Matt Chandler, Gods two wills.

23 08 2009

Regarding recent discussions  on the BS of Calvinism, a friend directed me to a sermon by matt chandler on the two wills of God.  The premise of the sermon was viewing Calvinism in the light of several scriptures in which the bible says that its the will of God that no one should perish.  Chandler started out reading a few scriptures that he called the Armenian Pillars. 1Timothy 2:3-4, 2Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 18:23.  If you dont know them look them up.  They all speak of gods will that all would be saved.  He comments that if those who believe in free will dont use those verses, they will use more just like them.  Then he goes into how there were certian things in the bible that seemed to confuse him.  Like how David committed murder and adultery, and was forgiven, yet a man and woman in acts sold some property and gave 80% to the church, and saved some for themselves and were struck dead for it.  Chandler found that inconsistent that David was forgiven, while the husband and wife were killed for giving a huge sum of money to the early church..  Im assuming he is talking about Ananias and Sapphira.  I have never seen any text that says what the exact amout they gave and held back was, my bible certainly doesnt say.  Interesting to me that he doesnt mention that Ananias and Sapphira had pledged ALL the money from the sale of the land to the church, then conspired to keep a portion of it.  Perhaps this passage speaks more to me about greed than it does about inconsistencies of God.  The bible says that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart.  It also says that David was a man after gods own heart.  While we dont know is the condition of the heart of Ananias and Sapphira, we do know Davids, and see how he was forgiven.

He also notes that God is active in things that we dont want to say hes active in.  Then reads some scriptures that illustrate Gods dual wills.  He starts off with verses that mention God using people to kill Christ (Acts 2:22-23, Acts 4:27-28) and Quotes another verse, Isaiah 53:4-10, saying that God actually took pleasure in killing Jesus.  He was referring to verse 10 that says “For it Pleased the Lord to bruise him…”  I think its quite a jump to go from it pleasing God, and God taking pleasure in it.  I am pleased by my military service, but it would be wrong to assume that i took pleasure in it. Did God have a hand in causing the death of Jesus?  Of course, he was the sacrifice.  Im not sure why anyone would be shocked by that.  Jesus could have called down a host of angels as well. But he didnt.  Are we to assume he enjoyed his own murder or that he is somehow guilty of suicide by centurion?

He then goes to talk about the how god hardened hearts.  First, pharoahs heart.  He says free will believers point out that god hardened his heart after He allowed pharoah to say no a few times.  He even concedes that point, which makes me wonder why he even brought it up, except to say that we cant say it about his next examples.  He talks about Joshua and the many people he fought, and how joshua sent a peace offering and they refused because God hardened their hearts.  Now the bible doesnt say why he hardened those hearts.  Its seems very presumptive to me to assume the circumstances under which God chose to do so.  He gives more examples, im not sure why, because believers of free will dont seem to question that God has hardened hearts. 

Then he addresses Gods right to restrain evil, and his will not to.  He talks about abraham, sarah, and abemilech.  And how god wouldnt allow abemilech to sin.  I have always understood that the reason God was going to destroy abimelech was because of His covenant with abraham.  If any harm or violation was to befall sarah, God was bound by covenant to destroy Abimelech. Besides, what about all the times he didnt do that?  What about David, who actually sinned?  What about Joseph, who had to RUN from pottifers wife, then suffered the consequence of her lies?  He talks about Eli pleading for his sons, and how God refused his plea because his sons were evil.  Somehow, these dont really seem to argue the free will point.  Not to me.  All these show is that God does what he wants, and its not the same usually, but the circumstances arent the same in all the instances either.

