Over the past couple weeks I have been reading ‘The Bravehearted Gospel’ by Eric Ludy, a book I highly recommend that you get. This book has really been a powerful tool for God to use. The book addresses the fact that “Many today have inherited a faith that has no real life or power. Instead of zeal there is apathy. Instead of courage there is timidity. And instead of confidence there is paralyzing doubt.” I wanted to share a slice of what I read yesterday.
For instance, the gospel has been reduced to a message merely about forgiveness while the idea of regeneration and transformation seems almost totally forgotten. Grace has become simply a gigantic hug from God and is no longer the muscle of God brought to earth to aid the weakness of men and to give them strength. Faith has morphed into this bizarre idea of ‘honest doubt’ and has lost its essence of rock-solid unwavering confidence in the ability of God to perfomr that which he promises. Holiness has transformed into moralistic tyranny for the soul and something to be avoided at all costs. Righteousness has been redefined to mean an unreachable standard of perfection. Purity has become nothing more than a legalistic attempt to stay away from things and thoughts that God knows we won’t be able to abstain from anyway. Love has become unconditional acceptance and tolerance of sin. The list goes on and on. In our desperate attempt at dressing up Jesus to make both us and him more appealing to the cool crowd, the simple beauty of truth has somehow become lost under all the pretension and makeup. – Eric Ludy, The Bravehearted Gospel, pg 100.
I am privileged to be taking part in a great journey of reading through John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion over the next year with a group of men that I greatly respect.
This is shaping up to be one exciting journey. I have never embarked upon anything like this: a year long study of a classicl work of theology with men that I greatly respect. I hope that I will not only glean from John Calvin but also those whom I am to study with.
I believe I will learn much from this study. It is important to note though, that going into this study I bring a different opinion than is common in the group. I already hold to a certain level of disagreement with John Calvin. I pray though that pre-conveived beliefs will not get in the way of a true study and that I will not be afraid to change a belief if convinced and convicted that it needs changed. I also pray that my disagreement will not be a constant source of stife by that we can carry on a civil discourse and not lose respect or love for one another. I am confident that I am studying with a group of men in which this will not be an issue, but I pray that it continues that way.
I have compiled a list of 5 things I hope will result in this study:
- Finalize if I agree or disagree with Calvinism based upon the Bible, not Calvin – but also understand why.
- Deeper Critical Thinking Skills
- Deeper friendship with my brothers in this journey
- A greater understanding of some difficult theology
- Be able to apply what I learn and read – not just head knowledge
May you bless us on this journey Lord. Titus 2:6-8
May this be a time to “prepare and train…for the study of the sacred volume” as Calvin put it and be a time for us to freshly study the Word of God. No longer can I remain in ignorance in my studies. This the time to really dedicate to study theology and grow in knowledge. This is a time for me to allow God to teach and train in order that I may serve Him more effectively.
Thank you Lord for this opportunity,