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TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
John 3:18 (CSB): “Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “paradox” this way:
Paradox: “A statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.” – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paradox
I believe that we are to understand God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will as a paradox. There are certainly well-intentioned folks who believe that they have figured out how it works but I’m convinced the jury is still out. Our minds simply cannot comprehend how God exercises His sovereign free-will at the same time that mankind is able to exercise his free-will.
My convictions on this matter have not changed much over the years. I wrote about this issue almost 7 years ago in a blog post titled, “Calvinism, Civility, and Conversions.” In that article, I celebrated the fact that Frank Page, the SBC Executive Committee President at the time, was bringing together Calvinists and non-Calvinists to look for common ground.
But I believe that argumentation among some people will continue. Why? Because the Bible’s teaching on God’s free-will and mankind’s free-will is a paradox. They are both true and we cannot fully understand how they work. I’m not saying that we cannot understand this truth at all. I’m just saying that fully understanding how it works is left to the infinite mind of God to comprehend.
One thing is clear, though, when we look at our Verse for Today. When someone ends up in Hell, it’s not because God didn’t choose them. Jesus places the blame squarely on the person who refused to believe.
John 3:18 (CSB): “Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” (emphasis mine)
So, while it is sometimes appropriate, and sometimes mentally and spiritually rewarding, to discuss theological matters with someone of an opposing view, I am grateful that the SBC seems to have calmed down on the Calvinism issue (for now). As a convention, we are becoming much more intentionally missional in the spreading of the Gospel. We are working together … and that is something that we can all celebrate!
On that same note, our Youth Pastor shared a link earlier today. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention recently posted an article about church planting. The exciting thing is that is was written by one of the pastors in the Calvary Church group. It was in May 2014 that I flew out to Colorado to prayerfully gather information about which church plant we would help. I came back and led Westside to partner with a new church plant called Calvary Church Denver led by Kevin Hasenack. It has been an incredible blessing as we have watched his congregation grow from a handful to well over a hundred with multiple salvations and baptisms.
So, let’s not waste our time arguing over matters that do not affect the Gospel. Let’s get into our Bibles, affirm it all (even the parts we don’t quite understand), and let’s work together to get the Gospel to the nations.