Then he says something is happening, either something in the universe is more powerful than god and usurping his will that all be saved,  or God has two wills, and that the will that supercedes his will that none should perish and all should be saved is his glory.  Huh?  So God strikes people dead, while giving forgiveness to others, intercedes to keep some from sinning, refuses to save elis wicked sons even though eli pleads for their life, hardens old testament hearts, does all these things that Chandler gave as examples of things that “we dont want to say Hes involved in”, and somehow this adds up to either there is something greater than God usurping his power, or God has two wills?  He also takes this opportunity to tell free will believers what they believe.  I love it when people who dont believe as i do tell me what i believe, dont you.  He tells us that we believe that what is more powerful than God in the universe is the choice he gives us to choose, but it isnt a knock on god because he gave us that choice and therefore limited his own power.  Sorry, but i dont believe God has limited any power by giving us that choice.   Gods power isnt challenged if i do or do not choose him. I believe that god is glorified when his creation chooses him.  Then he says God has two wills, and its like Chandlers relationship with his daughter.  He doesnt will to hurt his daughter, spank her etc.  But there are times hes had to smack her, because more than he doesnt want to hurt her, there is a greater will that knows that joy comes thru obedience “or better than that, you can get killed if you run out into the street, that youre going to the hospital if you pull the iron down on top of yourself”  So even though there is a will not to make his daughter cry, there is an even greater will that knows sometimes he will have to.  Now this is the EXACT moment Candler loses me.  That is an incongruous example.  Because to make that example line up with calvinism, Chandler would have to say “i dont want to spank my daughter, but sometimes i have to teach her”  Then he would have to cause her to do wrong.  He would have to tell her,” hey honey, run out into the street as fast as you can”, then spank her for doing what he caused her to do.  He would have to say, “hey babe, pull on the power cord to that iron”, then punish her for doing so.  I think his congregation would be horrified to find this out, and rightly so.  As examples of this greater will, he quotes any scripture where someone did something, and god was glorified thru it.  Great.  God is glorified.  Did anyone not know that?   Everything from here on seemed like a regurgitated argument for Calvinism.

I just dont buy it.  If God says it isnt his will that any would perish, then chooses the people who will perish and spend eternity in torment without any hope or redemption, that doesnt make him two willed, it makes him two faced.  If God chooses who will serve him, then forces them into his service, where exactly is he glorified in that?  Chandler also states in reference to the verse about jacob i loved and esau i hated even from the womb, and people say that doesnt sound very fair, that we must be assuming that our salvation is fair.  If we make statement that god is unfair in some going to hell, we have then said our salvation is fair.  Uh no.  First i dont know any free will person that says its unfair for some to go to hell, or that their salvation is fair.  What were saying is for God to offer that salvation…no, FORCE that salvation on some, and with hold it from others isnt consistent with God saying its his will that none perish.  He also makes a directive not to create a theology about God to make you feel better about him.  I think hes totally off the argument now, because i dont think thats what free will believers have done.  In any case, isnt that what Chandler himself has done.  He starts off talking about all these inconsistencies and how he didnt understand it, then he came to believe in calvinism because that made it all make sense. I mean later on he seems to try to make his congregation feel better about the election of their children by saying he believes God is in the habit of saving the children of those who fear him.  Oh really?  What about chandlers own example of Eli, who begged for God to spare his sons?  

Perhaps the best way for Chandler to explain these “inconsistencies” would be to read Psalm 115:3, which he has in this very sermons study guide.  “For our God is in the heavens.  He does whatever he pleases.”  Maybe that would be more productive than trying to limit God to the logic and consistencies of mere humans. I was also annoyed that chandler never addressed why all the scriptures that say Gods will is that all are saved are invalid, or dont count.  Why didnt God ever say, in scripture, that his will is to see himself glorified?  Why do we read plain as day that his will is that none perish, but we have to deduce this second, “greater” will through speculation and subtext?  Why is this unwritten will automatically “greater”?  Does God say anywhere that this is the case?  Do we have any business prioritizing Gods will?  Why does chandler use all these arguments that have nothing to do with free will, as arguments against free will?  None of this makes sense to me.





