The nature of faith – Part 1

This is a series outlining my position in the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate. Sparked by a perusal of Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views from InterVarsity Press, I wanted to take the opportunity to re-assess and articulate my view. More ink has been spilt on this than just about any other theological topic in my lifetime. I do not mean to muddy the waters any more than is necessary, but I think that whatever view one has on this issue belies much of what one believes about God, humanity, creation, and agency.

I have framed my position around the truth of faith. I will make my introduction to the series and my first post about what I consider to be at stake in this debate and discussion, connected to the chief virtue of those who fear God: faith. I will make a tentative list of what is at stake and add to it or modify as I work through my argument. These are paramount issues; I was going to make a rhetorical point about the orthodox doctrines of Christianity and the other positions a believer might take according to a certain theology, but really, faith is at the heart of Christianity. These are the things I consider to be most at stake in the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate, from most broad to most specific:

  • What is God’s message to humanity through the Scriptures? Why does the Bible exist?
  • How are we to understand God’s commands to us, contained in the Law or given through His word? What obligation are we under? What is obedience to God’s command (particularly relevant are warnings which come through God’s prophets and apostles)? How are we to understand conditional statements made by God? Further, what are we to understand as our options in response to God’s commands? The garden of Eden situation will be my paradigm.
  • Why are all not saved from death?
  • Why do some believe God and live?

So you see, faith is at the heart of the discussion.

My argument will contain mainly exegetical propositions. I will appeal to the Scripture, though my proposition is my own. I submit my arguments here for correction and refinement from other readers. Full disclosure, this treatment will also serve as my entree onto what I consider to be my contribution to orthodox doctrine and theology: a theology of person, undergirded by a rhetoric of threat. My main point will be to argue how faith, life, and the relationship to and pursuit of God cannot be reduced to impersonal formulas of cause and effect (once saved, always saved) nor can these be seen in any way to dim the glory of God or steal His prerogative (God helps those who help themselves).

2016 July 22 – Update from America

I am in Kansas City, MO, staying at the house with Josh and Charlotte, Bethany’s good friends. I apologize for the radio silence – I have been out of my blogging rhythm with all the travel. Here’s a succinct timeline of Bethany and Nathan’s travels:

summer 2016

 

I got to meet Bethany’s friends and family and spend time in Tennessee. We had a reception dinner with friends who traveled to Memphis. The next day, we had a reception open house with family from Bethany’s dad’s side of the family. Bethany and I did other things too, checking off our to-do list of things to accomplish in the States. We even did a super-sprint triathlon!

Part of my time there was 10 days of training in order to join the Network of International Christian Schools as an accompanying spouse and missionary. Bethany works for Yongsan International School, Seoul and is hired by NICS. So, in order to join as a married couple, I was brought into the organization and went through training pertinent to living overseas and being at an international school. So, I’m officially a NICS missionary – no more visa runs!

We spent a week in Texas and Bethany got to meet my family – my dad’s side of the family got together for a rare family reunion! We also had a reception evening with friends of the family and Avi, my dad’s newly adopted daughter, was also dedicated. God continues to put my family together!

Bethany and I will end our time in the States with a vacation time in California. At the end of July, we will head back to Korea for another school year. It is my hope that we can be strong and whole in the midst of the busy-ness and all that God is doing!