Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Friday, September 15, 2006

More Than a Calvinist...

I admit I stole that title from a tract written by John Newton. Having gotten that confession out of the way, let me get down to business. Much has been written recently in the SBC about calvinism and it's influence. Much of the negative press comes from a misunderstanding arising from biblical calvinism being identified with hypercalvinism. Now, a few observations.

Hypercalvinism is a heresy and has no place in Southern Baptist life. It is bad and ought to be identified, argued against, and shunned. I have nothing good to say about hypercalvinism.

Biblical calvinism, on the other hand, is a system of theology that seeks to glory God in all things and in every way. Taking a cue from Isaiah 6, biblical calvinism sees God "high and lifted up." It is a good system of theology and is a badly needed corrective in this day of lax doctrine and moral and theological compromise. But there is an important thing to remember.

Our allegiance is not to a system of theology but to a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Living Word of God. he has given to us the written word of God, which the Holy Spirit uses to point us to Jesus. Any system of theology is only as good as it points us to Jesus.

Let me put it another way. It is in the Bible that we learn of Jesus. As God speaks to us in scripture, we change and conform ourselves to the teachings of God through His word. Thus, we are called to be "biblical Christians." Above any system, above any teacher, we are people of the Book. Once I was asked, "Do you teach calvinism?" and I answered, "I preach the Bible." Even my critics in churches I have served have admitted that I was a biblical preacher. I recall I had a man in a previous church who was not a fan of calvinism, yet, he enjoyed my preaching and never accused me of going beyond what scripture said. This ought to be the pattern for all of us. We ought not to be known as "calvinistic preachers" or as "arminian preachers" or modified calvinistic preachers" or any other such thing. I say again we should NOT be known by these labels. But rather, if someone wants to label us, let them call us a "biblical preacher."

Scripture points us to Jesus, and it is to Him that we owe our loyalty. God has given gifted teachers and preachers to the Church (universal). We ought to heed these gifts of God to His people. Yet, we ought to follow none of them, unless by following them, they bring us closer to Christ. Ultimately, we are followers of Christ, and no one else. Isn't that the way it should be?

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