What I was supposed to write:
Worldview Paper. Write a 4 page essay describing your own worldview. Take special care to establish what you believe, why you believe it, and why you believe it is true. Address the major issue that was raised in this course and how it has contributed to strengthening, challenging, broadening, or focusing your worldview. Your essay should integrate all aspects of the course including reading assignments, discussions, and experiences.
What I wrote:
My worldview can probably be described as the Reformed tradition. It is dominated by the five solas of the Protestant Reformation, and these convince me of the truth of the five points of Calvinism. I believe this because I experience it to be true, and it is logically consistent with my meditations on the Word. My major challenge from OL306 has been the acceptance of others as fellow heirs of God. My tendency is to judge everything by logic, and declare the illogical to be invalid. However, I believe that there are at least two valid reasons why a person’s profession of faith may not seem consistent with their words or actions: weakness, and sin.
Paul writes that the thoughts of all mankind have been made futile (Romans 1:21), but that the minds of the called are being renewed (Romans 12:2). This renewing of the debased mind means that the utterances of the saints are imperfect. Their understanding should exhibit an ever-increasing conformity to Christ-likeness, but their thoughts will contain error until the time that we are fully united with Christ.
Suppose a person affirms that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in Scriptures alone, to the glory of God alone. If they believe that the saved are such because they “choose” to accept forgiveness and the unsaved are such because they “do not choose” to accept forgiveness, this, to me, is logically inconsistent with the affirmation of the five solas.
First, this violates “faith alone”, because as Paul writes in Romans 3:27, faith excludes boasting. If I can say that I am saved because I made a good choice then I have grounds for boasting. Second, this violates “glory to God alone” because if I have any part in my salvation, then I get a piece of the glory. Again in Romans, Paul states clearly that if Abraham had been justified by making a good choice (what else is works, but good choices?) he still would have had no grounds for boasting before God. Therefore, to me, Arminianism is salvation by works, and those who hold to it cannot truly be saved (since one cannot be saved by works).
While I do believe that my analysis of the theology is sound, I now have a better understanding that my analysis of the soul is not. People are often illogical, often confused, and often deceived. While some are certain to be offended by my conclusion that they suffer from a suboptimal articulation of their hearts, I believe it if far more offensive (and infinitely less gracious) for me to conclude that they suffer the wrath of God. Some might ask if I need to analyze the theology at all. I believe I do.
Luke commends the Bereans for examining “the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11). Paul warns Timothy “some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars” (1 Timothy 1:1-2), and in his letter to the Galatians, Paul calls for an anathema on those who would pervert the gospel. Jude enjoins believers to contend for the faith. I must do so.
Does this mean that I should rebuke everyone whose theology I dispute? No, of course not. I myself am often in error, and the subject at hand is how a class discussion and textbook challenged my beliefs. I was unavoidably subjected to an Arminian explanation of atonement in class. I normally avoid Aminianism because I find it maddening. But God broadened my understanding of His love and man’s depravity. I’ve been aware of certain discrepancies here between my views and the views of teachers I respect, but I hadn’t adequately pursued reconciliation of this incongruity.
Every person is imperfect, every person has been blessed with strengths and weaknesses, and every person is inclined to understand some things more easily than others. I have a great weakness in the affections of my heart, and am woefully lacking in compassion. I have no doubt that this creates areas of profound blindness in my life, and I am grateful for the body of believers that helps me understand and appreciate that which I do not see.
While it may be obvious that sin will cause believers to live in ways that are not in accordance with their status as children of God, it hadn’t really occurred to me that it would cause believers to think in ways contrary to the gospel. I’ve not really pondered this much, but it seems logical that what we do has an effect on how we think, and that some sins will prevent us from thinking in certain ways.
If an individual makes an idol of politics, he probably will be disinclined to think in ways that are inconsistent with the functional theology that describes the salvation that he expects from his idol of politics. As Paul writes in Romans 7:22-23, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.”
I find myself most excited with the prospects of overcoming the mental blindness caused by sin. This renewal will happen inevitably, but not automatically. As I increase in the reflection of, and the delight in, the glory of Christ, I will be able to better see His glory. And the better I see His glory, the less I am blinded by sin, which leads to a better view of His glory. A glorious cycle, indeed!
But I will continue to sin, and continue to be limited by the weakness of my fallen body. I’ll need to “work out [my] salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in [me] to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phillipians 2:12-13). I’ll fail many times, but as Anne Lamott wrote about God in Plan B, “I don’t think much surprises him: this is how we make important changes–barely, poorly, slowly. And still, he raises his fist in triumph.”