07/27/15 – 214
Since we’re starting on a new series, I thought it would be a good time to kick off the new name for these devotions. Since we usually go much deeper than the average 1-2 minute devotional, I just thought the new title was more appropriate. Opinions and feedback are always welcome.
Before we move on to our next big topic, I wanted to take a day or two to answer a few questions that came up during a recent luncheon with a couple of you lovely subscribers. As we discussed the differences between Calvinism and Wesleyanism, and came up with ideas to fix all the problems in the church (we saved the problems of the world for a dinner date), these questions came up:
- Why do some Christians say it’s impossible to live a holy life, that because we’re human, we have to sin every day ‘in thought, word, and deed’ – we can’t help it!
- What does it mean to be holy? To be perfect? How can we be like Jesus when we know we aren’t perfect?
- What is sin?
John Calvin was a French lawyer turned theologian during the 1500s, the father of Calvinism. Roughly put, any Protestant churches that call themselves ‘Reformed’ or embrace that doctrine (including Baptist) would be considered Calvinistic churches. John Wesley came along about 200 years later, disagreed with some of Calvins’ basic doctrines like predestination (some are chosen to go to heaven, some are not, and nothing we can do can change it), holiness and sin. He founded the Methodist movement. Generally speaking, the doctrine of most mainstream Christian churches can be traced to one of these men or the other.
Both doctrines are in agreement in the basics – that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He came to earth and died on the cross, was resurrected for the atonement of our sin, that the Bible is the Word of God, and so on.
I have discovered that a lot of the differences really aren’t that different at all. To me, they seem to be more differences in semantics (word meaning and usage) than anything. Let’s start with sin. Calvinists say we can’t help but sin, every day. We are human; we are not perfect, etc. Wesleyans say that if we cannot live a sinless life like Jesus did, then why did He call us so often to do it? “Be Holy, as I am holy”
1 Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Well, I believe the answer lies in your definition of sin. And for that, you’ll have to wait till tomorrow. For today, let’s just praise God that he loves us no matter whether we choose to follow Him through Wesley or Calvin – as long as our eyes are not on them, but on Him.