Towards the end of a recent sermon, barriers to Bible study including “I don’t know how” and “I’m not motivated” were mentioned. In my own journey, a struggle with Bible study is related to opposing perspectives where both sides of an argument reference and use the same scriptures in defending their arguments. What is one, who admittedly struggles with the general concepts of Calvinism, to believe when PhD theologians (if that’s the correct term) such as John Piper and Greg Boyd can’t agree on the Apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans 9? Focusing less on a theological “system” such as Calvinism or any theological model that attempts to organize biblical data may be the best approach. However, it’s my observation that variability in scriptural interpretation comes about, in part, because believers have a “hypothesis” based upon their “belief system”. That said, the debate regarding Calvinism is troubling because 1) there appear to be good arguments for and against Calvinism and 2) one’s perception of who God is can be significantly altered by an affinity (or lack thereof) to Calvinist thought. Honestly, do believers get to choose (pun intended) who’s right – and conversely, who’s wrong? It may seem like a silly thing and perhaps it is. However, the impact of Calvinistic thought has been real in my relationship to God over the last three years. Perhaps I’m ignorant of facts. Perhaps all too often data is usurped by dogma. Perhaps there is a sense of mystery in a spiritual relationship. Perhaps mystery leads to a theological tension.
Is there such a thing as a “two-point” Calvinist? For instance, are there Calvinists who adhere only to (T) total depravity and (P) perseverance of the saints? I’ve always thought that Calvinism rises or falls collectively on all five points (TULIP). What if ditching the whole notion of election, and perhaps a couple of other Calvinist tenants as well, eliminates my sense of theological tension?
Hey Colleen! Guess what?
I’m a Calvinist now! Praise God!
Albeit, I’ll just admit to being a two-point Calvinist. Somehow, that expressed sentiment seems hollow because it lacks the totality of Calvinistic thought. There are five points within the Calvinist “system” or “theological model”. In addition, I suspect my dear friend is not rejoicing over any two-point Calvinist conversion I may proclaim.
So, back to where I started – as an open theist. For reasons I don’t fully understand, I am more comfortable with the general concepts of open theism than I am with Calvinism. I just don’t know whether open theism is right. Then, too, I don’t know if Calvinism is right either. The theological tension continues.