Monday, June 25, 2012

Tiptoe Through the Tuilip

I find that I’m still reading and thinking about Calvinist issues this week. The more I study the more amazed I am – some day I’ll have to figure out what it is that draws people to such a thorny part of the garden.  Meanwhile let’s …

Tip-toe Through the Tulip

Not tulips either...
Aren’t acronyms marvelous? Why, the modern world could barely function without reducing every phrase or title to a list of pronounceable initials: SCOTUS and POTUS and PETA and PI. Acronyms allow us to say so much in such a narrow bandwidth that they’ve become indispensible. But they aren’t new. The five points of Calvinism were formalized c1619 as TULIP – a nifty way to remember some fairly outrageous doctrines, most of which began as nuggets of truth which eventually morphed into the misshapen thoughts that permeate a great deal of modern day Christian theology.

The T stands for Total Depravity, i.e. Original Sin. Only the most liberal Christian churches deny the essence of this concept. Eve disobeyed God, ate from the forbidden tree, lured her husband into the same behavior and together they lost their innocence. That loss still manifests itself today in man’s imperfection, in his inability to do anything pure and holy, in his state of “coming short of the glory of God,”  (Romans 3:23).

The only problem with the Calvinist take on this is that the idea has swallowed us whole to the point where we can’t even accept God’s grace without His intervention. Calvinism has allowed Original Sin to destroy free will, putting a nasty knot in the yarn of salvation – how are we to explain the observable fact that some people follow the Lord in spite of their depravity?  If we’re born screwed, then in what do we place our hope? No wonder the non-believing world hates Christianity and its God – it has left them hopeless; they can’t choose Him even if they want to. Yikes.