Driscoll was being his normal self. Although I wish he would move beyond his inadequate Reformed Theology I believe he has the gift of Apostle. He is one of those people that God is using to penetrate pagan America. I think that the apostle Paul had some of the same traits. Arrogant, cocky, pushy and foot in the mouth are some of the terms that come to mind. Of course we need to understand that arrogance is usually what other people call it when you are right and you know it. Some times you actually are right and people still call it arrogance because it relieves them of responsibility to consider the merit of what you say.
So I don’t reject Driscoll by habit. I listen to what he says. Sometimes I say, “Yes!” Sometimes I scream and pound on things. Sometimes I laugh. But I listen, at least for the first half of his sermons.
So what got my goat this time? Clear statements of Reformed Theology. He was talking along and made this statement, “Regeneration comes before faith.” If you are Reform, you agree with this. You may see not problem with it. It is consistent with the Five Points of Calvinism. But rarely is it stated so bluntly that unless you are one of the pre-chosen, you have no hope. Unless you are part of the in-crowd of the elect the Gospel is not good news but a sign similar to the ones that used to be posted, “No Irish need apply.”
Look at the key verse that we all accept.
(Ephesians 2:8 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:The disagreement comes over what is “not of yourselves.” Since the Five Points of Calvinism include Irresistible Grace and Undeserved Election you, your mind, your will and your agreement are removed by the equation. Thus, the faith you have it the gift, not just the grace. In order to have the faith, according to this segment of the church, you are first regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
Is there something I am missing here? According to this system God capriciously decides who will get the nod. He regenerates them, puts in the chip marked faith, pulls out a plum and says, “Oh what a good boy am I.” We are forced into salvation but of course that doesn’t matter because part of the package is that we are made to feel like this is a good deal. The other side of the coin is that the large majority that don’t get this “get out of jail free” card are doomed to an eternity in Hell. This doom is not because you deserve it any more than those who are saved. They don’t deserve it either. You are doomed for the sins you had no way to avoid and had no solution for. This does not make sense to me.
Could God do it this way? Of course He could. He is God. He can do anything He wants. But if He does it that way then our “love” is nothing but a programing package that makes one person run on Windows and another on Lennox. It is like playing a computer game where you have all the cheat codes. You win but the win doesn’t mean much if you have a healthy personality.
I assume God has a healthy personality. In His grace I assume that He allows the Holy Spirit to compensate for my sinful nature and allow me to hear the gospel. I assume His grace makes it possible for me to respond to His love. I assume His grace allows me to decide to believe, not forces me to believe. I assume that His grace then continues to work in my life as I take the undeserved gift of salvation and move on into obedience, growth and holy living.
I could be wrong, but understand, according to Reformed Theology I am wrong because God wired me that way.
I chose to believe that the Gospel is Good News.
homo unius libri