Oct. 25, 2011

Calvinism

From The Uncommon Criminal by Kyle De Wolf (author's profile)

Transcription

Oct. 11, 2011
Tue.

CALVINISM
Kyle De Wolf

I have always struggled
with the doctrines of Calvinism.
For while they are palpably absurd,
the nation of predestination
resonates with my experience
of helplessness before the winds
of chance and circumstance,
my interior longing for a sense
of purpose and order at work
in the dark recesses of the cosmos,
and my inability to muster
the baser instincts of my nature.

Calvinists like to pride themselves
on the logical consistency
of the five points which they proffer
as the heart of the gospel,
and I grant that those five points
bear within themselves an iron-clad logic,
yet they still manage to offend
all reasonable and humane sentiments.

If I have no free will,
how can I be held responsible
for my actions, praised or blamed?
The Calvinists allege that merely believing
in free will is an act of rebellion,
for in doing so I assert my independence
as a creature against my Creator.
Yet my believing or not believing
is in the hands of God and thus
my rebellion is not my own.
It has been imposed on me
by the almighty will of God,
and by rebelling, I am but obeying
that which has been decreed for me.
There is no rebellion with God.

Furthermore, I have been told
that as a creature I have no right
to grumble against my Creator.
I am but clay in the potter's hands.
He makes some vessels for glory
and other vessels for damnation.
But my grumbling or not grumbling
is but clay in the potter's hands,
and I must grumble or not grumble
as the potter has seen fit to mold me.

Now the Lord will show mercy
to whom he will show mercy,
and he will have compassion
on whom he will have compassion,
and he will impute sin to whom he will.
I raise no objection to the king's prorogative
to freely grant clemency to whom he will,
but all reasonable men concur
that for a king to inflict cruel punishment
on his servants who loyally obeyed his decrees,
and who could not help but obey,
charging them with rebellion
merely because it is his sovereign privilege
to charge with rebellion whomever he will,
is but a hollow pretense of justice
and it dishonors the king.
So either the Almighty dishonors himself
or it is the Calvinists who do.
It is impossible for us here below
to see in that anything else
but mockery and injustice.
Yet our seeing or not seeing
is also in the hands of God.

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lru Posted 7 years, 8 months ago. ✓ Mailed 7 years, 7 months ago   Favorite
Just read your poem on Calvinism.

It echoes my own struggle with it as well. There's a rest and a peace when I believe it, and yet the justice side, and the revulsion that others seem to show when they encounter it, make me pause.

So far, I think the most important aspect of the "debate" is in the last line of your poem:

"Yet our seeing or not seeing is also in the hands of God."

I think it is important for me to remember that God has already given me a lot to "see" with. But most of the time it seems that I am like the men on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:25, where Jesus says to them:

"O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken..."

That's me. And if I'm slow of heart to believe what is already in front of me (I'm not talking about the lofty things of Calvinism here, I'm talking about practical things like the Sermon on the Mount), then don't I deserve to be blinded? If I won't even believe the light I have, why should I expect more?

So far, in my ponderings on this, it seems to me that whether I'm blind or not is more important than whether predestination is true or not. Because even if I have free will, God can still guide my paths by determining how much light I have. If I reject the light I have, He is under no obligation to give me more. And so, in either case, humbling myself seems the only logical action. I can at least pray for and work on that.

Thanks for your poem. It was an inspiring summary.

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