A Second Set of Books

The other day I was having a conversation with a Calvinist friend of mine on Facebook and it got me to thinking.  The conversation centered around the idea that people when talking about the Bible or any Book or Historical Person keep a Second Set of Books.  Now for this gentleman the second set of Books is Calvin’s Institutes along with a number of others I am sure.  Yet when he was talking he never mentioned the Second Set of Books from which his assumptions about the Bible arrive.

He assured me that because the ideas of Calvin where 100% what the Bible teaches there was in fact no reason to talk about his Second Set of Books.  I commented how this reminds me of when Mormon Missionaries come to your house in order to give you a FREE Bible.  When in fact it is their desire and calling to get you to embrace the teachings of a Second Set of Books altogether.

As I reflected on this tendency of people to keep a Second Set of Books and I realized we all do it.  Jesus when He is talking to people says “you have heard it said” or some peoples Second Set of Books says this about the Torah but my Second Set of Books says this.    It seems impossible not to have a Second Set of Books or a Personal Hermeneutic by which we Interpret the Word of God. I just wish we could all admit it and stop pretending ours is the same as the Original.


Wrestling With God

In Paul’s letter to the fellow believers in Rome he ask a rhetorical question,“Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”  I have seen this verse used time and again to prove God is Sovereign of the evil and the good.  That it’s all planed out from beginning to end including those merely playing the villans role.  Thank God the bible is full of actual stories that contradict this idea of God as puppet master.

Choice it seems is built into the biblical narrative from the very first story told of Adam and Eve.  As Dr. Michael Lodahl put so well in his book (The Story of God) “Scripture Testifies of God not only as the Creator of all things but also the One who has lovingly, compassionately, and freely entered into covenantal relation with the creation.”

Paul’s question rhetorical question is actually taken from the book of Isaiah and not as some might think from the mind of Augustine and Calvin.

Isaiah 29:16

You turn things upside down,

as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!

Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,

“You did not make me”?

Can the pot say to the potter,

“You know nothing”?

But let us answer Paul’s rhetorical question with one big affirmative Yes!

Wrestle With God just like Job did over Gratuitous Evil.

Wrestle With God  just like Abraham who argued with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Wrestle With God just like Moses did over his Identity at the burning bush, or as Moses defended others in the face of God’s judgment.

Wrestle With God just like Jacob did over the course of your life and refuse to let go.

Wrestle with God in the Garden as Jesus did, until the Leap of Faith is Required.

Wrestle With God

In Faith

and  Doubt

In Victory

and Defeat

In Love

and Fear

In hope

and Despair

Wrestle with God until He touches you

and gives you a New Name,

but know this most of the time the God you are really wrestling with,

is the god of your own understanding.


Why I am no Longer a Hyper Calvinist

1. Love of the non-elect and the stranger outside the gate.

2.  My chest was sore from constantly beating it. 

3.  I could not preach one more horse race I thought was fixed,

while pretending it was exciting.  

4. The idea of babies in Hell,

was in the end beyond the pale. 

5.  I grew weary of Calvin interpreter (——– ) worship,

you fill in the blank all you cubs out there.

6. I pondered that maybe God’s love was not held subject to His Sovereignty, 

and that His Honor did not Trump His Mercy.

7.  I realized God created more flowers than just Tulips,

8.  I no longer believed God was a control freak,

who had to double down on Predestination.

9. I got tired of being verbally aggressive,

while seeing heretics behind every new idea.  

10. I realized I was predestined and called to reject Hyper Calvinism,

what else could I do?