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Sovereignty or Choice?|
James Borror, Th.D. 09/04/2006
Excerpted from, Countdown! Golden Minutes Ministries, August 2006 issue. (Caption Headings Added, Ed.)
How I Stand on Issues
People often ask me how I stand on issues ranging from the theological to the political or cultural. And sometimes my answers may seem inconsistent. But one of the most exciting and exacting things about life is that it is less precise and tidy than I would like for it to be.
Christ expressed the "both/and" position when He told the Pharisees: "These you ought to have done (justice, mercy, faith) without neglecting the others (tithing mint, dill, and cumin)." I want to be a "both/and" Christian.
I Believe in a Crisis Moment of Total Commitment Yet the Reality of Continuous Growth.
I wrestle with New Testament phrases like "dead unto sin," the "pure in heart," "sanctify you wholly." To explain them is important. To explain them away is impertinent. Yet equally important is grasping the emphasis on the process of discipline and development that are unending. Both crisis and process are embraced.
There is no experience that you can have today that will make you immune to sin tomorrow. Nor that will make it unnecessary for you to keep reading the Word, praying, fellowshipping with God's people and growing in understanding and obedience.
John White - The Fight
John White, in a book that I heartily recommend you sell your shirt to buy, wrote:
Moment by Moment
"God never takes the power of decision from a believer… You may with all your heart say, 'Take control of my life forever by the Holy Spirit. Let it be henceforth not my will but yours. I relinquish control from here on in.' His heart will warm as you say it. But He will not grant your request, at least not in the form you make it. If He did, He would make you less than human, a sort of spiritual automaton. What He wants is someone who moment-by-moment by his own choice goes on pleasing him.Debt Paid Daily, Hourly
"God accepts the offer we make him. The Holy Spirit will take utterly seriously the handing over of your life and body to him. But your debt is to be paid in daily, hourly installments. …daily, hourly you say what Christ said in Gethsemane: 'Not my will, but Thine be done.'Who Suffered More Agonies?
"Was there ever anyone more filled with the Spirit than Jesus? Yet has anyone ever had to wrestle more agonizingly than He as He faced the final step in our redemption? "How to be Successful" Psychologies"
… By the popular understanding of what it means to be filled with the Spirit, the agonies of Gethsemane should never have occurred. Full of the Spirit He should effortlessly have brushed aside the crushing, dark horror that filled him with repugnance. He should have walked with a bright victorious smile to the cross.
"But such an understanding of the Spirit's fullness is not scriptural. It reflects modern "how to live a successful life" psychologies more than godly reality. Following Jesus, we will face our lesser Gethsemanes…But it (life) is to be a series of choices. And in each choice we will have the opportunity of confirming our submission to the Holy Spirit or reneging on our commitment. …This is a step in the Spirit. To go on taking steps in the Spirit is to go on being filled with the Spirit."
John White - "The Fight"
I Believe in God's Sovereignty and Man's Freedom
Like two parallel lines that do not meet on this side of eternity both of these truths are clearly taught in Scripture, yet they are never harmonized. We can pray as if everything depended upon God and work as if everything depended on us.
In the realm of salvation, we might compare these truths to a huge arch over the gateway to Heaven. On the outside when you come facing the gate, is written on the arch, 'Whosever will may come.' When you are in and looking back, you see written on the inside of the arch, 'Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world."
I Believe in Civil Conformity and Non-Conformity
Romans 13:1 makes me conform to the governmental authorities. Daniel 3:18 gives me warrant for turning non-conformist when the rulers demand that I pawn my conscience.
I Believe in Order and Ardor in the Church
The alternative to order is chaos, but structure without spirit stifles. Some rules are necessary, but when rules rule us they ruin us.
Paul wisely told the Thessalonians not to 'quench the Spirit' (1 Thess. 5:19). Some churches are so dead that nothing short of a resurrection would revive them.
On the other hand some churches get so "carried away" (See Paul's use of this figure in relation to idol worship in I Corinthians 12:1) that they become frightening and useless for edification or merely attempt to outdo the world in entertainment and "relevance."
I Believe in both Personal and Social Responsibility
I must keep my own life right and win individuals, but I must also influence the moral and cultural spirit of the world in which I live. I am to grow in a personal relationship with the Lord but always remember that I am to be "the light of the world" and "the salt of the earth."
I must learn to sing both, "I come to the garden alone" and "Onward Christian soldiers."
Being a "both/and" Christian is not always easy, frequently lonely, often misunderstood and disappointing to those who want us on their side alone. But it helps us to see other sides of issues, is Biblically balanced and gets us closer to reality.
Countdown! Golden Minutes Ministries
Jim and Norma Borror
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