Archive | October, 2014

“Calvinism is the Gospel” . . . and Other Stupid Statements

high_five_sunset There is quite a bit of celebration among us Calvinists about our particular beliefs about God’s sovereignty and our salvation. Well . . . maybe not at first. Most go through a pretty intense time of confusion and even despair as attempts are made to integrate so many non-intuitive doctrines that give us far more than a knee-jerk reaction. But as the unnatural becomes natural, the rejected becomes accepted, and the confusion becomes “selah,” a new attitude sets in. Normally, this attitude provides an ugly facelift that is about as unnatural to Christianity as what might have come before. An arrogance sets in and grabs a warm seat in the (mostly empty) bleachers of Calvinistic celebration. No longer is Calvinism this ugly aspect of Christianity that might have been the Achilles Heel of your faith, now it is central to everything you are. A celebration of Calvinism finds its place in your daily spiritual conversations. Some find themselves talking more about Calvinism than anything else. The spiritual stance of others soon becomes judged by one’s acceptance or rejection of the blessed five points. Why? Because what was anathema has now become central. “Calvinism is the Gospel” you will hear people say with great pride. As hard as it is for me to resist, I won’t be given anyone any high fives when this epiphany is called out.

Yes, I hear it all the time. In fact, I think I have said it a few times in the past. It just sounded profound to my newly formed reformed ears. But not only do I think this is an unfortunate saying, not only do I think it is off-putting and unnecessarily decisive, in the context it is usually said, it is truly wrong. Calvinism is not the Gospel. Don’t get me wrong. I did not say that I believe the particular doctrines of Reformed theology that Calvinism adheres to is unimportant. Nor did I say that I don’t care whether people accept it. I simply do not believe that a belief in the five points of Calvinism is either necessary to becoming a Christian or becoming a good Christian.

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Theology Unplugged – The Role of Women

Join Michael Patton, Tim Kimberley, J.J Seid and Sams Storms as they discuss the issue surround the role of women in the home, the church and society.

Theology Unplugged – Eternal Security

Eternal-security Join Michael Patton, Tim Kimberley, J.J Seid and Sams Storms as they discuss the doctrine of Eternal Security.

Theology Unplugged: Who or What Were the Nephilim?

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Join, Michael Patton, Tim Kimberely, Sam Storms and J.J Seid as they discuss the mysterious Nephilim mentioned in Genesis. Who were they? Moreover what were they? Listen in to find out!

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Theology Unplugged: Blasphemy Of The Holy Spirit – Part 1

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Join Michael Patton, Tim Kimberley, JJ Seid and Sam Storms as they begin a new series: Difficult Passage Of The Bible. Today we ask, “What is blasphemy of the holy spirit?”

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The Emptiness of Reason

boring-class

I am an emotional guy. I can’t believe I can say that so easily. Four years ago I could not have admitted to this. In fact, four years ago, I may not (ahem . . .) have been so in touch with my softer side. Now I realize just how much emotions control me. I can cry at the drop of a hat, music can take me wherever it desires, and I feed off the emotions of others (both good and bad) much more than ever. I wake up each morning and the first thing I do is take an assessment of where I am emotionally (and you thought I was going to say “pray”).

Having come to terms with this, I have had to do a lot of backtracking. Much of this involves a reassessment of my life and who I am, how I process things, and how I believe. Yes, I said “how” I believe, not “what” I believe. The what of my belief is the same. While I am somewhat comfortable saying I have stumbled many times, fallen flat on my face a few, and have a whole new set of spiritual limps and scars to show people, my faith is in-tact. In fact, though I may not look it, these things have only served to strengthen my faith a great deal.

I used to believe that all problems could be solved by reason. I think I prided myself in my intellectual vigor. I don’t think I have ever been that smart, but I loved the vigor, the questions, and the way reason could give me so much confidence in my life and faith.

Dealing with Doubters Before

In the past, when I dealt with those who doubt, I would go straight to the arguments. Reason, intellect, and syllogisms. With these I would (or so I thought) easily dismantle any foe who had the audacity to carry a flag of unbelief. Then, I would pat the sad Christian on the head and say, “See how ridiculous your doubting is? Now go and doubt no more.”

Visiting the School of Doubt Myself

Since then, at some time in the past, without my consent, I was enrolled in the school of doubt myself. I don’t know where it came from or why it was my new instructor, but I thought I knew how to get rid of it. “Ha! Are you kidding? You don’t want me as a student. I am in the business of converting your former pupils.” But, for some reason, my arguments, reason, and intellect proved ineffective in expelling me from this school. At this time, I could not overcome my doubt with reason. It was not as if the arguments were not strong enough, it was that my emotions stood in the way. My “feelings” were in control. As I struggled to get back to my former level of confidence (as that was my goal), I found that this confidence was fueled by something other than my intellect. I discovered that my emotions were so much more powerful than my reason. Continue Reading →