Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dissipating disputation

This blog frequently links to Reformed or Calvinistic writers without a corresponding emphasis on writers from an Arminian perspective. Recently I've made a point of reading explicitly Ariminian writers and have found some helpful insights. Here, for example, is a recent post from Arminian Today:

. . . only prayer truly causes doctrinal issues to dissipate. When I was in college I used to pray with a few Arminians and a few Calvinists and you would not have been able to tell who was who while we were on our faces crying out to Jesus. Our prayers (if they are truly prayed from the Scriptures) sounded the same and produced the same results. There is nothing like prayer that causes doctrinal issues of Arminianism and Calvinism to go flying out the window. When we are in prayer before a holy God, it does not matter what we think about supralapsarianism or infralapsarianism. In prayer it does not matter what we believe about the nature of free will. In prayer the issue of election is not debated. In prayer we don't have room to debate the issue of conditional versus unconditional election. In prayer it does not matter what John Calvin said about Romans 9:13 or what James Arminius thought about the passage. In prayer the issue of limited versus unlimited atonement is not being debated. For in prayer the glory of Christ and His kingdom is our focus. In prayer we want to honour the risen Lord and see His name lifted high. In prayer we truly believe that God is sovereign and that nothing can act against Him and His will.
Good points.


Blogger Dylan Valliere said...

That sounds good, and in many senses is true, but not so much in other ways. In some senses, the way we pray is exactly where some of those differences arises.

Here's just one example: How do we pray for the lost? What do we ask God to do for them?

3:50 PM, February 25, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

It certainly looks like you've found a loophole in the idea of unity through prayer. I don't want to denigrate the place of doctrine, and I suspect the AT writer doesn't either. At the same time I think he makes a good point: the fine points of doctrine are not the primary sphere of discipleship.

At the same time, you bring up a very good point. Doctrinal differences will manifest themselves in practice. What a Christian believes about such matters will indeed affect how he or she prays, but I hope and pray our differences do not blind us to our unity.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you continue to feel welcome in offering them here.

2:09 PM, February 26, 2009  
Blogger Dylan Valliere said...

Thanks for the thoughtful and helpful response, Milton.

I agree that our differences should not blind us to our unity. It's such a difficult balance to maintain. Superficial unity that accepts everything and anything isn't real unity. But nitpicky unity is divisive.

Yet the proper unity is very much worth pursuing!

3:14 PM, February 26, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Amen. Well said.

4:20 PM, February 26, 2009  
Blogger RazorsKiss said...

Calvinists have a fairly well-known saying: Even Arminians pray like Calvinists :D

Just couldn't resist :D

I really think that holds more truth than just the surface level, though. Yes, God uses us as the means - but all the ends are God's :D

3:09 PM, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for the comments, Joshua. Good to hear from you, and I hope you and all your family are doing well. Peace.

9:08 PM, March 04, 2009  

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