Man will always let you down

5 08 2009

I am in a state of utter disappointment.  As much as i dislike most churches, there was one that i thought was where it was at.  I thought these guys have it figured out.  They are on it.  The only reason i wasnt going was because i live about 30 mins from it.  A good friend of mine and his wife have been going and really seemed to enjoy it.  A friend of theirs who has been having some great obstacles in her personal life.  She visited said church about 4 times, and even met with someone to, i assume, discuss salvation.  What she got instead was a book to read.  Instead of offering her Christ, they gave her HOMEWORK.  My first thought was, I wonder what that churches views on calvinism is.  A quick google search later and i discover the pastor is a firm believer in calvinism.  OH well that explains it.  For those who may not know, calvinism is a effing BS idea of a religion that, as far as im concerned, borders on out and out blasphemy.  It basically goes like this.

  • TOTAL DEPRAVITY –  AS a consequence of the fall of humanity into sin, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are morally unable to choose to follow God and be saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures.

             Basically, as babies we  inherit the sin of Adam and are totally depraved and therefore unable to respond to the gospel   message of Christ.

  • UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION – This is the concept of predestination: that God has divided humanity into two groups. One group is “the elected.” It includes all those whom God has chosen to make knowledgeable about himself. The rest will remain ignorant of God, and the Gospel. They are damned and will spend eternity in Hell without any hope of mercy or cessation of the extreme tortures. God made this selection before the universe was created, and thus before any humans existed.

Or, God had a master list of those who will be saved and those who will go to hell before creation in Gen 1:1. The list is unchangeable.

  • LIMITED ATONEMENT – Jesus did not die to save all humans. He only died for the sake of specific sins of those sinners who are saved.

Christ did not die for all men but only those on the “saved list”

  • IRRESISTIBLE GRACE – every human whom God has elected will inevitably come to a knowledge of God. The elect cannot resist the call.

 

  • PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS – This is the “Once saved, always saved” belief — that  everyone who has  been saved will remain in that state. God will begin and continue a process of sanctification which will continue until they reach heaven. None are lost; it is impossible for them to lose their salvation.

Sorry. Doesnt jive with me.  First, if we are born totally depraved, then how do you account for the good things that non christians do?  Also if we were not depraved till adam sinned, then how do you account for adams sin?  Adam was totally hereditarily righteous, yet he still sinned. Unconditional election? Limited atonement?  So God picked who would be saved and who wouldnt and only sent his son to die for those that would?  Sorry, when the bible says the lord wants everyone to come to repentance, I believe that. (2Peter 3;9)  Irresistable Grace?  Nah.  We are saved by the Grace of god, But we accept it by our own faith, not because the Lord makes us.  Perseverance of the saints?  Look i believe in the grace of christ.  But i believe a person can lose their faith.  God looks at the heart.  What if he looks at the heart of someone who was once saved and all he sees is a huge middle finger?  I dont believe its as easy to do as some would have you believe, but i believe its possible.

This sucks.  I dont see how people can buy into that crap.  Looks like the search continues.





Collection of drafts

28 07 2009

Well its been along time since ive put anything up here.  Guess ive just had other things going on.  I decided id combine several of the unfinished drafts i had just to clear them out.

 

Ok,  one of the reasons that I have really started to loathe church is because it isnt real.  I cant seem to have a sunday morning conversation without being overwhelmed with contrived, feel good drivel.  ” how are you?” “oh im blessed!”

I hate it because it breeds insincerity.  People start to think their faith or goodness is based on how many people they invite to church…or how many sunday school classes they teach.  I read an account about a newly single mother who was visiting with her Christian coworker about her divorce, and how money was tight, and her bills were stacking up.  Her landlord wanted her out of her apartment, but her youngest kid was sick.  All this was piling up, and the poor woman was reaching her breaking point.  The coworker, knowing she needed to do something, hugged her, and told her that it was all going to be ok because, of course, God has a plan.  Shocked that this didnt seem to make the single mother feel better, she invited her to church that sunday.

