A Response to “Christianity and the Narrow & Lonely Path”

I found the recent post (noted below) by Mrs. Robinson as to “Christianity and the Narrow & Lonely Path” interesting. She raises difficulties as to living the Christian life, being engaged in ministry and, unfortunately, having to deal with some of the inherent ‘trash’ that comes with the territory of being married to a preacher.

A couple of things she mentioned are of particular interest to me:

First: The issue of God’s sovereignty – I know that Mrs. Robinson is an ardent Calvinist and very much agrees with the doctrine of unconditional election in which God sovereignly determines who shall be given salvation, and subsequently, who will be “sovereignly gifted” with reprobation. Mrs. Robinson stated a couple of things as to God’s sovereignty that I’d like to comment and ask about:

“The Lord had sovereignly ordained that [devastating car accident].”

“[T]he Lord has provided me with … my husband.”

A significant issue I have with Christian faith is the notion of Calvinistic determination wherein God ordains and controls everything that happens to anyone at any time. The above statements would seem to indicate that she agrees with the doctrine of determinism. John Calvin has written on determinism saying in his Institutes of Religion:

  • The counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.
  • Men do nothing [except] at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on anything but what [God] has previously decreed [and] brings to pass by [God’s own] secret direction.
  • The hand of God rules the interior affections no less than it superintends external actions. God [works] in [people’s] hearts to make them will before they [act].

So, I think a fair question would be – does she believe what Calvin wrote? Further, does she accept that any and everything which happens to anyone is a direct result of God’s determinist aka sovereign intent? And if there’s a differentiation wherein she believes that some things are “determined” and that some things are “not determined,” how can she know that which is determined versus that which is not determined? It’s my opinion that except for extremely limited sovereign events i.e. Jesus’ second coming, things that happens are likely the outcome of naturally occurring events and actions. For instance, if one doesn’t brush their teeth, it’s quite likely that over time those teeth will decay, rot and eventually fall out. God has nothing to do with this. Or, I could easily say that when God created the world, he created teeth out of calcium and put a very hard enamel over them. But, for whatever reason, that enamel is subject to chemical corrosion – especially when subjected to sugar. So, clean your teeth or lose them. Your choice.

Second – I find of interest when she wrote, “I’ve been attacked for … speaking on the doctrine of election.” I can only hope that not all of the responses received have been nasty. But it makes me wonder, even if she disagrees with non-Calvinists – of whom there are many, can she at least acknowledge that there is, in my opinion at least, a rationality of and significant evidence for one to think a non-Calvinist theological approach to Christian faith better aligns with what is taught in the Bible?

I appreciate Mrs. Robinson’s sentiments. And maybe she’ll respond and clarify things. However, it’s often difficult to know what to think except I think Christian doctrines ought to be more in agreement. But they’re not. Variance abounds. And that’s not even bringing up LDS or JW aspects to Christian faith (or whether those tenants are even Christian). The significant differences I sense make it challenging to not see Christian faith as little more than, well, opinion … as opposed to truth Just my $0.02.



Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who has recently entered the "Buick stage" of life and decided to migrate to Florida. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

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