanted to deny us grace..he would be justified in doing so. It is a mistake to say that “God wouldn’t do that” or the “God I serve is not like that” if it is based on our feelings and not scriptural relevance. I also know that there is absolutely nothing within my power I could have done to make an obedient decision to follow Christ without God doing a miraculous undeserving work on my heart. I think many Christians will agree that they deserved to go Hell. However, I feel that they only believe this because they are going to Heaven. If God were to go ahead and send us to Hell, I think a lot of those people would begin justifying why they should go to Heaven. So in the depth of their hearts they may not have a true grasp of their sinfulness and complete/utter reliance on God’s grace. I am truly truly deserving of Hell and to think that I am a Child of God is very very humbling and humiliating. Take care and hopefully I didn’t babble to much.