All I want is a shack somewhere – where I can find God: wouldn’t it be lovely

This is a follow-on of You have an engraved me on your hands: Arminian and Calvinist reasonings

Tim Challies, in his review of Roger Olson’s “Finding God in The Shack,” says:

“Olson is Arminian in his theology (and is even author of a book titled Arminian Theology) and his understanding of free will will not sit well with those of a more Calvinistic persuasion. His understanding of free will impacts a good deal of related theology, especially as it relates to suffering and God’s sovereignty. For example, it dictates how he understands suffering in this world and leads him at times dangerously close to open theism. “God has the power to stop evil and suffering, but that would require taking back the gift of free will. For now, at least, God is honoring our demand for independence, and is using his power of suffering love and mercy to bring us back to himself. If he unilaterally stopped all evil, people would not be free.” And again, “In every tragic situation of innocent suffering God does all that he can do to prevent and alleviate it. Is God powerless? No. … Rather, God limits himself for the sake of human freedom. And God abides by rules about how often and when he can intervene.”

In Philippians 1:29, we read, “For to you it is given/granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”

In “For to you is granted,” the original Greek for “granted” is echariste (from charizomai “grace,” so “unconditionally given/granted”).Here is how the Arminian reads “For to you it is given (granted) in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him..” :

“For to you it is given for Christ’s sake the possibility to believe in him on condition that you exercise his gift to you of the ability and desire to believe in him.”

Now to the second part of the verse (in italics): “(For to you it is given/granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him) but to suffer for him. If Arminians are correct, then, following their theology, they would have to read the second part of the verse like this: “For to you it is given for Christ’s sake the possibility to also suffer for his sake on condition that you exercise Christ’s gift to you of the ability and desire to suffer for him.” All true Christians are willing to suffer, but – unless they are like many Roman Catholics – they do not go looking for suffering. Christ tells the believer that no one can be his disciple unless he is willing to “carry his cross.” The point of Philippians 1:29 is that both faith and its inevitable corollary suffering are ordained/foreordained by God. Faith and suffering are not your gifts to God (forbid!), but God’s gift to you. Granted, suffering often seems more like poison than a gift – unless you’re German.

Arminianism is insufferable.

All I want is a shack somewhere,

Far away from the cold night air.

With one enormous chair,

Aow, wouldn’t it be loverly?

Lots of choc’lates for me to eat,

Lots of coal makin’ lots of ‘eat.

Warm face, warm ‘ands, warm feet,

Aow, wouldn’t it be loverly?

Ephesians 2:1-9

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Arminians paste in an intervening step. After quickened (raised up), they can say yes or no.

“Do you want to remain quickened or return to being strickened?

” Strickened.”

“Ok, but I’ll never give up on you; I’ll be prodding your rotting corpse (read “soul-spirit”) until eternity comes in case you decide to be raised from death to life once and for all. Everyone say aaaaahhhhhl.

“Glory; what love is this! So, You see, you horrible Calvinist, I can stop being a zombie if I want. Love wins!”

Related Post Is Sovereign election fair?

11 thoughts on “All I want is a shack somewhere – where I can find God: wouldn’t it be lovely

  1. I received the following comment via email. He wants to remain anonymous.

    What are you calling ‘free will?’

    It’s a good thing I am not a Calvinist.   If I were I would know that God had not chosen to save me and I would suffer hell in this life in the dreaded anticipation of the next.

    Good thing I am not an Arminian (I knew an Armenian guy a long time ago . . . hmm).  If I were I would not dare to exercise my free will!

    So why don’t I say to myself, ‘Why bother?  I might as well do anything I like because I’m already destined for hell. I don’t–because I care about people. 

    • Anonymous, if you were a Calvinist, you would understand what is meant by “free will.” the reason You can’t understand is because you have no idea of the Gospel, which is about the Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, the Fall of Man and the Atonement.

