At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Substitute preacher today--the chaplain (if that's the correct term) at the Reformed campus ministry in Lubbock. Sermonizing on the Noah's ark story, he made the predictably Calvinist point that God's covenant with Noah and his family was an act of grace not based on Noah's worthiness--which blatantly contradicted the reading of the text delivered just a few minutes earlier: "Then the Lord said to Noah, 'Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.'" Goes to show you that even the most proudly sola scriptura churches read texts through the lenses of their own traditions.

The Calvinist doctrine of election is too extreme. Even the covenant with Abraham (which the Reformed, based on Paul's letter to the Romans, take as the prototype of salvation by faith alone) seems dependent on Abraham's obedience: "Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you," etc. I don't know Hebrew of course, but the English word "because" in the RSV translation stresses the conditionality of the promise.


Started reading The Introvert Advantage. In the introductory chapters the author is mostly concerned to define the trait and to argue that cultural factors cause it to be perceived as a flaw rather than a simple genetic variation with its own strengths and weaknesses. I was interested, not surprisingly, in a little text box on introversion and the movies. I've seen most of the ones listed, but not Chocolat or Gosford Park. Although heretofore I've been avoiding these, the first because it looked fluffy and the second because it looked stuffy, I may now want to give them a try. The best cinematic portray of introversion, though, wasn't listed: Rohmer's Le Rayon Vert. The scene in which Marie Rivière's introverted Delphine gets upstaged at lunch by a boisterous blond was painfully realistic.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that in the New Testament, there are lots of participial phrases. They are typically translated into English with subordinating conjunctions. However, which subordinating conjunction - while, because, since, although - you choose is a matter of interpretation. No idea about the old testament.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

I found Calvin's commentary on the verse:

These two things, however, are thought to be hardly consistent with each other; that what before was gratuitously promised, should here be deemed a reward. For we know that grace and reward are incompatible. Now, however, since the benediction which is promised in the seed, contains the hope of salvation, it may seem to follow that eternal life is given in return for good works. And the Papists boldly seize upon this, and similar passages, in order to prove that works are deserving of all the good things which God confers upon us. But I most readily retort this subtle argument upon those who bring it. For if that promise was before gratuitous, which is now ascribed to a reward; it appears that whatever God grants to good works, ought to be received as from grace. Certainly, before Isaac was born, this same promise had been already given; and now it receives nothing more than confirmation. If Abraham deserved a compensation so great, on account of his own virtue, the grace of God, which anticipated him, will be of none effect. Therefore, in order that the truth of God, founded upon his gratuitous kindness, may stand firm, we must of necessity conclude, that what is freely given, is yet called the reward of works. Not that God would obscure the glory of his goodness, or in any way diminish it; but only that he may excite his own people to the love of well-doing, when they perceive that their acts of duty are so far pleasing to him, as to obtain a reward; while yet he pays nothing as a debt, but gives to his own benefits the title of a reward. And in this there is no inconsistency. For the Lord here shows himself doubly liberal; in that he, wishing to stimulate us to holy living, transfers to our works what properly belongs to his pure beneficence. The Papists, therefore, wrongfully distort those benignant invitations of God, by which he would correct our torpor, to a different purpose, in order that man may arrogate to his own merits, what is the mere gift of divine liberality.

Sounds to be as far-fetched as the Calvinist exegesis which makes "God desires all men to be saved" to mean "God does not desire all men to be saved."

2:30 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home