That woman didnt need to be invited to church.  She needed some groceries.  She needed her electric bills taken care of.  She needed compassion and LOVE.  Not empty christian rhetoric.  Inviting someone to church does not equal LOVE.  Witnessing does not mean you tell someone God has a plan.  It means you ACT…in a way that christ would have.

 

So, i was browsing some blogs, and i came across this one. http://hadleybaker.blogspot.com/2009/05/are-you-unchristian.html

I am still amazed that people are shocked when they hear this kind of information.  It really makes me wonder where they have been hiding, because it certainly isnt in the real world. Mr Baker writes …

Most younger Americans do not think of the church or Christianity in a positive light. The research was shocking to me. How did a “Christian” nation produce a generation of young people who want nothing to do with the church.

Well, first this insnt a “Christian” nation. In never was nor was it meant to be.  The founding fathers may have been christians, but thats about as far as it goes.  The question is, How did the church produce a generation of young people who want nothing to do with the church.  The answer?  Hmmm, Jerry Fallwell, Robert Tilton, Jimmy Swaggart…need I continue? Ok, how about priests who cant keep their hands off little boys, Health/wealth/prosperity preachers who tell people that God will bless them financially if they give more and more, then fly away in their private jets?  How about churches who are more concerned with their multi-million dollar sanctuary than they are with the homeless?

In recent years, the “church”, or at least the part that gets the attention, has been the exact opposite of Christ.  Judgemental, unloving, self involved a-holes.  Oh, sure, they love to appear caring…Lost your job?  Let me pray for you…Losing your Home? Let me invite you to sunday school…Car broke down? Dont miss the message on Wednesday night…Got Problems? Let me help as long as it doesnt actually cost me.  Given the image the church projects, why would/should a generation of youth want anything to do with church.  Heck, most of the time I dont want anything to do with the church.

I was at a buddys house a few weeks ago, and we were watching a little late night tv, and we ran across Pastor Kearney Thomas.  Isnt it sad that whenever you see a preacher on late at night you only need to wait a couple seconds before he makes the pitch for whatever he is selling.  Sadder still that you know he isnt selling Jesus or salvation.  This idiot was peddling the “Red Blood of Jesus Payerkerchief”.  It was…laughable. 

Whatever happened to the days when pastors just wanted to be men of god?  Now everyone wants to be a bishop or a prophet, or…..id like to find one preacher….ONE…who could honestly make me believe that he loves God or me as much as he loves money or notariety or fame. 

Somewhere in this vast country, there must be a guy, who works a job all week long, and pastors a church because he feels thats what God wants him to do. 

There has to be a genuine guy out there somewhere.

There has to be.





On Accountability

1 04 2009

Accountability partners.  Seems like they have been the IT thing for as long as I can remember.  It always seems to be a man thing to.  I dont remember them being stressed among womens ministries, but perhaps they are.  I always disliked them.  Not that they arent or cant be helpful to some, but for me it just seemed like a bandaid instead of a solution.  It always felt like i was being told that i was incapable of doing the right thing unless there was someone to babysit me, or without the fear of having to confess all my wrongdoing to someone i would be running amok.  Thing is, i want to do the right thing because its right.  I dont want to be shamed into doing right.  That isnt genuine.  Its fake righteousness to me.  I know when ive done wrong.  I dont need to tell someone about it and have them guilt trip me before i realize ive made a mistake.  i guess i just dont see the point.  Maybe the thought of having to come clean is supposed to make me think twice about doing whatever i was going to do.  For me it doesnt work. i never have been able to figure out why some ministers make it seem like you arent doing every thing you can to live right if you dont have an accountability partner.

One of the big things now is computer software for men that blocks many adult sites, and sends periodical reports of websites visited.  Well thats great, but again, its a bandaid.  If you want to look at porn bad enough, youre going to do it.  The computer software is great, but do you have software on your iphone that does that too?  What about someone who follows you around to report  everywhere you go, and let someone know if you went to an adult bookstore or strip club?  Perhaps a chip in your head that reports every lustful thought you have to your wife and pastor?





