Again, this study "theology" keeps coming up in my life...
Once again, Calvinism has seeped into my life. People who look at God as this cruel handler who made some people only so they could go to hell without a chance at being redeemed. They can believe in that "god" if they want, but he is not the God who created the Earth. The God I believe in is loving, full of grace (which by the way is mention 170 times in scripture) and abounding in mercy. Read Ezekiel 33:11 and tell me how people can believe otherwise!
On the other hand I do understand the God is also to be feared, but not in a cowering in the corner I hope he doesn't hurt me type fear, its an awesome fear. How could he be so great type of fear, I can't explain it. I don't live my life in fear of what the Lord will do to me. I don't worry that He will take away my salvation and I don't worry that he is going to turn His back on me. He has promised otherwise, I do fear sinning and defiling the name He has given me to bear. I do fear what will happen when He has to judge those who aren't ready for it.
To me, Calvinism goes against the whole flow of New Testament teaching. It substitutes a vengeful, capricious and merciless God, for the loving Father of Jesus's teachings. In order to avoid the need for Good Works, the Gospel has been distorted out of all recognition. Jesus's teachings make little sense under Calvinism, and make no sense at all if we do not have Free Will to act on them. In addition Calvinism has led to..
1. Fatalism. What is the point of evangelising, if it is already decided who is to be saved? Similarly, if a person is starving or in need, God has put him in that position, so there is no need to do anything about it. 2. A Tribal Consciousness. Groups and Nationalities began to see themselves as "Chosen by God". Other peoples, not being so "chosen", could be treated harshly. Calvinist groups are seen as exacerbating divisions in places like Ireland, the USA and South Africa
We can see that the Bible also denies the idea of irresistible grace, showing that our Free Will does affect its action:
2 Cor 6: 1As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. (NIV).
The Bible shows clearly that God wants everyone to be saved, and that He has not predestined anyone for damnation.
1 Timothy 2.3-4: This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires ALL men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3; 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV).
1 John 2: 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (NIV).
WHEN WILL IT END? I wish I could give up this fight and just say "you win" but I can't. I won't let it take over people who don't know any better, I think it is a dangerous and stupid doctrine to live a life by and I greatly agree that anyone who tries to teach calvinism to a young believer should have a mill stone tied about his neck and thrown into the sea for causing a young one to stumble.