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September 09, 2004
There have been several times over the past few weeks when I have been challenged on my Calvinist theology. People have not been confrontational, but I believe by-and-large have been honestly seeking answers and have asked my opinion on various matters. They generally come from an Arminian background and truly want to discover the truth on matters of God’s sovereignty, presdestination and so on. These conversations have given me ample opportunity for reflecting on what I believe.
I’ve decided that Calvinism is wrong and am immediately converting to Arminianism.
Just kidding, of course.
The time I have spent reflecting on the doctrines of grace has done much to reinforce my beliefs in Calvinist theology. Above all, I believe Calvinism allows God to be God - it raises Him to His rightful place, while not exalting man above what he deserves. Allow me to give a brief analogy.
When my family was visiting Georgia last week my son, my mother and I visited a small museum in Cartersville, a few miles from Atlanta. The museum had a glass elevator to move people between the two floors and the basement. Because the elevator was glass, we were able to see the mechanisms that drove it. As we went from the main floor to the second floor we saw the huge counterweight go by our window. As we went up, the counterweight had to move down to provide the energy to raise us. Later, when we went back down to the main floor, the counterweight passed us in the opposite direction. When we moved, the weight moved in proportion to our movement.
Now think of yourself and God replacing the elevator and the counterweight. As one is raised up, the other must necessarily be lowered down. There is a constant relationship between how we view ourselves and how we view God. In order to view God as He reveals Himself in Scripture, we must humble ourselves. It is my conviction that the doctrines we know as Calvinism raise God to the highest heights. Arminian beliefs begin to slowly raise man, never making him equal to God, but pulling God down from His rightful position. Arminianism raises man too high, thus pulling God too low.
Calvinism rightly views man as being in the lowest possible position. To exalt God to His rightful place, we must lie prostrate on the ground, faces pressed firmly into the dust. When we can get no lower, God is raised to the place He deserves.
That view of God – a God who is truly sovereign and who stands exalted in the highest – that is the starting point for the doctrines of grace.