I once had a school student who refused to become a Christian because he believed that if he was ‘predestined then he would be saved anyway’… and he would have no say in the matter.

I have been pondering today that theology is quite a balancing act. To reconcile the sovereignty of God with human free will is quite a feat. Typically we err on one side or the other of any given issue, depending on our church tradition and our own personal preferences.

The caricatured Calvinist / Arminian debates are a classic example of this kind of issue. To assume ‘its all God’ or ‘its all about our choice’ usually leaves us with some warped understanding of how the world works.

I do think there are doctrines where extremity is ok – even necessary – grace is an example. If grace isn’t extreme then it probably isn’t grace!

But where two truths exist in tension to pick a side and push it to an extreme will inevitably result in a theology that is at least a little wacky.

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9 thoughts on “Extremes

  1. Theology should be born in humility. We can never say we know it all. So taking sides is out. I tend to be more on the Calvinist point of view, but I do recognise that this position is not complete.

    What a great GOD we have that can weave such wonders together.

  2. Something I’ve always found really helpful is to ask the question, How does the Bible itself apply the doctrinal ‘tension’ of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility?

    So for example, Paul will “reason” with the Thessalonians in Acts 17:2. In other words, proclaiming Christ and treating his hearers as though they are people with wills who can be persuaded. Which they are!

    But then, when he writes his first letter to them, does he congratulate them on their choice of Christ?

    No: “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because…” (1 Thess. 1:4ff)

    So I’m with Mike (above) on this: “What a great GOD we have that can weave such wonders together.” Indeed.

    So we shouldn’t abandon one doctrine at the expense of the other. But believe both with a passion: sowing and reaping with all our energy, and taking all comfort in our sovereign God, who gives the growth.

    The alternative, as Hamo suggests, is “a little wacky”…

  3. How about grace being held in tension with works Hamo? A healthy understanding of grace will be kept honest by a healthy understanding of works. Grace pushed too far is not extreme, it’s cheap. My 2cents. 🙂

  4. Hey Tim, I reckon the grace part, as opposed to the faith-works, is down to honesty with God and allowing Him to convict you of stuff.

    I’m not sure that I have the ‘grace’ (licence) to do what I want, but I think God shows grace when my knowledge, experiences or weaknesses get in the way of living as He would have me live.

    God shows grace, which we can then claim with thanksgiving.

    However, for me to claim grace just cos I got it last time is to trample on the relationship that God has invested so much in pursuing.

    2 cents back atcha…

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