After a recent visit to my church’s website I discovered that our pastor has scheduled a preaching series on the subject of Predestination and Freewill. I am elated!. We are members of a conservative, reformed, unique, PCUSA church, in the Heartland, and yet in the 6 years we have been attending I cannot recall the word "predestination" even being used once either in Sunday School or from the pulpit, except to be acknowledged as a term to which reformed folk adhere. My question: Why do you suppose that is?
Let me toss out a few reasons:
Doctrine is Divisive...so don’t preach anything that will divide.I even recall a radio preacher saying something to the effect that "we don’t preach doctrine, it divides, we preach relationships." It’s hard to imagine what is being preached at this fellow’s church. Surely not the Word of God..for it is full of doctrine. And..relationships are dependent upon learning about the One with whom we may be related. I recall a former pastor mentioning predestination since it was a part of the scripture text that was read. He passed over the subject saying that these are"deep waters that we’ll not be going into". I did e-mail and begged him that he take us into the deep waters of these wonderful reformed doctrines. He didn’t!
Presdestination is Controversial
Every church, every denomination every member in the pew must have a doctrine of predestination and election. These are, after all, scriptural terms and if a church is preaching the gospel..these doctrines are part of the full gospel. Controversial or not one must develop an understanding of these terms and not just sweep the hard parts under the rug. Didn’t Jesus say, "Feed my sheep"...."my sheep (will) hear my voice"?
Predestination is a Mystery
How is it possible that Free Will and Predestination can be compatible? Aren’t these opposite poles that can’t be reconciled? I think that believers can be confident that the holy, inerrant, infallible scriptures could not possibly teach contradictory truths. Sometimes they may appear contradictory...but that is just an appearance. Digging deep into the doctrines reveal that it is just that, and an indepth examination reveals the truth of the matter.
The purpose of this particular writing is not to get to an indepth understanding or examination of this particular doctrine but to simply question why it appears to be avoided like the plague. Perhaps the three reasons above may not exhaust the possibilities, but I can repeat that I am elated that our pastor has chosen to take us into these "deep waters". Salvation is of the Lord, Jonah 2:9
(For those of you desiring to know and understand "Reformed Doctines" there is a free downloand of the Reformed Confessions HERE . Put it on your desktop for continual reference.)