Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter.
You and I have our own theological positions and prejudices. We have our own presuppositions that we bring to the texts we read and preach. This will not change; you won’t convince me, and I won’t convince you to make drastic alterations. In fact, usually what happens is I begin to dig my heels in and try to prove you wrong. You begin to sling names and associations against me. What in the world is this accomplishing? How is the Kingdom being edified and furthered through this kind of banter?
There is a lot of current discussion about being civil with each other about all this chaos surrounding Calvinism and Non-Calvinism. There are schools warring over this very issue, bloggers blogging over the issue, and administrators making outlandish statements about such things. REALLY, is this going to accomplish anything? Actually, it will accomplish something…a greater chasm and divide than already exists.
It also creates a terrible witness for the Gospel which, after all, is the one thing we say we want to promote!
Guys, we aren’t talking about critical liberal issues but interpretive issues that have been debated for centuries. We aren’t discussing heresy. Calvinists are not wolves in sheep’s clothing, and vice versa. We will not reconcile the differences. We won’t even be able to sit down and negotiate peace terms. But we can agree to disagree and MOVE FORWARD for the cause of Christ and His banner!
So if you aren’t changing and I am not changing, then what in the world shall we do? I think Platt and Chan are hitting the nail on the head. We must unite under the banner of disciple making. After all, that command is given to ALL Calvinists and Non-Calvinists alike. Clearly, Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8 are inspired verses of Scripture. But do we treat them that way? There is not one theological system that is separated from this biblical imperative.
Don’t tell me that you know and that I am just beating a dead horse. Because if I was then we wouldn’t be writing about this now, and you wouldn’t be preparing your comments for the bottom of the page. We also wouldn’t have put together a peace treaty amongst Southern Baptist factions called “An Advisory Team on Calvinism.”
What do you have to say for yourself? Don’t blame, or finger point, or act like you haven’t been part of the problem. I have, and I have come to realize that. So, are you willing to lay down theological prejudices and pursue making disciples? Am I willing to do that?
Really, those aren’t legitimate questions. The only real legitimate question is, “Am I willing to be obedient to Christ’s command?” If we spent nearly as much time pouring and investing into the lives of those around us as we do in battling for our positions, I wonder what the outcome would be.
I recently went on a pastor-training trip with a Missions Professor, who is not a Calvinist, but he is a personal friend. We traveled to the Ivory Coast to teach a History of Christianity course. Would you believe that while on the trip we both had several opportunities to share the Gospel? Would you believe that in sharing the Gospel we both shared the same Jesus? Would you believe that we both know the Bible teaches repentance and faith? The differences we share were and will continue to be set-aside for a GREATER purpose. That is to champion Christ and to bring Glory to Him!