Not so much a “rant” as it is just a more in-depth blog than I usually write.
My spiritual life and faith are no secret to anyone. True, I struggled with a lot of it for years, even without knowing it, but this has been a tremendous last couple of years for this guy and only a fool would not acknowledge the divine hand that has given me the cards I’ve had the opportunity to play with. Without getting into a conversation or post about music, especially about a band I’ve posted countless blogs on before, I’ll just state that the band Showbread have been instrumental (no pun intended) in my spiritual journey and have really opened my eyes to a completely different approach to faith and being a follower of Christ. With this known, it goes without saying that I’m in their fan club (the Raw Rock Militia), a fan on Facebook and a follower on Twitter. One of the perks of following Showbread on Twitter is when they post sermons by pastors they follow online that really strike a chord with them. I listened to two today, one being a 45 minute discussion about how and if it is possible to serve in or support a military and be a Christian at the same time, which I will not get into tonight as it would require its own blog. The other was a 15 minute answer to a question asked of a pair of youth pastors about the topic of predestination.
In a nutshell, predestination is Calvinalistic approach to salvation (if you can call it that) that says that everything that happens on this planet was scripted by God. No matter what your thoughts are, actions are, circumstances are, God did it for His own glory. This approach preaches how there is no such thing as free will and that whether or not you go to Heaven isn’t based on your confession of faith and that Christ is Lord, but rather if you were chosen in the beginning of time. This sounds pretty wacky, but most Presbyterian churches believe it and preach it, and I, being a former Presbyterian, bought into it. I haven’t given it much thought since my Presbyterian days, but at the time, it sounded pretty logical to me, as it sounded like that was the message being preached from God’s word.
But why would this even be the case? The response given by the two pastors was that predestination is a full blown belief in a piece of scripture that was taken completely out of proportion (namely Romans 8:28-30). The piece of scripture, when taken by itself, would sound as though the Calvinistic approach to Christianity makes total sense. However, the pastors point out, one must also take into consideration the context of the book of the Bible this scripture came from. When looked at as a whole, it can easily be determined that the idea of predestination is really meant to apply to people as humankind. Or to groups, such as the nations of the time or the church, the bride of Christ, all through time. With predestination, the teachings of Christ mean nothing. There would be no need to pray, or be baptized, or be saved, or even confess your spiritual belief to yourself. The Holy Spirit would cease to exist in each of us and asking God for help in your current situations would be pointless. All of these things we were taught in the New Testament would just be jibberish with this approach, and I must admit, I never really thought of it this way.
One of the final points they made was in support of free will. Jesus taught us to pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” meaning there is a distinct difference between the decisions made in both places. MAY God’s will be done by the imperfect people of earth the same way it is by the angels and the saved ones in Heaven. There are going to be trials, there are going to be hard times and there will be times when we fail, miserably even, but there’s no reason to think that “God did this to me” or “God allowed this to happen.” God isn’t punishing anyone, or seeking revenge or teaching lessons to us through hard times, but what he can do, and has done every time they occur, is to use those troubled times to strengthen those they happen to.
This may not agree with a particular piece of scripture here and there, but I choose to go with Jesus on this one. I’m pretty sure He wasn’t lying to us :-)
Enjoy today’s haiku:
This gift for my mum
Is taking much longer than
I thought it would take