Kang-er-oodort: An Important New Years Resolution

I’m embarrassed to admit that without spell checker I’d be a mess. My mother was always a stickler for spelling while my father used to begin romantic letters to her with, “To my darling angle”.

Unfortunately, I have followed more in my father’s footsteps than in my mother’s. I am always improving but I am amazed at how often spell check keeps highlighting the same words that I have persistently spelled wrong. You would think I’d learn after a while.

A word that has been particularly challenging for me lately is “certain”. I really don’t like the “a” before the “i”. It just seems to me that it should be “certian”. I am glad to report, however, that I have finally conquered this word and can now spell it correctly most of the time without spell check.

Most embarrassing for me has been the fact that I spelled the “kangeroo” in my screen name wrong from the very beginning. I realized this a while ago but by then I had used it enough that I didn’t know how to fix it without drawing attention to my stupidity. I tried to think of some clever reason for using “er” instead of “ar” if someone should call me on it, like: “…because you’ll end up in the ER if you mess with me!”, etc. I eventually decided against that approach, since it was a bit dishonest, not to mention corny.

What surprised me the most is that no one ever pointed out the spelling error. I can only think of three reasons why that would be the case:

1) Those I have corresponded with are very kind and polite and didn’t want to embarrass me.

2) They foolishly thought I had a good reason for spelling the word wrong.

3) They don’t know how to properly spell “kangaroo” either.

I like #3 the best as it makes me feel a little less stupid. In any case, I have resolved to spell the word right from now on and I want to publicly thank anyone who knew of my spelling blunder but was classy and kind enough to let it slide. For those of you who fall into the #3 category above I encourage you to admit with me that you didn’t have a clue how to properly spell “kangaroo”. It may not make you feel any better, but I assure you it will make me feel better.

My Theological Journey

A few things about me and how this blog came into being.

I grew up in a denomination whose theology was Arminian. I did not really understand the distinction until I went to college. While at Bible college I became friends with some Calvinist believers. Every now and then we would discuss Calvinism, but it was never very serious and had no real affect on our relationships. I graduated from college and began working in the childcare industry for many years. Through this experience I got involved in WyldLife (the Junior High version of YoungLife). Because of my Biblical training and experience working with youth, the ministry really clicked for me.

One of the leaders asked me to begin a teaching course for those kids who wanted to get more serious about their faith. It was called “Campaigners”. I was thrilled. I went to his home to discuss this new aspect of the ministry. He had a three ring binder with some teaching material in it. He said it was just some ideas, but he thought it was especially important that I teach the kids about eternal security. I told him I was not comfortable teaching about eternal security as I did not believe it was Biblical. I told him that I would be willing to discuss the doctrine, but would present the alternative view that salvation was conditional, and let the kids decide based on their own Biblical study. I also suggested that he could teach eternal security and I would just focus on other subjects. My co-leader was visibly shocked that I did not believe in eternal security. I left with the binder full of teaching material, believing that he would be satisfied with the alternatives I offered.

At a meeting a few days later all of the leaders got together over breakfast to discuss the new aspect of our ministry. Without saying a word to me, the leader I had met with gave another binder to one of the other co-leaders and told the rest of us that she would be heading up Campaigners. I didn’t say anything about it, but I was stunned by the way the situation was handled. I later discovered that this leader’s parents were instrumental in starting WyldLife in my area, and were members of the committee. They had already “trained” the other co-leaders with the eternal security teaching course that they now wanted us to use to train our Campaigners.

I tried not to think about what happened, but my conscience began to bother me. Over the next few days I struggled in prayer over what to do with the situation. I knew that if I continued in the ministry I would be contributing to indoctrinating these kids with this doctrine even if I was not the one teaching it. I eventually called the director for some direction. He told me that he would handle the situation. What followed was about a year of chaos, tension, and frustration. The leader who initially wanted me to teach Campaigners immediately quit the ministry until the issue was resolved. He cut off all contact with me and ignored my e-mails. His parents sent letters to the President of Young Life, and eventually resigned because he would not support their insistence that eternal security be taught to these young kids. The President did not take a stand on where he stood theologically, but made it clear that there were people from both Arminian and Calvinist perspectives in the ministry. He issued a letter which condemned the manner in which the situation was handled, re-iterated the narrow mission of WyldLife– to lead young people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and explained that teaching Junior High kids such difficult theological subjects was beyond their capacity to honestly and Biblically evaluate. My co-leader and his parents resigned because for them eternal security was synonymous with the gospel itself.

As a result of this experience I have spent several years studying Calvinist doctrines. I have approached the subject with an open mind and asked God to lead me into his truth. I wanted to know the truth, even if it meant that what I believed was in error. Through this time of study I have become even stronger in my conviction that Arminianism best harmonizes with the overall teaching of Scripture. I respect anyone who seeks God’s truth with an open and honest heart, even if they come to different conclusions regarding important doctrines.

We live in a time where it is becoming increasingly popular to believe that Calvinism is just a nickname for the gospel. Charles Spurgeon once said, “It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.” I beg to differ, and the purpose of this blog site is to evaluate Calvinism in the light of Biblical revelation in order to see where it conforms to the gospel and where it does not.

I reject all five points of Calvinism as Calvinists understand them. I reject that total depravity necessitates that one must be regenerated before they can believe. I reject unconditional individual election and reprobation. I reject an atonement made only for those whom God has unconditionally elected to save. I reject the doctrine of inevitable perseverance. You are welcome to disagree, and I look forward to your interaction.