So…

23 03 2009

Its been a really long time since i posted anything, so to the all time high of 50 people who read my blog in one day, I apologize.  Its just that i havent really had a whole lot to say.  I was dropping by some of the blogs I visit, and saw a discussion of wether christians should drink alcohol.  It really disappoints me.

I wonder when we will stop fighting the same battles over and over.  I have the hardest time with the idea that there really are people out there who think its the ultimate goal of the devil to get chritians to drink beer and say bad words.

Ive never understood it.  Ive met more beer swilling, foul mouthed, tobacco stained men with rock solid integrity than i have ministers.  When will the church worry more about integrity, honor, honesty, and love than they do about wether or not someone had a drink with dinner?

It kinda reminds me of AIG.  Everyone is going ballistic over 100 something million in contractual bonuses, meanwhile they are too busy with that to realize that 66 BILLION was sent to foreign banks.   Worrying about minutae and forgetting the big picture. 

I think thats why alot of the younger generation is starting to sign off on church as it stands today.  They arent buying it.  They are reading the Bible and saying, wait a minute, thats not really what its saying.  Or, what about this part that you are totally ignoring over here?  Wanna know something?  I think its great.  I would love to see the mega churches completely empty if it means that people are actually reading the word, and saying to the rockstar preachers, no thanks, were not interested in your watered down gospel.

Whats funny, is it seems the church doesnt listen.  They are going to plug their ears, close their eyes, and basically sing nananana at the top of their lungs, and refuse to see whats going on.  I like Mark Driscoll.  I dont agree with every little thing that comes out of his mouth, but I like him none the less.  For one, he makes no bones about what he believes.  Two he isnt afraid to confront these types of questions.  I love when he talks about the sissification of the church.  I know he gets labeled as machismo, or a misogynist because of it, but he doesnt care.   He makes the point that church has become entirely feminine.  You have the metro worship leader, singing gayish lovey songs, then you have the pastor, who gets up in his lemon yellow sweater, and talks about feelings….you know what hes talking about too.  He asks the question where are the men at?  They are at home watching football, or at work making money.  He also notes that the exact demographic that the church is missing, 18-35 year old men, or something, is the exact demographic that sports like UFC seems to flourish with.  Instead of shrugging his shoulders, he is asking what the connection is.  And he is seeing results.

Oh, he likes beer too.





Solitude.

23 03 2009

Some people will do anything they can to avoid being alone.  Im not one of those people.  I enjoy it.  I look forward to it.  I love getting out on some forgotten country road on my bike.  Road trips at night with just me and my thoughts.  Some people say that too much solitude isnt healthy.  I dont know.  Perhaps it isnt.  Perhaps the people that say that  just arent comfortable enough with who they are to be alone.  Maybe they find their self-worth, or whatever in other people.  I used to be one of those kinds of people.  If I was alone on friday night, i thought it reflected on me as a person.  As if it meant that people just didnt care to be around me.  That was a long time ago.  Im not that way anymore.

Don Miller is quite possibly one of my favorite writers.  I appreciate his open attitude.  He isnt afraid to convey his true feeling even if they arent what the church or christendom says they should be.  He will write about his fears or selfishness or problems, and reading it you feel like he is just a good friend telling you these things.  Also, i think he is a JD Salinger fan.  Blue Like Jazz always had a Catcher in the Rye feel to it to me.  He talks about a time he spent alone, and how unhealthy it was for him.  He says he liked being alone and it even got to the point that he didnt like to be around others because he was alone so much that he kind of forgot how to socialize.  He likes to use this to show how important community is.  I dont discount community, but i also thing there are those who dont require it as much as others.  I mean, God made us all different, so to say that we all need community to the same degree kinda flies in the face of the diversity in which God crafted us.  At least thats what i think.  I mean, John the Baptist doesnt seem to be a real “community” guy to me.  Jesus even went out to be alone for 40 days in the desert.  Thats a long time to be alone.  I think that there are some people who are more self sufficient, i guess, than others.  And its not bad if youre not, if you really require the group thing,  Its just how we were made.





