LTRP Note: As many of our readers know, in early 2018, Lighthouse Trails published a book titled Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy. Without question, it set off a firestorm upsetting many of the Calvinist persuasion. However, it also brought to surface many of our readers whose families had suffered under the yoke of Calvinism for many years and were very grateful for our coming out with the book. The following short commentary by one of our readers has some very worthwhile thoughts.
By Judson Casjens
While there is much to be gleaned from the teachings of those of the Reformed (Calvinist) persuasion, there are also many dangers laying about, like hidden reefs, for the unwary. Many are the believers trusting and following these teachers unquestioningly not realizing their true underlying beliefs—beliefs which affect “how” they interpret many Scriptures because they view them through the lens of these “hidden” persuasions. Unwary believers adopt these views without ever having thought them through themselves. I know, for I have had many exchanges with them, and the responses usually take the form of, “so and so teaches this,” that becomes their authority, a borrowed knowledge assumed to be true and accurate, and their thought goes no further. Nor will they allow themselves to be persuaded otherwise—a genuine tragedy. Consider carefully the following:
THINKING FOR ONESELF
When I was young, I thought other people could give me wisdom. Now that I’m older, I know this isn’t true. Wisdom is earned, not given. When other people give us the answer, it belongs to them and not us. While we might achieve the outcome we desire, it comes from dependence, not insight. Instead of thinking for ourselves, we’re dependent on the work of others.
The problem is when we assume the insight of others is our own. Earning insight requires going below the surface. Most of us want to shy away from the details and complexity. It takes a while. It’s boring. It’s mental work. Yet it is only by jumping into the complexity that we can really discover simplicity for ourselves.
While the abundant directives, rules, and simplicities offered by others make us feel like we’re getting smarter, it’s nothing more than the illusion of knowledge. Thinking is something you have to do by yourself.
A lot of people prefer the comfort of a crowd to the responsibility of independent thought. It was written of the Jews in the synagogue of Berea that:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica [WHY?], in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed. Acts 17:11-12
The word “searched” is defined in Strong’s as meaning:
- to investigate, examine, enquire into, scrutinise, sift, question
- specifically in a forensic sense of a judge to hold an investigation
- to interrogate, examine the accused or witnesses
- to judge of, estimate, determine (the excellence or defects of any person or thing)
“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things.” (1 Corinthians 2:15)
Far too many believers do not think for themselves; far too many are willing merely to accept what they are taught unquestioningly. And far too many believers are, in reality, not at all like these Bereans mentioned above, even though they would identify with them for they do not approach and receive the Scriptures with “readiness of mind” (or eagerly) nor do they search (or examine) them daily, while at the same time claiming that these Scriptures are indeed God’s Word. In consequence to this, false doctrines and theologies have entered the church and have become accepted as truth. Even the Gospel has been, and is being, distorted without notice.
“Three Vital Questions on Navigating Discernment” (Ironside, Proctor)
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission; design by LT)