Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 01/29/2012

I really like the way God works. Today’s poem actually lines up with the topic of the past couple weeks. Also, I attended the “Calvinism, Arminianism, and Free Grace Seminar” yesterday. John Correia was the main speaker helping everyone understand better what Calvinists, Arminians, and he and others within the Free Grace Theological background believe. (If you have not heard of Molinism yet, look it up!) Anyway, one of the things discussed by two of the speakers included justification by works and our own sinful nature. I thought of all of the “religion” talk of the past few weeks. Then I saw what poem I had for this week, and WHOA!

I hope you enjoy:

my greatest tempter

my biggest foe i cannot name

this person leads me astray

i cannot get very far from him

he is everywhere that i am

he constantly tempts me with sin

and keeps me away from Him

this enemy of mine you see

for this person is actually

                                                 me

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 23.

  1. Being raised Baptist; having played on the road with Pentecostal and Baptist gospel groups; living in a community right below a major Presbyterian college; having survived multiple conversations with devoted Calvinists; believing that God is good, but also sovereign; I have come to my own conclusion in the matter. It’s called “divine irreconcilability.” You see, there’s problems with both Calvinism and Arminianism, even Monism. They all try to address what is evident on the surface, but come to polar opposite conclusions (with the exception of Monism). In actuality, they have chosen to pick a boat, while the real truth is in the deaths of the sea, as far as the east is from the west. God IS sovereign. Man IS free to choose. God DOES elect. Man IS responsible. These are irreconcilable, but Divinely so.
    (KJV) Romans 11:33 “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

    • Quite right. I think we are actually on the same page, more or less, but I do not find that very surprising! I have not travelled around in any gospel groups, but our histories line up rather closely. I was born and baptized in the Catholic Church, but at the age of three my family left the Church. At 15 I began attending a Church of the Nazarene, which led to some Pentecostal gatherings and churches, but I also met several people (and knew several) who were of Calvinist/Reformed thinking (including Presbyterian). It was coming to Arizona almost five years ago that led me to really looking into what it is I believe and why. That is why I think we are on the same page! You always have great things to say!

    • catholicboyrichard
    • January 29th, 2012

    Hi brothers in Christ–I would suggest that the Catholic view is actually closer to what both of you believe than you may even realize. Writings of St Thomas Aquinas, and St Augustine (taken in his entirety and not the bits and pieces each side tends to use for their own post-Biblical “proof texting” on the seeming conflict), would more or less accept both and then leave it as a mystery–just as Anthony Baker rightly points out and verifies with Romans 11:33 so beautifully. I would only say that they are paradoxical, rather than irreconcilable–we only see them as such because not all has been revealed to us, thus the mystery.

    A great book from the Roman perspective is “The Mystery of Predestination: According to Scripture, the Church, and St Thomas Aquinas” by John Salza, a very interesting man (Wisconsinite by the way) who is an attorney as well as Catholic apologist–and an ex-Mason of high degree (which he also has powerfully repudiated in 2 different books). He also has a great website called http://www.scripturecatholic.com. Worth some time to peruse even if you disagree with some of his conclusions.Tons of stuff there. My hunch though is you will find you agree more than disagree. I have met Salza and communicated with him as well, and he actually helped me through a rather difficult time in my journey in fact. Good person.

    Just saying he presents an approach that seems to be the “middle road” between the Arminian and Calvinist approaches which may be helpful to the discussion. God bless you this Lord’s Day.

    • Great stuff always, brother! I know I indeed will be checking out the offered readings. I am intrigued!

      It is always a joy finding areas of agreement with all our brothers (& sisters!) in matters of faith. I am intrigued to look more into Catholic understanding of James 2, specifically vv. 18-19, after learning about a literary device of which I had never heard and is used in that passage. The context (though not really the meaning, per se) is different than I knew! But I am far from alone in that!

    • Yes, paradox is a good word, but I do have a reason for “irreconcilable.” I chose that word for the simple reason that I believe God has intentionally left some “mysteries” unknowable, from a finite, human perspective, that is. The wonderful thing about it is that if we would quit trying to explain it, we might benefit more from the truth in both camps. Imagine…evangelical Calvinists with a renewed passion for missions and good works…Arminians at rest, knowing their choice has resulted in a salvation that is secure, even before they chose…wouldn’t it be wonderful? 🙂

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