I listened to a sermon the other day where the pastor railed against a whole segment of the church whose theology was different than his, and it brought me back to studying differing views in theology class. First there was the tight collared Calvinist view, next the loose robed Arminianist standpoint, from there, complimentarian to egalitarian, cessationist or charismatic and it went on. When invited to respond, I walked to the front and drew boxes with each view. Then I took the marker and wrote God encircling them all.
It seems we humans can’t help but do whatever it takes to quantify and understand everything.
This isn’t all bad; we have technology and much knowledge of our world because of this propensity, but when it comes to God, I wonder if this habit often serves to divide us and restrict our view of God to something we can wrap our mind around? I wonder if we let God be as big as He is, if our boxes would give way to greater awe, wonder and worship of the only One who is worthy of it. I’m not saying seeking right theology isn’t important – it is. But as soon as we think we have God and all His ways figured out, we are worshipping a different god.
When Job and his friends were confronted by God, rather than answering Job’s questions (he had some good reasons to question I would say), God proved definitively that He was far bigger and wiser than Job could ever conceive of.
In Psalm 139:6, David too realizes that while God knew him intimately, understanding God was not something his mind could accomplish.
Isaiah the prophet:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
We can explain how a baby develops, but the mystery and miracle of life has never been explained by science and yet, somehow, babies keep being born. I don’t understand how God calls and saves people, but I know He does, and I am called to participate. The Creator of life is beyond our boxes and labels.
I believe where there is ambiguity in scripture, God desires we depend on Him for the answers we need, and trust His divine wisdom for the ones we don’t. I also believe when secondary things divide us as the family of God, the primary things like worshipping God in unity and loving and serving people until they encounter the Person of Jesus, fall by the wayside. (You know, the first and second commandments).
That is an unimaginable tragedy. The world doesn’t need more Calvinism nor does it need more Arminianism. (I am sorry if you hang your hat on one or the other) The world needs us to stop condemning each other. The world desperately needs Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God to break into every corner through the love and obedience of His Body -us.