The Road Ahead

1 01 2009

It’s normal at this time of year to start making resolutions. We want to lose weight, get a new job, make better friends and so forth.2007 and 2008 were two great years of discovery for me and I’ve learnt a great deal. I have grown in my understanding of the Bible like I never have before. As the year draws to a close I am a tired man. I have worked hard, and am ready for a rest. Some have said to me that if you’re not feeling stressed in life, then you’re not alive. There is some truth in that, but if all of life is stress that makes for a very poor existence. I owe so much to my dear wife Joy. She has made my life a life worth living


So in 2009 what do I hope to accomplish? Well for starters how about taking my relationship with Jesus seriously? In the past that has meant spending time in the scriptures, and a lot of reading. It still does today. But after some very fruitful discussions with people this year I’ve come to see it as a lot more than that. It is possible to know so much theology that you miss the point. I say this not in a ‘let’s throw away our books and just love Jesus’ way. But when did I stop pursuing prayer? When did I stop relying the Holy Spirit? When did I stop believing God is active in time, space and history, and interested in every detail of my life? When did I stop resting in the grace shown to me on the cross? But I think most importantly for me I have to ask, why am I happy to know about Jesus rather than to know Jesus himself?

My first resolution for 2009 is to acknowledge and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord over every facet of my life. I don’t want substitutes and parodies. If Jesus is Lord that means he is Lord of my work, career, marriage, fun, guitar skills, church, and friendships. The challenge is no longer to acknowledge that but rather to embody that in life. I can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit.

My second resolution for 2009 is to take my current relationships with people seriously, and develop authentic friendships. I’m tired of surface level relationships, and over-emphasized individualism. While I will always be an individual, I am never an individual Christian. People matter to God and they matter to me. Too often I have treated people as an inconvenience. I’ve also become quite judgmental particularly towards people who hold different views on theology to me. Of this I whole heartedly repent. All people are made in the image of God, and it is only through the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that we can be reconciled and the image of God restored in us. People are saved by Grace, not by how much of Grace we understand.

My third resolution for 2009 is to enjoy life. I haven’t played as much guitar this year. I want to write more songs, and enjoy my music once again. If fish glorify God by being fish, that is being what they are, then I must be what I am. I have been and always will be a musician the core. I cannot deny it, suppress it or hide it. So many people have said they would kill to have the talents I do. Its time I stopped behaving like the wicked servant who buried his talent in the ground. 

My fourth and final resolution for 2009 is a big one. I hope this stirs some discussion. I for one am sick and tired of Calvinism vs. Arminianism discussion topics. Anytime I venture into these discussions (which from now on will be rare I can assure you) I will endeavor to conduct myself with grace and humility, rather than dogmatism and arrogance. I would rather have fellowship with a humble Arminian, who is full of grace, than an arrogant Calvinist who claims everyone else is heretical. Please hear what I am saying here. While I believe Calvinism to be a correct interpretation of scripture, I am abandoning my dogmatic attitude towards others who see it differently. If we’re going to call Arminians heretical, then we need to write off the entire Methodist ChurchJohn Wesley and a whole host of others. God still works through Arminians, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Baptists, Presbyterians and even Roman Catholics. Of course we need theological debate. This doesn’t solve all the problems but it is a start in the right direction. As far as it is with me, I will be at peace with all men

Who knows how the year will turn out? I trust the Lord to look after me in spite of what I see going on in the wider world. He alone is my provider and protector. May the Lord bless you this year, and may we all grow stronger in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our Saviour. To him be the Glory, for ever and ever Amen.

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3 responses

2 01 2009
Mason

“I for one am sick and tired of Calvinism vs. Arminianism discussion topics. Anytime I venture into these discussions (which from now on will be rare I can assure you) I will endeavor to conduct myself with grace and humility, rather than dogmatism and arrogance. I would rather have fellowship with a humble Arminian, who is full of grace, than an arrogant Calvinist who claims everyone else is heretical.”

Haha, well hopefully that’s not as much an admonition of my recent writing as it seems. I might be addressing the issue but I’ve tried not to do it with that sort of polarized tone, whether I’ve accomplished that goal is open for debate though.

Actually I quite agree with you here, it’s been a while since I last got into it and when I finish my series it will be a while until I do again. It’s just that I’m at a rather different point theologically than last time I wrestled with these issues and have a lot less certainty about the whole thing so blogging through it and discussing it helps me get my thoughts more in order (among other things).

I think the dogmatism of both sides, and the straw men arguments, and the association everyone who disagrees with your side as a heretic really leads no where.
It ends dialogue, hurts the communion Christians ought to have with each other, exaggerates the level of difference between the groups, and leads to an arrogant sectarianism. This is especially true of certain vocal proponents of both these theologies on the web.

Anyways, best of luck in the coming year and may God bless your efforts in each of your resolutions.

2 01 2009
aworthydiscussion

LOL well your posts were quite interesting so keep up the good work! Calvin, Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon and many others didn’t have any of the dogmatism that characterises many in the reformed camp. They were all pastors and evangelists first. They were the kind of people who would die to see a man converted. Its easy to defend the truth without ever allowing it to work in your own life. I guess thats where I’m coming from. I still think the five points are great, but i’m not about get dogmatic towards someone else who believes otherwise.

5 01 2009
Mason

“Its easy to defend the truth without ever allowing it to work in your own life.”

Very much agree. I think that this is a danger spot in Christian theology. While there are many theologians who show how their theology ought to be worked out on a personal/social level (Wright and Hays come to mind), there are many more who leave the unstated impression that what matters is just believing the right things and the real task ends there.
Believing the right things matters, but living the right way based on our faith matters just as much (not more or less). Wittmer’s “Don’t Stop Believing” did an excellent job of stressing both sides of this instead of treating it like one or the other.

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