Sunday, August 29, 2010

Westminster and Election vs. Free Will

Alrighty readers. So in the lovely city of Clinton, SC most of us involved in Campus Outreach, the on campus ministry I'm involved in, attend a local Presbyterian church called Westminster. At the beginning of last school year, as a freshman, I church hopped a little to try and find a new "church home." I attended Westminster all of last year for the sole purpose because all of my friends attended that church, not really sure if I liked the pastor or even how I felt about some of the denominational beliefs such as election vs. what my baptist church at home believes, free will. If you are not familiar with these terms, the most common belief of baptists is that a person decides of their own accord to accept Christ into their heart as their Lord and Savior, sounds logical right? The most common belief of Presbyterians is election, or that God elects those who come into His kingdom. The controversy of this is the thought that God would "choose" some over others to call Him Lord. In Sunday School today we talked about this. The Sunday School lesson simply laid out why Presbyterians believe this, and although we talked about it in a lesson last school year today it finally clicked! The lesson was based on a passage in Ephesians that begins with the author stating that we were "dead in our trespasses". The Word tells us that God is completely sovereign over everything, a friend last year once told me that her freshman year she explored this topic and now states the question 'If God is completely sovereign over EVERYTHING, why wouldn't He be sovereign over salvation?' I guess another way to pose that is 'why WOULDN'T He be sovereign over salvation?' And, the passage in Ephesians states that without Christ we are "dead in our trespasses". Now the word 'dead' is there for a reason, the author didn't just throw it in there to see how he liked the sound of it. He really means that we were so consumed with our sin that it's like being physically dead. I thought to myself the characteristics of being dead, go with me here. Think about it, a dead person cannot do ANYTHING. They're dead. And when you're dead, you can't make yourself alive. When you're dead in your trespasses, you can't make yourself alive in Christ. If you're dead, how can you call out to God and accept Him as a decision of your own free will? It has to be Christ that calls you to Him, that frees you from sin, gives you life in Him.
Today I realized that the pastor at this church, fondly referred to as PJ by PC students, is very knowledgeable and I liked what he preaches about and the way that he develops his topics. One of those situations where you don't realize how much you're learning until a situation poses itself and you actually use it.