To start this blog right, it seems like it would be good to explain the name and how it came about.
I hold to the Doctrines of Grace, though the church I worship at does not. This came about when my beliefs changed, while the church’s beliefs of course did not. I didn’t know what to believe, aside from that Jesus is Lord and Savior, when I started at my church. In fact, I had come from an even more mixed up seeker driven church with a “word of faith” and prosperity bent. And, at the time, I didn’t even know that was wrong!
So, the Wesleyan Arminianism I was being taught at my newfound church home just seemed to make sense, as it would to most natural thinking people. But, I think when we look to what the bible tells us, rather than what we want, then we can, by God’s grace, begin to see things a little bit differently.
In my case, that came largely from podcasting sermons. I started out looking for Rob Bell sermons, because I had read “Velvet Elvis” and had been exposed to a few of those Nooma videos that were so popular at the time.* Seemingly, by God’s grace, I wasn’t able to find him on iTunes. But, I knew the name of his church, Mars Hill. Or, at least I thought I did. I instead came across the podcast of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and heard Mark Driscoll preaching.
If I recall correctly, it was from a lecture he did at a conference where he taught about church discipline from Matthew 18. (Why doesn’t anyone actually practice church discipline these days? More on that some other time.) And, then in further podcasts, I heard his teaching on the spiritual gifts from his series on 1st Corinthians.
Eventually, I did find Rob Bell’s podcast, I listened to a few, and determined that something just didn’t seem right about his teaching and hearing him left me with an odd feeling as if something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.
Listening to Pastor Mark, and others, lead me to confront the idea of Sovereign Election and Predestination. I struggled with the idea for probably around a year. I talked to the associate pastor at my church, and he did nothing to dissuade me from that view, nor has anyone else since then. After further study I don’t know how anyone could read the bible honestly and not come to a Calvinist perspective of God’s grace.
Unfortunately, that presents a bit of a problem. As I said toward the beginning, the church I worship at holds to Wesleyan Arminianism. There is a definite conflict here. And, I’ve not really done anything to deal with that conflict yet. There is also the problem that the church doesn’t seem to care about the Gospel anymore. That is another struggle for another time and post.
For now though, I’m still at that United Methodist Church, and I’m still mostly hiding my views in the closet.
* I do not recommend Rob Bell’s teachings, books, podcasts, posters, glasses, etc.