January 5: Day Twelve

Go to Day Eleven

The doctrine of Calvinism isn’t very popular. Humans are sinful, God saves some for his own reasons, Jesus didn’t die to atone for everyone’s sins, just the chosen, and once chosen, a person cannot be unsaved no matter what they do or don’t do. The elect will carry on being faithful until the end of their life.

Human effort won’t work; you are either saved or not. The dominant notion in early 21st century Protestantism is that salvation is acceptance of Christ’s offer of salvation through a public action. Views of Christianity either reject this notion of being “born again,” or embrace it. In any case, it isn’t Calvinism. Most iterations of Christianity today aren’t even close.

Calvinism seems unfair. Even if we think of depravity as less about naughty thoughts or deeds but just mortality, people want to believe they can get better with effort.

Still, I find myself attracted to the doctrine’s sense of destiny. That the pull I feel, the determination that seems to be behind my efforts, even ones that fail, have a kind of inevitability and righteous calling about them – a vocation – is encouraging. I was listening to Just As I Am.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
Because Thy promise I believe
O Lamb of God, I come, I come

The hymn pairs “I believe” with action but also with acceptance of me “just as I am.” I shouldn’t be surprised by my interest. The prayer I say almost daily is the Henry VI Prayer,

Lord Jesus Christ, you created me, redeemed me, and ordained where I am today; do with me according to your will, with mercy.

It is a prayer of submission. This is not an unusual notion: Islam means submission to the will of God.

Go to Epiphany