The monk’s been really busy in the monastery these days! I take a couple weeks away from Google Reader andâ€”boom!â€”he’s posted forty-two entries since the first of August. But I love the Monk! He likes to ask the tough questions, too; so you might want to buckle your seat belts and hang onto your copy of Calvin’s Institutes, while Michael fires a few questions our way:
Is there a relationship between what a person believes about â€œTotal Depravityâ€ and how they treat their lost neighbors, particularly those lost neighbors with needs in the physical and relational realm?
Can you believe in the desperate situation of lost persons as guilty, wrath-deserving rebels and still hug them, feed them, educate them and love them?
Can you stand upon the reformation diagnosis of the human condition and develop a strong response of compassion, respect and generosity toward those who are not Christians?
Can you believe â€œTâ€ and love the lost in ways other than just preaching TULIP at them?
I have the impression that this is a struggle for many reformed Christians. I know it is for many that I know. Not because they are fanatics for predestination or cold-hearted intellectuals, but simply because their theological framework doesnâ€™t provide a strong foundation for missions, compassion and generosity. (I surely thank God for those reformed churches and Christians who practice Christian compassion to the poor and the hurting as a crucial aspect of their obedience to and witness of Jesus.)
This issue goes in many directions. We need to unpack it, do a better job relating the two, and a much better job of practicing both.
Whatâ€™s the relationship between the TULIP and pastoral care? Is pastoral care the same as preaching TULIP?
What does a person who believes the lost are the focus of the wrath of God say to the lost about the kindness and compassion of God? How can you have one- a focus on the wrath of God- and the other still be intelligible?
These are answerable questions, but they deserve some thought, especially as so many reformation minded younger Christians begin to feel alienated by those who believe their concerns for social/human issues are evidence of apostasy from the gospel.
In Christianity, truths are sometimes oddly juxtapositioned. Jesus reconciles these things in himself, but we still have questions because there is so much Jesus didnâ€™t do, such as start a school and reduce his message to TULIP.
We need some Holy Spirit inspired guidance to get this right. I donâ€™t want to give up the Gospelâ€”and TULIP isnâ€™t the Gospel, in my opinionâ€”and I want to encourage reformation Christians to fill in the deficit of missional thinking that was the most glaring omission of the reformers.
Interested in reading the rest of his post? Go to “Can You Give a TULIP to the Hurting?“