My Perspective Versus Your Perspective

Here is a statement that I think deserves a LOT of attention from us all: “It is so easy seeing things from our own perspective that we fail to see other’s perspectives clearly and correctly.”

This statement, to me, sets the stage for a couple serious pitfalls. First of all, it becomes so easy to hurl criticisms at those who have different thoughts about things than we may have by lumping them into some category that we consider illogical and incorrect. This is unfair and in some ways can even be unintentionally demeaning. The second problem that I see is this, if I cannot follow what someone is saying in a discussion like this and be fair to the other person’s explanations etc… how on earth can we speak to a lost person and help him see the “TRUTH” if all we see is our own personal reference point and his as “Pelagian, Semi-Pelagian, Arminian, Calvinist, etc.?

People really have a hard time even fathoming the point of even debating Calvinism and Arminianism in the first place… but that is not what we are doing. (Or at least not what I am doing.) I am challenging myself to seek to understand sin and its effects on individuals and the world we live in and how conversion overcomes those effects. Now, it just happens that those discussions are framed by those who call themselves Calvinists and Arminians and that is why it is no surprise that I am neither.

I really do appreciate the challenges that lie in these discussions because it does force me to consider my position and seek to understand the Bible for myself. I am not here to change anyone’s mind or convert anyone… that is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. I have engaged for my personal benefit and for that I am appreciative of all that participate in this process.

May God bless us all and our efforts to serve Him and those He places in our path.

Grateful to be in His Grip!

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cindy Sandifer on December 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

    i have been thinking about the same thing lately. during an online “discussion” with some messianic jews, i was “informed” that the version of the Bible that i was quoting from is incorrect and a bad translation. the nlt happens to be my favorite. but my point is: how can you even have a discussion with someone if every time you make a Biblical point, they just say, “well, your Bible is incorrectly translated. this is what it really means….” how do they know that THEIR Bible isn’t the one that is incorrectly translated?? for goodness sake! it all began to seem like a buch of semantic nitpicking to me. in fact, the more i think about it, the more i think that all of these “arguments” within christianity are irreconcilable. why not just agree to disagree and quit trying to convince the other denominations they are wrong? it is never going to work. each person who has accepted Christ as Savior must read the Word for himself, hopefully with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead him or her into truth.
    but, as you stated, i am not the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth. that is His job, not mine.
    blessings!

    Reply

  2. WOW… you mean there are more folks who use that as an argument than Calvinists and Arminians?

    LOL Thanks for your insightful input. I guess the thing that really makes me an odd-ball in all this discussion is that instead of reading Calvin, Arminius, Augustine,Piper, Mohler, Wesley and ALL the super theological giants out there is I just pick up the Bible and stroll through it and let IT speak to me and so it is no wonder I don’t quote and echo their statements.

    As to the issue of Scripture… and translations being incorrectly translated… none of us have the original manuscripts to look at and even if we did… we will interpret them just like we do the english versions we do have. The Messianic folks use the argument that the Greek influence has tainted the real meaning and message… well there may be an element of truth to that and there may not be… I see the genius of the Bible as being a means to know God and His perfect will for our lives…

    And… since the Bible seems to me to indicate that it is the work and responsibility of the Holy Spirit to write its words in my heart… somehow the inadequacies of the printed page are corrected when the Holy Spirit writes them in my heart and helps me apply them in the first place.

    Maybe that is part of my problem… I am way too simplistic in my approach to theology in the first place.

    I do not think so! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. It was a breath of fresh air for me this morning!!!!! Please stop in again.

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

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    Reply

  3. Posted by Cindy Sandifer on December 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

    i was introduced to calvinsim in a real-world setting (i.e. non-academic), during a time when i did not have a church home, by a friend who invited me to attend the PCA church to which her family belonged. her husband gave me a book to read about TULIP. most of it resonated with me, based on my knowledge of the Bible and my own personal experience (not to say that i am married to the idea now). the only plank i had difficulty with was the L: limited atonement. i just cannot swallow the explanation that in order for Jesus’ atoning death to be a “success”, He must have died only for those who were the elect. john 3:16 clearly says that he came for the WORLD.

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  4. I thought I was a 1-point Calvinist, adhering to Perseverance of the Saints but after looking at what it actually says, I found out I was not even a 1-point Calvinist… it is not the saint who perseveres but to me, the Savior and because He lives, I can live. I realize that is a bit semantic but my salvation is not in my ability to persevere or hold on to the end but rather the Savior’s ability to persevere and His holding onto me… which is the basis for eternal security which I believe. Calvinists use the phrase perseverance of the saints but in my opinion today falsely equate that with eternal security.

    You may find reading here to be quite interesting to say the least. I do not believe in total depravity… man is depraved because he has this sin nature and a desire to serve self instead of the Savior but total depravity says that man is dead in his sin and incapable of responding to God’s revelation of Himself or His self admitted purpose of reconciling the world unto Himself unless God regenerates him first.

    Basically… the Reformed position says… regeneration comes before repentance and saving faith where I believe revelation and reconciliation precede repentance and saving faith which lead to regeneration.

    Unconditional election says that because God is sovereign and all-knowing He MUST have known before the foundation of the world who would and would not be saved. sounds logical and I do not really have a problem with saying He KNOWS who will be saved but I do have a problem saying His knowledge of who would be saved predetermines who will and will not be saved, which of course is the basis for limited atonement.

