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It’s all good, your theological crisis was preordained! God is already on the other side waiting patiently for you in the future!

I jest a bit here, I just find the whole idea quite funny, primarily because we are sometimes trying to stuff watermelon ideas into our human pea brains. I take no offense at that analogy at all. God is full of mystery and wonder and while we may well exist to give glory to God, I suspect He also delights in us, as in, He actually enjoys keeping the mystery and romance going on. If He told us everything all at once, our brains would melt.

A good and proper romance also requires a bit of mystery, some surprise, some risk, some unknowns. Are you dancing with the Savior? Well, if not, why not? There is none better!

I sometimes equate Christianity with being in a Baskin Robbins. I haven’t actually been in one for years, but they are an ice cream parlor with polka dots and 31 flavors. There is a wealth of ice cream to choose from! It is not like any of the flavors are “bad,” although I can do without the black licorice or the giant gum balls. When push comes to shove however, ice cream is still ice cream.

Theology and doctrine can be a bit like that too. Don’t get me wrong here, there are some things that are fixed and unchanging, there are some ice cream hills worth dying on. Like no putting BBQ meatballs in the ice cream cooler and  trying to pass it off as “ice cream.” No, that just doesn’t work. What I speak of however, is the wisdom of our forefathers, the voices of our faith who have gone before us. Maybe even some still walking around today doing their best to reflect Jesus and to impart some wisdom.

It’s all ice cream! Some flavors may speak to your soul better than others. We really all have our own language and so what resonates with you may be a little different from what resonates with me.

I think the bible backs up this concept too. Mark 9:38-40 says, And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.

He that is not against us, is with us.

We see a very similar idea over in Philippians 1:15:18,   “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.  The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.  But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice..”

So what does the bible say about some of our divisions, disputes, and different styles? Rejoice, Christ is being preached! The bottom line is, be thankful for the diversity and wealth of wisdom available to us at this particular time in history. Be grateful Jesus Christ is being preached. He that is not against us, is with us.

Somewhere deep within I have a real Calvinist lurking in my soul and I’m quite delighted to go tripping through the tulips. (Although I must say “tripping through the tulips” is a term sure to annoy many Calvinists.) Calvinists don’t be tripping ever. Or so they think…

I kid you not, the other day I practiced some uncharacteristic  self-control and just slipped out of an internet conversation thinking, it’s a shame such good theology is being wasted on people who should probably be duct taped to a chair and fed some microbrews until they chill the heck out. No sooner had I thought it, then this article came through my newsfeed,  “The Doctrines of Graciousness.” Ha! Well, you may think my words were a bit harsh, but the Desiring God article was actually speaking of “The cage-stage Calvinist.”

Put that guy in a cage until he’s fit for human company.

It gave me a good chuckle! Calvinists on the internet are downright legendary. Like they really need to get themselves another tulip petal! Here is what the article suggests, “Total Humility Unconditional Kindness Limited Criticism Irresistible Graciousness Perseverance in Patience. ” Yes, amen! And again I say, amen!

Also, there is something just tragic and a bit comical about a person trying to discuss predetermination versus preordination in 144 characters or less on Twitter. There are multiple reasons why that does not work so well.

It’s a bit funny, I insist Jesus is your theology. Ironically He is also actually doctrine.  That is our starting place and coincidentally, our finishing place too. Everything else is just like ice cream. To add some complexity to my ice cream analogy, I believe people are really hungry for some substance, for some meat and potatoes. They are tired of empty calories and Christian platitudes. There is a search for meaning going on within our culture right now, a desire for not only intimacy with Jesus, but a desire to think the bigger thoughts and ideas that surround our faith.

 

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