      • If you are God there is no need to assert yourself..no need to be proud and arrogant. What else is there to compare yourself to? 🙂 Than the suffering servant is also God. “Yep, there’s at least one that is going to open the door of his heart to me. Ok, Father let’s do it.” Yep Bog it could possibly work like this. If I were God I would perhaps be proud of my creation many times and then be happy to be received by it as a father by his son and this works also in biblical term. But you Bog would not like that 🙂
        For the devil it is devilish…almost perfect but not quite…arrogance and pride at his best…but it is devilish not ‘godish’ to think that it is bad and belittling to say….” Yep, there’s at least one that is going to open the door…” don’t’ you see? 🙂

        • Hello again Maria.

          Your “Yep Bog it could possibly work like this. If I were God I would perhaps be proud of my creation many times and then be happy to be received by it as a father by his son and this works also in biblical term. But you Bog would not like that.”

          As you say if you were God…..The biblical God, on the contrary, is not proud of his fallen corrupt creation, hence the plan of redemption of which the incarnation, death and resurrection of the Son are key aspects.

          • True…but He was proud of the Virgin Mary and His Son and if He looks at the universe and its beauty and the possible harmony of the string theory etc I am sure He likes it… the stars and life in the womb and life on the planet and He is happy…Mister it is not a miserable God the God of the bible…even if He chose to know what does it mean to be a suffering servant 🙂 And people who are in God in the right way know how happiness and suffering are intertwined until the end of the world ..as you see I am a happy Catholic pumpkin and I can’t help it 🙂 This of course doesn’t mean that I am not a suffering being too…perhaps even more so. This is perhaps why I understand how it is possible to be receiving prodigal sons in happiness because there was suffering in the search of the lost ship. If the God of the Gospel chose this being wandering around it is a very good thing because He freely liked it to be like this otherwise there would have being no creation either and some very good scientists are able to tell you that it is better to have something in existence than not…the ambivalence of creation is part of the its beauty too. As I told you other times it would be beneficial for you to relax a bit 🙂 and going around bushes 🙂 as Franciscan friars…but I don’t think that Calvinism helps in this at all…Why did you have to integrate so much in your South African culture?

            • I’ll respond to the main part of your comment later. For now regarding your “but I don’t think that Calvinism helps in this at all…Why did you have to integrate so much in your South African culture?”

              In South Africa we have eight main linguistic/cultural groups. So there’s no such thingie as South African culture. But, if you mean South African agriculture, yep, I do my gardening on Calvinistic principles. That is before I pick my irresistible lettuce, I don’t ask its permission.

              • Yeh yeh you are right….:-) “Afrikaner Calvinism is, according to theory, a unique cultural development that combined the Calvinist religion with the political aspirations of the white Afrikaans speaking people of South Africa” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrikaner_Calvinismt
                But it’s comprehensible…it is part of human psychology…to try to belong to our territory or to our tribe or to both :-). No gardening for now in my part of the world…but perhaps I am going to pick lettuce somewhere very soon
                By the way I keep making the same mistake in spelling …I like ship more but it doesn’t mean that I dislike sheep…I don’t have experience of pasture but I understand how nice it is to have a good shepherd. Anyway as strange as it sound this has to do with free will…no need of a shepherd if there is no free will…the sheep have a tendency to go astray of their own will 🙂

                • Maria

                  Your “…no need of a shepherd if there is no free will…the sheep have a tendency to go astray of their own will.”

                  Yep, these sheep go astray of their own will in the sense they follow their wandering (errant) hearts, which compel them to do so. Hence they are in bondage to their own desires (wills) – to reject Christ.

                  Now, Jesus came into the world to break the chains of his sheep to set them free to receive him.

                  Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free. (Paul is addressing believers).

                  When people say that free will is the most precious gift from God, they are, biblically, talking nonsense, if they mean free to love God. Unless we are regenerated – become a new creation (Galatians 6) – the human will is nothing but swill that even pigs will eschew.

                  This is so important that I have published it in my main blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s