    Anyone who does not believe in universalism believes in some form of limited atonement… but Calvinists say Christ died for the elect… well that is exactly what He DID DO… since as you pointed out He died for the sins of the world! The elect, which I correlate with saved. are a part of the world. The problem with BOTH unconditional election and limited atonement as proposed by the Calvinists is the necessity of placing responsibility of people remaining lost on God since He did not choose to save them. Reprobation is a necessary counter to election.

    Irresistible Grace is equally appalling to me personally. To say that God reaches down and by His own sole discretion and decretive will chooses those to be saved and that choice of election on His part is irresistible on my part does not sit well with what I believe the Bible teaches. The whole idea of covenant to me defies this kind of tenet in the first place. God said… I want to be your God and I want you to me My people.”

    Nowhere in the OT does God EVER make His will irresistible… don’t know how on earth He can be seen as doing so post-Calvary. Plus… here is another problem. God is not responsible for our sin… so that means His will is not irresistible there… since the Bible clearly says God’s will is that we do not sin… once we are saved… God’s will is that we surrender to His will and grow and mature and hear and heed the Holy Spirit who has taken up residency in our hearts… so once again…God’s will is not irresistible…

    So that leaves God’s irresistible will relative to ONE decision in our entire life… and that is with respect to being “born again.” I simply do not think so. The whole system seems fatally flawed to me!

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

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  5. I don’t see the problem. It is not my responsibility to try to understand what someone may or may not understand. It is my responsibility to try to understand the Bible and what it says. That means taking Bible translations seriously. For me it meant going to school for 15 years and learning Greek and Hebrew. For me it means constant study which I have done for the last 24 years after I finished seminary. I an not interested in other opinions if all it is, is an uninformed opinion. I don’t care how people “feel” about biblical interpretation. My feelings will always be against the things of God simply because my feelings are fallen like everything else about me.

    What I do like is to discuss with others who are informed about their own view, who take Scripture more serious than opinion or feelings. Such people are interested in truth, not bias, not a pet doctrine or interpretation. I grow weary of all positions when the person is more interested in preserving their own position rather than being truthful with the Biblical text. I have learned a lot from discussions with people whose are most concerned with truth than opinion. I learn nothing but grow frustrated with those who don’t know the truth but have an opinion.

    That means that we all must become honest with ourselves. Take the simply act of presenting the Gospel to the lost. If we are presenting the Gospel to others, we need to be honest. Telling a person, for example, that Christ will solve all their problems and take away all of their troubles, is not true. In fact the opposite is true. But I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this from preachers and layman. It is not an honest presentation of the Gospel. Neither do you find phrases like invite Jesus into your heart, or make Christ your personal savior, in Scripture or any sentiment like it. Whether or not one is a Calvinist or an Arminian, both should first be interested the truth of Scripture and not whatever it is that they are trying to defend.

    Biblical honesty, the quest for truth, is by far the most important thing we can do in any kind of theological discourse. And I think it is the biblical mandate.

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  6. Randy,

    I think I agree with what you are saying… and maybe I should have given a reason for my post… my apologies.

    In blogging and responding to various people… I get this feeling that people do not pay any attention to what the other person is saying and they simply respond to statements made without responding to the whole of the conversation. I will make that clearer.

    You wrote, “What I do like is to discuss with others who are informed about their own view, who take Scripture more serious than opinion or feelings. Such people are interested in truth, not bias, not a pet doctrine or interpretation. I grow weary of all positions when the person is more interested in preserving their own position rather than being truthful with the Biblical text.”

    Seems to me these folk who are not biased or have pet doctrines and interpretations are the ones who are doing most of the writing… and since most tend to preserve their positions with what they perceive as “truth and Biblical text” that is where the weariness comes in!

    Hope all is well with you my brother. Glad to see you stop in and drop a word of wisdom.. even though I don’t recall any “Biblical text” to support your particular position. Have to be careful not to fall victim of your own stated premise here. Just kidding.

    Don’t be a stranger. I might actually learn something from ya! Tell Barbara I said hello.

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    Reply

  7. You are right Bob. Objectivity and always difficult. One thing I get somewhat tired of is debating something that I have settled on. That does not mean I will not consider something new, but I would like to hear a new argument. For instance, I have spent a fair amount of time of debating atheists and they always thing you are ignorant and have never heard their argument before. When in reality, they all have the same basic argument. And their basic problem is not that the don’t believe in God, it is that they hate God. If it was just about not believing in God few of them would spend time debating it.

    I have had many times when I had to turn on myself and correct myself. It happens to us all.

    Reply

  8. Agreed. The only reason I do what I do is to challenge myself to think through things as they are seen in the eyes of others. I have benefited greatly from the process. May not show, but at least in my mind it has!

    When I write what I write, I am in anticipation of most of the response but it is that 5-10% that makes me think and helps me solidify why I believe what I believe… or modify the way I may express something.

    The REAL problem I have is people not paying any attention to WHAT you say but because you use the word “orange” in your thoughts, they immediately shut off their mind (it in fact it was ever on) and start in on “orange” with no relevance to the thrust of the post at all!

    That is indeed frustrating. This original post was one that is posted at SBCToday where I am doing a 5 part series on Conversionism… LOT of interesting conversation there as I am sure you can imagine.

    Appreciate you brother!

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    Reply

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