Why Calvinists are like Mutants

This is an outline of my message at SPCRC -August 11, 2012- The sentences are incomplete as I usually flesh it out while preaching:

Text: Isaiah 6:1-9 and Colossians 3:12-16

Isaiah’s Commission

6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy , holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. ”

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? ”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

9 He said, “Go and tell this people:

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

 Intro:

CRC is from Protestant reformation-Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Bucer and Knox. The Anabaptist was from the same time but not considered as Protestants.

Time magazine article-Young,restless and Reformed. Calvinists can be like mutants-but they can choose to be like the Xavier’s men-X-men or they can be like Magneto’s. Either helping humanity with our knowledge or angry and isolating ourselves from them-thinking we are superior from fellow Christians of different persuasion.

Arrogant pastors –and male chauvinists and authoritarians –like Mark Driscoll and  CJ Mahaney that teaches the 5 points of Calvinism-and yet mind-control their congregation bring dishonor to Christ and his teachings.

It is said in 1 Corinthians 8:1b “We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.”

Isaiaih lived in an era of 5 kings starting with Uzziah and ended with evil king Manasses who saw him in half.  For 52 years before his calling Uzziah reign peacefully since Assyria was in decline –but after his death –under Tigleth Pileser II –there was resurgence and reconquering –and Israel-the Northern kingdom was the buffer state between that empires.

Isaiah’s message is >trust not in idols; do not ally with Assyria –or foreign nations; and do justice. He was against Idolatry, immorality and injustice. Judah was confident of their position with Uzziah-who was relatively good king-but usurp the function a priest and thus died of leprosy-and this was this time that Isaiah was called and saw the real Lord and King.

Sometimes –it is  through crisis and disasters that we are brought before a realization of who are true King is. Milenyo, Ondoy and even Habagat. Not really sin or sins but our dependence on other that the Lord .

What can be the traits of real Calvinists? Not only on name but also in spirit? Not just Calvinists-but also of all true Christians.

1.     Above and Beyond v. 1-3 [See’s God’s glory as his first concern]

High and lifted up- above everybody-not similar to us-different, transcendent

Seraphims- burning ones-holy ones- 2 wings covering faces and feet0not worthy to gaze and be naked before God’s glory.

Holy 3X –superlative , antiphonal, answering back each other, Worship is the proper response.

Lord of the Heavenly Hosts- More than any earthly empire

His Glory is not just in the temple –but whole world.

Epiphany- earthquake, Voice (Ezekiel, Job) amd smoke (incense perhaps to cover for man-God’s glory-always with clouds in the Exodus event.

Like Close Encounters of the third kind, Independence day, even Dragonball Z.- Copied by secular or other religions.

Christians does not have just an intellectual –head knowledge of God’s glory-he knows it-and especially in communal worship. In his life this glory is his incentive=palpable –he can ‘experience’ it.

2.     I am Dead v. 4-5 [Consider oneself as a sinner –and do not half self-confidence]

Man’s initial reaction to God’s glory is  that he fails to meet it (23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,) and that he is under judgment-

Unclean- not worthy to enter the presence of God

and Woe is word of lament –meaning a funeral language-meaning –I am dead! Peter in Luke 5:8 “8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

So is Paul’s “chief of sinners” or the woman who broke the alabaster jar with perfume and wipe the feet of Jesus –all experience the dread of knowing that we should be dead in hell –in judgment because we are sinners.

Not our lineage, bloodline, family upbringing, environment, education-not even choices –but we ourselves.

We are also not proud of our barkada- our peers- for we either let them be the same –or they let us be the same-no change for the better in holiness and dedication. Kunsinti natin sila .

We have no superiority complex- considering other better than oneself.

My own story- may help you on this. Even good intentions can turn upside down when the self regains prominence in one’s life ***

But this cannot be complete if we live in this life downcast because…

3. Paid for and forgiven v. 6-7 [Confidence in Jesus Death and Resurrection- and His Atonement]

The altar from which the live coal was taken is probably during the annual Day of Atonement)

Leviticus 16:11-13

11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die.

The stress is on the purification necessary for approaching God. The altar symbolizes purification by blood, and the fire, purification by the Spirit.

Only after one sees his state of being a sinner that one values atonement-that someone righteous must die in order for him to be forgiven.

In the New Covenant it is the blood of Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit that cleans and enables believers today.

In his life this is the source of his confidence and energy-not his achievements. Status, education not even position in and outside of the church. And here most Calvinists fail. Instead of honoring Jesus Christ- he honors his theological system.

He disqualifies others by his prejudice instead of welcoming those covered by the blood of Jesus.

True Christians / Calvinists will not fail in their lips in extolling or lifting up the name of Jesus and His Cross and His Resurrection form the dead. This is his power and motivation.  In fact he rather be called Christian than the elitist term-Calvinist.

4.     Mission v. 8-9a [Here I Am , Send Me-Sharing the Gospel, Witness, Discipleship-even planting churches for pastors]

A Christian filled with the three qualities of Exaltation, Abasement and Extolling-will necessary be a witness ready to share the Good news to others. He will also share the way to make disciples so that others can also share that same experience of forgiveness and empowerment. He is not an armchair theoretician, not sulking in one corner-and keeping God’s news of salvation to oneself. He will volunteer-be the first to be in front of line of fire. He will not burn in God’s glory but he will burn in the service of the one who died for him. Even though some will not listen to him (like Isaiah) this will not deter him as he pleases the Lord who stoop down to him so that He can be forgiven forever and considered as his brother and friend.

Exaltation, Abasement, Extolling and Service –those are the qualities of the reformed Christians in history and so should we. The arrogance and authoritarianism we are now experiencing is not the biblical portrait of the one who sees God’s glory and His forgiveness.

So how should we then act towards others and especially other Christians of different groups and persuasion?

Colossians 3:12-16

New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

We should exemplify the Lord Jesus who walked on this earth: with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

We are ready to forgive and bear other’s weakness and failings.

We guard our heart with the peace that Jesus bought on the Cross.

We are gracious in our words to others that differed from us.

Next month I will start with distinctive of the Reformed Faith which I hope will not make you arrogant but be like Isaiah in his response.

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6 responses to “Why Calvinists are like Mutants

  1. Hi Ray are you pastoring now? Did you resign or retire from meralco? Whatever you’re doing God bless.

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