If you didn’t guess from the title, it’s been a “week.” Not only has my time been consistently filled with various obligations, but my mind has been filled persistently with all sorts of things that are troubling me. For instance, this week we read the section on Predestination and Election in the Institutes for class, which has disrupted my formerly warm and fuzzy feelings about Calvin and left me with the beginnings of either bitterness and/or frustration toward the man. Maybe it is just me, but I find little that is comforting in the doctrine. I can see why it was comforting to those to whom it was initially written, but even knowing that I cannot spare the doctrine from my sense that for all it is comforting it is problematic. Perhaps it is my context, but all I know about New Testament scholarship and historical Jesus and source criticism makes me wary of the confidence with which Calvin approaches the issue. Never mind the fact that the doctrine seems tangentially important at best. Ultimately, I guess I wish that, like many other things, Calvin had been content to leave things that are ultimately in the jurisdiction of God and God alone to God rather than setting what amounts to a easily misinterpreted and often hurtful doctrine on paper. Next up is providence, so I have little hope it will get much better.
Other than that, I just have a lot coming up in my life. I am preaching this Sunday and on Thursday, and the things I am thinking about preaching will require some finesse. So I am troubled by the prospect of figuring out how to preach what is in my heart and what I see in Scripture this year as we come to Palm Sunday with grace and love. We shall see how it goes, I guess.
And the last thing–I am waiting to hear on a job opportunity for the summer that I have been praying and praying and praying would work out…. hopefully I will hear in the next day or so, but it is leaving me a bit antsy as I wait for the word back.
Grace and peace, I guess is what I need these days. Grace and peace.
3 thoughts on “Whadda Whadda Week….”
Grace and Peace to you. I’m glad you don’t like everything Calvin has to say. It’s never good to like everything a theologian says. Go ahead a dislike his predestination stuff and like the fact that he used to excommunicate men in his church for spousal abuse. Like the fact that he urged the Genevan town fathers to welcome refugees from all over Europe but hate the fact that he was such a sourpuss.
Predestination is actually quite a gracious doctrine, if you understand it as Calvin (and not CalvinISTS, big, big difference) understood it. My two cents on the subject are here:
Give it a look see…
I found Barth’s reworking of Calvin’s doctrine of election to be very helpful. He even manages to uphold a ‘double’ predestination! (in a uniquely different way, of course). Check out Church Dogmatics II.2, it will rock your world.