Friday, December 05, 2008

From Bob's email


In the wake of the "John 3:16 Conference" held a few weeks ago, I have watched with interest the many resultant discussions about Calvinism by Calvinists and non-Calvinists and between Calvinists and non-Calvinists. Of the many things said, I was struck by the occasional remark of those speaking of being precise or logical or consistent within one's view.

One of the dangers to which Christians may fall prey is seeking to work out their theological convictions so that they are "coherent" and agree with their system as a whole. This is a danger because one may overlook or skew biblical teaching because it seems to clash with one's system. Rather, one's theological system should be informed from the whole of Scripture which means one must bow to any teaching, even when it may not fit neatly within the system.

In this regard, I like what C. H. Spurgeon said in his sermon on 1 Timothy 2.3, 4:

My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for Inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred timesover appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the Word of God. I never thought it to be any very great crime to seem to be inconsistent with myself, for who am I that I should everlastingly be consistent? But I do think it a great crime to be so inconsistent with the Word of God that I should need to lop away a bough or even a twig from so much as a single tree of the forest of Scripture. God forbid that I should cut or shape, even in the least degree, any Divine expression. So runs the text and so we must read it, “God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”
("Salvation by Knowing the Truth," Vol. 26, No. 1516)

We should not seek "consistency" but biblical accuracy. The two may not be the same thing when one is seeking to uphold a certain theological construct. Our goal is not to be logical, but Scriptural.

Let Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike heed the words of Spurgeon as they search the Scriptures.

Ian D. Elsasser


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