Free Will Synergism vs. Free Grace Monergism

I originally posted this link back in February 2011.  In light of the recent debate about soteriology in the SBC I thought I would repost it today.

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Here is a link to a nice short summary of the difference between the synergistic view and the monergistic view of salvation.  Scripture references are included.  If you are unfamiliar with the difference between the two take five minutes and read this and you will have a better understanding when done.  It is my hope that it may even inspire you to do some more research into the subject.

Combating Theological Indifference

I remember one particular Sunday morning at a church I no longer attend.  I was asked to fill in as the teacher in a senior adult class whose teacher was not able to be there that day.  There was 12-15 people in the class and I knew them all.  Most had been faithful member of the church for many years (some as long as 30 or 40 years).  I don’t remember what the text was that day but I do remember that the subject of the passage was spiritual gifts.  About 1/2 through the lesson I noticed that the people seemed lost.  When that happens the cause is usually either that I have done a very poor job of teaching that day or it was a topic the people were not familiar with.  At one point I stopped the lesson and asked how many of them had heard of spiritual gifts or knew what they were.  The answer:  blank stares.  The response still stuns me.  I don’t say that to disparage or condemn anyone present in the class that day.  It is however an indictment of the church (in general).  Many churches are guilty of not teaching theology or worse, teaching that theology doesn’t matter.  My point here is not limited to the topic of spiritual gifts.  I think there are many theological topics which would have elicited the same response by a large portion of the church going population.  It was an indication of the theological indifference we see among believers today.

This theological indifference is a result of many complex issues all working together.  My purpose today is to offer one suggestion that will help to alleviate this problem.  My suggestion is not a quick fix or an immediate answer.  It is however very likely to work…given enough time.  So what is my suggestion?  I suggest that churches begin to teach systematic theology, in age appropriate ways, to children at the earliest possible opportunity.  There are curriculums available to help with this or the church can develop its own way of doing it.  How (method, material) it is done is less important than why it is done.  The purpose of teaching theology to kids is 1) to glorify God, 2) help them to develop a biblical worldview, and 3) help God be real to them as they learn more about Him.  A side benefit to this is that as the kids learn theology so will the adults.

So, basically I am saying that the children are our future (I could not resist that) and we should follow the biblical teaching to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.  I have not suggested anything new or profound here.  I am only getting back to the biblical model.  Do you agree of disagree?  Have I left something out that you think should be added?  Leave a comment and we will discuss it.

 

 

What will be said about you at your funeral?

Last night my wife and I had the privilege of attending the funeral of a dear lady we had known for nearly 20 years.  We had not seen her in several years though.  I must admit that I don’t like funerals.  I go because it is the proper thing to do but I just like to.  I am sure I am not alone in that way.  Having said that, last nights funeral was different.  My wife and I agreed afterwards that it was probably the best funeral we had ever attended.  We spoke to others who shared our opinion on the matter.  So, what was different about this funeral?  Good question.   Nothing about the service itself stood out as noteworthy.  The funeral home did a fine job directing the event but there was nothing out of the ordinary.  The music was good but it also was nothing that isn’t usually heard at funerals.  The pastor preached a very nice sermon.  The content was biblical based and he spoke from the heart but it was not his ability to speak or the content of his message that stood out.  In the end, what really made this service different was life of the person we were there to pay our final respects to.  She lived a life in which God was glorified.  She was not a great missionary to some foreign country or someone others would consider important to the community (in a leadership capacity).  She was a woman who lived out what the bible teaches us and people recognized that about her.  The pastor shared with us how she showed her love to others in prayer and concern for them and how she was an example of a persistent woman like the woman wanting justice from the corrupt judge.  In effect, she preached her own funeral by the way she lived her life.  What a testimony she has left for those who knew her.

In pondering all of this last night a question occurred to me.  What will be said about me at my funeral?  Have you considered what will be said about you at your funeral?  Most of us, me included, don’t like to consider such things because we don’t really want to think about the fact that we will all die one day.  But think about it for a moment.  What will others say about you?  What testimony will we leave behind?  Now, I am not suggesting that our motive for living a certain way should be so that nice things are said about us when we are gone.  No, I am saying that we should live out what we believe God has taught us in his word so that when we die our loved ones will have the peace of mind of knowing that we are in Heaven and that God was glorified through the life we lived.  Think on this question today.  Are there changes we need to make to our lives?  If so, today is the day to start.  Eternity will be here before we know it and it will be too late then.  Glorify God and he will take of the rest.  He has promised us that he would.  Now, believe it and live each day accordingly.

Theological Indifference

The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing and we have trained our ears not to hear. — A.W. Tozer

As I look at the Church (the universal church) these days I am struck by the fact that so many believers are indifferent when it comes to theology.  Theology in general is not considered to be important to living daily as believers.  There seem to be whole movements founded on the fact that doctrine is less important (or not important at all) than “living out the gospel”.  The seeker sensitive movement in particular is inundated with the “social gospel” and post-modern humanism which teaches people that anything that divides (doctrine & theology) is to be avoided for the sake of maintaining community unity.

As the Tozer quote alludes to, we have a whole generation of believers that have been trained not to hear certain things.  The consequence is that we have a whole generation of believers that don’t know what they believe and why they believe it.  They have been trained to think that this does not matter, that living out the gospel in community is what really matters.  Living out our faith does matter but it should be a result of our understanding of what our faith teaches us and not what we trust for our salvation.

So, what can we do to remedy this situation.  The answer is not difficult to identify but it might be difficult to implement.  Theology needs to be taught starting at the earliest age possible in our churches.  We need to add an apologetics component as well as a church history aspect.  Over time the problem will be beaten as people are taught and embrace the importance of theology in understanding and living out our faith.

Do you agree?  Are there other steps you would recommend?  Do you believe this is not really a problem?  Leave a comment and tell me, and others, what your thoughts are on this.

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