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Ignorance, Arrogance, and Paradox

There are some debates that will never end: at least not until the end of time.

So it is with the question of God’s Sovereignty and man’s freewill. I’ve met Arminians who are happy to demolish straw man constructs of Reformed Theology with cackles reminiscent of the wicked witch from Oz. Too be fair, I’ve also known Calvinists who can explicate the nuances of their theological system with all of the compassion of an ally cat fighting for first dibs on an overturned trash bin.  Who would imagine such a parallel between opening the Bible and Pandora’s Box?

I consider myself to stand within the reformed tradition and hold to a modified version of most of the central points of Calvinism. However, I think it’s a shame that the doctrines of grace are discussed in such ungracious ways. At the risk of sounding Emergent, I believe some issues are paradoxical and the tension will not be resolved in our lifetime.  While there are, from my perspective, more faithful and less faithful interpretations of the biblical doctrine of soteriology, the foundation is that Jesus alone provides salvation.

But isn’t this debate entirely overshadowed by the Great Commission? Regardless of nuance, those who believe the gospel are commanded to share the good news. Herein, I find the words of Corrie Ten Boom to be instructive, “Don’t worry about what you don’t understand. Worry about what you do understand in the Bible and don’t live by.” As one pastor has quipped, “We need some more Do-ology to go with our Theology.” These are indeed helpful reminders.

While the controversy will roll on, with or without us, we can all rejoice in the greatness of our salvation, refuse to be engrossed in divisive debates, and recognize our responsibility to take the gospel to the nations.