Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Am I Better?

I listened to the August 18 "Radio Free Geneva" program today, reviewing Micah Coate's new book, "A Cultish Side of Calvinism" (shouldn't that be "Cultic"?).

"White believes the act of receiving God's grace is a type of work that takes away from the sovereignty of God." (Micah Coate)

Dr. White replies: "No, what I've always said is - if that is not the result of the work of God's grace, if it is an autonomous free act outside of God's decree, then God can attempt to save all He wants. It's always up to man. And once you take that position, in eternity to come, those standing around the throne will always have something to boast about. Not a work, but there was something better about me. I was more sensitive, I was more spiritual. I'm the one that allowed the grace of God to succeed in my life. And those people who didn't - well, they just weren't as good as me."

And I have to be honest, it's this that bothered me from the very beginning. I realized this logical conclusion 15 years ago. I just blocked it out and tried not to think about it too much.

I believed that God drew all people (yes, this contradicts John 6:44, where all those who are drawn are raised up to eternal life). If you responded to that drawing, He would draw you more, and so on until you were saved. I took "all" to refer to every single person on earth, never allowing for the nuances of meaning in John's writing.

What I believed made no sense in the context of the whole of Scripture, and I never bothered to look at the contexts of the passages. I had to rush through passages that seemed to contradict what I believed - Romans 9 was a big one, but also parts of John 6, and many other verses scattered throughout Scripture. I didn't want to think about it because that was a God I could not worship. I was afraid of losing my faith if I explored it.

It was only last year that I came to the point of being able to accept it, and that only after a true work of God in my heart (and I am so grateful). I can now see what I believed for what it is - there is something better about me than someone who does not respond to the same drawing given to me. And I do not see that as a God-honoring position. I see that as taking some of the glory due to God unto myself. He says He will not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11), and trust me, when I have tried to take some of that glory, it has not ended well for me.

The whole point of Calvinism is to give all the glory to God and take none for myself. There was nothing more spiritually sensitive about me that was not given to me. I have been more sensitive since I was little, but do I suppose that is something I did? Or was it a gift of God that I can now look back and see His hand on my life, guiding me, since I was a little child? That is why, in my flesh, I searched for Him in all the wrong places. I knew He was there, but rejected the one way to Him through Jesus. And so I got involved in all sorts of silliness, looking for that fulfillment everywhere but the one place it could be found.

He is the one who broke through. He is the one who revealed Himself to me, turning my world upside down and pursuing me relentlessly until I was too worn out to fight any more. He is the one who saved me, with no help from me. That is a God I can worship because that is a God in control of this world. That is a God who glorifies Himself through the outworking of all His attributes - His mercy as well as His justice, His grace as well as His wrath. This is the fullness of God that shines through both testaments. If I am a Calvinist it is simply because the Bible constrains me to be.

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