Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seeing the world as a Calvinist

Apparently, a Dutch scientist has found a difference between Calvinists and Atheists when it comes to pattern recognition.

Maybe that's why we're soooo good at seeing the speck in someone else's theology, and so unable to see the log in our own practice?

I dunno...I'm skeptical of any causal connections found or posited. But it's true that an emphasis on God's sovereignty can cause one to see the world in a different light.

You might have heard the joke about the Calvinist who fell down a flight of stairs. A friend who saw it all take place asked: "Are you alright?"

To which the Calvinist replied: "Well...I'm glad that's over."

I have a friend - really the father of a friend of mine - who helped me understand practical Calvinism. At the time, I was as Arminian as pentecostals come. I would say that in evangelism, Calvinists had to be the coldest, hardest, merciless people imaginable. He retorted that when things get tough, a good Calvinist is in a much better position to sing God's praises.

That man is going through an awful battle with cancer - one he may not pull through. Yet every picture of him has a smile, and he has a quiet confidence in God's goodness and living for God's glory. It's a beautiful thing - and it's touching the lives of people who are immune to the Arminian "decide today, or burn tomorrow" rhetoric.

Why? Because he sees a pattern to God's goodness that is beyond the limits of his own understanding. He sees a purpose to his life that is beyond his own comfort, health, or salvation. Maybe that scientist was on to something after all....

What does your theology let you see when you're in the midst of suffering?