Where did the men go

29 12 2008

Is it just me, or is the MAN fading into extinction?  This is a question i have wrestled with for several years now.  It all started several years ago, when i began to look at men that i respected both as MEN, and as men of god.  My grandfather, who spent his formative years in the pre-prohibition era bible belt, was most often described to me as a man with “a very colorful vocabulary, but he sure knew the bible”  I had a hard time reconciling them with what the church seemed to want men to be.  Meek, mild, cheek turning wimps.

The problem was, when i read the bible, i had a hard time finding any such men.  King David, Solomon, Moses, Samson, Gideon…these men were more Braveheart than benny hinn.  The same is true of Christ himself.  He had no problem verbally confronting the hypocrites of his time.  He had no qualms getting physical if need be.  In the end, he experienced one of the most barbaric, painful deaths one can imagine.  Willingly.  Because it had to be done.  Before you dismiss this as some sort of macho bravado, understand that i dont discount that Christ was meek, and mild as well.  The point is that the church seemed to want to breed out everything but the meek and mild.  Dont fight, thats wrong.  Dont argue, thats wrong.  Dont confront hypocrites, just pray for them.

My dad on the other hand, taught me not to start fights, but to be able to finish one.  He taught me to stand up for what is right.  Even if it meant a fight.  He taught me that if its worth standing up for, its worth getting beat up for.  That means that sometimes you have to fight, even if you wont win.  Its all about PRINCIPLE.  Theres a word you dont hear much about these days. 

Jesus did not keep his mouth shut in the face of wrong either.  He confronted it.  It would seem that Jesus was rarely ever meek and mild when it came to corruption in the church.  I love to read about Jesus with the Pharisees.  Time after time, he baited them, set them up, then destroyed and embarassed them for their hypocritical behavior.  It seemed so odd that when the church talked about how we should strive to be like Jesus, they alway left out these parts, and focused on the “meek shall inherit the earth” Jesus, or the “turn the other cheek” Jesus.  Both important, yet it paints an incomplete picture.  Sorry, but if i have to choose between John Wayne or Josh Harris, The Duke wins every time.

I had been struggling for a while with this, and was talking it over with my good friend Richie.  He recommended a book to me.  He told me, “The title is gay, but you need to read Wild at Heart.”  I devoured the book.  Finally someone who thought like me.  If you are a man, and havent read it, you are missing out.  All of this came to  a head the other day when i was going on amazon to write a quick review of a book i had read.  Earlier in the year, someone had given me a book that was basically repackaged Promise Keepers rhetoric.  It was ok at best.  I noticed while i was reading it, that there was an endorsement by a pastor that i know first hand has overwhelming integrity issues.  As far as im concerned, when you choose someone to endorse your work, it reflects on you as well.  When i reviewed the book, i commented on my disappointment that the author chose to use this pastor as an endorsement due to his questionable integrity.  When i logged on to start the review on  the latest book id read, i noticed this pastor, or someone claiming to be him, had replied to my review.  He said i should please forgive him for whatever offense he has comitted, because it isnt healthy to carry around such anger.  There was no point where he said he was sorry for whatever offense.  My gut tells me he isnt sorry, nor does he care.  I think he probably wants to save face in front of the people of amazon.  I started thinking, what should i do?  What would a man do. What would my father do.  What would Jesus Do. 

I decided to respond, and give him the most eloquent dressing down i could muster.  Some will think that i was wrong by doing so.  If that is you, understand that i dont care that you think i was wrong.  I think that to know a minister is involved in corrupt dealing, and to keep your mouth shut anyway is wrong.  To know a pastor has absolutely no integrity or the concept thereof , and to remain silent is wrong.  To stand up to such men, is right.