Proverbs 2/Wisdom speaks: “If you . . .receive and treasure my words . . . if you call out for insight . . . if you seek it like silver . . . Then you will understand awe, righteousness and justice and equity and every good path; you will find knowledge of God; this knowledge will be pleasant to your soul and discretion will watch over you. Then you will walk in the way of the good . . .” If/Then. Protasis/Apodosis. Condition/Consequence.
Maybe the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches of Arminian Theology (Methodist, Church of England, some Baptists) have it right when the advocate for a cooperative soteriology? “IF-Then.” Holy Spirit educated free Collaborators. Grace+ Human Cooperation. Free Will and Prevenient Grace. Jesus said, “Oh Jerusalem . . . I wanted to gather your children . . . but you were not willing.” Choice. Cooperation.
Or, did John Calvin have it right when he asserts that the human has free will but that, short of God’s whole and unsupported transformation, the person will always, by fallen nature, choose “the bondage of sin.” No worthy If/Then until the work of God’s Spirit enables it.
It’s not as if these positions haven’t been created, proposed, discussed, argued, defended, fretted and fought over since the days of Thomas Aquinas (13th c) or Jacobus Arminius (16th c) And, surely, we are free to carry on the battle. Let’s put John Piper and Rob Bell behind candidates lecterns, turn them over to CNN, and let them duke it out.
Or . . . let us turn to Proverbs 1 - 2 as we march our way to an Easter Day of Rejoicing. Let us listen to Wisdom, who stands at the busiest intersections of our lives, yelling till her vocal cords quiver: “Listen to me!” “IF!!!” Whatever your theology, decide to exercise your ability to recognize what is valuable; what is restorative; what is just and good . . . IF you choose that path, you have chosen to walk in goodness; you have found the path of the righteous where integrity resides. “Go for it,” shouts Wisdom. We are on the path to a tomb. To a discovery. To a risen Savior who had not a word to say about Calvin or Arminius or Aquinas or Luther or any man honored by the title “pope, papa” but did say, “I longed to gather you to myself but you were not willing.” “If/Then” What a difference a choice can make.
Post by Barb Pine