I've always had an issue with the Calvinist doctrine, the one that says we are always on our way to heaven if we asked for salvation once upon a time. It believes we cannot backslide and fall away from grace...it's always agitated everything in me, but I haven't been able to quite put my finger on why (besides the fact that its so completely unbiblical)...then John sent me this quote by John Newton, the man who wrote "Amazing Grace" and scores of other hymns. And it nails so perfectly what the issue is with this stupid, arrogant, self-righteous doctrine...Yes God is gracious, a grace we could never fathom. But to assume we simply are ENTITLED to this never ending flow of turned heads and shrugged shoulders? As if God is a weak undecided little man who has no ability to say, you abused my grace and now it is not yours any longer. Well, thats so pompous it makes my blood boil. US humans, as weak and easily manipulated as we are, rarely let someone walk, and walk, and promise and break, and promise and break, without drawing a line where we say ENOUGH! And this righteous, holy, Father is far above our own weak will and inability to maintain healthy relationship. He simply says, this grace is free BUT, here are the standards you must keep to continue living under such awesome mercy. And its simple really; to just devote your entire life to him. To live in a way that glorifies Him; yes with glitches and bumps, we are human after all. But to come contritely before the throne of heaven and ask for pardon and to strive for a character that resounds the name of Jesus. It is free, but it is NOT to be assumed and toyed with. Anyway..here is that quote:
And I am afraid there are Calvinists, who, while they account it a proof of their humility that they are willing in words to debase the creature, and to give all the glory of salvation to the Lord, yet know not what manner of spirit they are of. Whatever it be that makes us trust in ourselves that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party, is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit. Self- righteousness can feed upon doctrines, as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature and the riches of free grace.
John Newton, quoted in Credenda Agenda, Vol. 5 No. 2, p. 2, from The Works of John Newton, Vol 1, Banner of Truth, p. 272.
"the riches of free grace..." exactly.
okay, that might seem random, but its been coming up lately and I think there are some secret readers who ascribe to this doctrine. If you were wondering where I stand, now you know.
In other news...Illy sent me this amazing quote from Pastor K. Foley's sermon sunday night...made me simultaneously feel contrite and so cherished.
"The gospel...You're more of a sinner than you ever believed; and more loved than you ever dared to hope."