Monday, August 15, 2016

AUGUST 15 "WAS PAUL A CALVINIST?"

     WAS the Apostle Paul a Calvinist?  While Paul might have been a Calvinist in theory, more importantly he lived as if he believed in Arminiusism. Jacobus Arminius was a Dutch pastor and theologian who  rejected his teacher's theology (John Calvin) that it is God who unconditionally elects some for salvation. Instead Arminius proposed that the election of God was of believers, thereby making it conditional on faith. The scriptures that John Calvin used to prove his theory of "predestination" mostly, if not all, came from the Apostle Paul's writings.  No doubt many of Paul's writings to refer to the "elect in Christ" and those "whom God predestined and chose", but yet while Paul might have seemed Calvinist in theory, look at how he lived his life! For a guy who taught allot about "the elect" & "predestined he lived his life as one trying to reach and save anybody he possibly could. Paul himself writes, "I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible".  Paul goes on to more explicitly write, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some".  If Paul was such a Calvinist, why did he try to save all? Why did he become all things to all men? Why such an effort  to save if God had already predestined those that would be saved?
     We will never know on this side of eternity what exactly Paul meant in his writings, although some already reading this are saying, "yes we do" but for every clever argument you have, someone on the other side of the spectrum has just as clever an argument.  Suffice it to say, that Paul did not allow his intellect to get in the way of his Faith and ability to serve God.  Paul did not allow his knowledge to render him impotent for God, as many other Theologians do! Paul himself wrote, "knowledge puffs up!".  Paul knew better than anyone that theological knowledge could easily instill pride and render someone useless in God's hands.
     Paul had some deep revelations and theological exhortations, but yet he never allowed them to hinder him in his usefulness for God and the saving of souls.  I once overheard some men in a restaurant speaking and was quit thrilled that I had run into some Christians in the city that I had just been launched to pioneer a church in. It was an ungodly city, but here sat next to me a group of Christians, a group of men. Perhaps they could give me some insight and direction. I quickly got up from my table and introduced myself. My intuition was right, they were indeed Christians. We shared a few thoughts and introductions back and forth and then  I decided to share with them a very exciting outreach my wife and I had planned. We had special tracts ordered for the Passion of the Christ and we were going to go inside a very busy movie theatre and reach out to the folks coming out from the movie. We were hoping and believing to see some saved, as Paul would have said.  To my surprise the shot my idea down.  The leader of the group said, "ah, we don't believe in that, God is going to do what he's going to do and we just leave that to him".  Sadly enough, the man who's scriptures they would use (the Apostle Paul) to back of their apathy & laziness, was the man who spent himself more than any other human being for the saving of souls.  "I will be all things to all men that I might save some". 
     What was Paul, what would he be considered today, was his theology Calvinism or Arminianism?  It doesn't matter. NO matter what side of the fence you find yourself on, one thing is for sure, Jesus Christ commanded us to Preach the Gospel unto the ends of the earth, to every tribe, tongue and every nation. That is...every one, every where that will listen. Paul, irregardless of his deep theological beliefs, responded dutifully to the call of Jesus Christ more seriously than any other disciple who ever walked the earth.  Do you have great revelation and theological ideas? Are those revelations and ideas making you a greater servant in the master's hands or are they rendering you impotent for him, something to consider....