We Still Think It's About Us, Apparently...
And it shows up in different ways, too.
We view things, particularly things God does, from our perspective. When we see Him doing something WE wouldn't do, we object. By questioning whether He's in that or not. I had some Jehovah's Witnesses visiting here one time, and they cited WW2 as an instance in which both sides were praying to the same God, for help in winning the war (which one does by killing one's enemy), as an example that God wasn't with either side in that conflict.
I had a lot of fun with that statement.
Then there's the tendency to "Humanize" God. God can't do this or that. After a lot of years, I finally concluded .. "WHAT???" God can do anything He wants to do, any time, any place, to anybody. Without needing to explain. But we say God can't save you if you won't accept Jesus and other stuff like that. But, IMO, that's wrong. God says He WON'T ... not that He CAN'T. But we like the "can't" deal better because when Worthless Brother-In-Law wants to borrow money, we'd rather tell him we CAN'T, than just to tell him we WON'T. Which we would have to explain, make excuses for, etc, which is not all that comfortable.
I doubt comfort plays a big part in God's decisions. Surely it didn't, at Calvary.
But what really made this thing pop up now, is the minor set-to about Calvinism, over at Wade Burleson's blog. Don't get me wrong .. I think that sort of thing is part & parcel of the sharpening of iron, mentioned in the bible. But folks seem to think that their own opinion is right, others must have less of a biblical basis, for what they believe, than they do. And I can tell you, from having been on all sides of that issue, that the Baptist Faith and Message, and the Westminster Confession of Faith, are both securely grounded in the bible.
I don't think either side of that discussion likes to think about that. But it's true.
Why the big differences? I don't know much for sure, but I have some opinions, which follow:
First of all, denominations aren't our deal. As far as I'm concerned, God thought them up, then led people to go their own ways as Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, etc. He did that, IMO, as part of His plan to appeal to as many people ... "natural-man-type" people .. as is possible. Without coercion. Look....
- Want to be happy-clappy? Step right this way......
- Favor an educated approach .. analytical and all .. to this religion thing? Look over here!
- Care to be highly liturgical, see guys in robes, etc, go to that corner over there..
- Is speaking in tongues, falling over, etc attractive? Here's the address...
- Have a desire to go to church on Saturday? Have we got a spot for you!
It does, to me. And in any one of a myriad of denominations, you can hear John 3:16 and maybe Romans 10:9-10, and get saved. Then you get the Holy Ghost, and He is pretty good at directing you where you want to go.
So all you guys arguing about TULIPs and the like, cut it out! Down in my soul, I am as convinced as can be that NEITHER the Baptists nor the Presbyterians are wrong in their theology. They both are yay far from the absolute (and infinite) truth, but then that's the best any of us can do.
Christianity isn't about you and your preferences, or your interpretations. It's about this man Jesus. So let's not make it about infant baptism (when others want to do it) .. we don't say it's necessary for SALVATION, and I'd think we'd be for more of THAT and not more baptisms, anyway. So if the other guys want to baptize infants as a sign of something-or-other, let's leave them alone about it. In fact, it might be interesting to go back in their records and see if the persistency of their youth, when they grow up, is better than the 16%, or whatever the number, of those 6 year olds we baptize, that come back from college, still faithful.