It was the book of Romans that changed everything. Jacobus Arminius studied Calvinism with John Calvin’s son-in-law and hand-picked successor. In fact, he was a strict Calvinist. Then one day as he was studying in the book of Romans, he realized that what he believed didn’t exactly fit. Originally, the early Arminians were known as the Remonstrants, only later did the label Arminians stick.
The more I look into these two schools of thought, the more I’m questioning whether or not I should. I sort of feel like I’m try to explain to strangers why it’s not a good idea to open mail written to another and implement the advice it contains or why it’s not a good idea to turn in another person’s prescription and take medication meant to solve their problems. Some people tried to explain to me that to be covenental means that you believe that while the Old Testament covenants were between God and whoever, the church spiritually takes place of that whoever. Some even say that the church is the spiritual Israel.
For that matter, I don’t really know anything about being creedal or confessional either. I have a list of what reformed theology is – but it doesn’t mean anything. It strikes me as being a wrong fit for me and I can’t explain why, it just is. I’ve always seen the Old Testament as being completely fulfilled, a closed chapter that the New Testament occasionally refers to, but ultimately continues the story going in a different direction.
So when some guy said that God would be well within his rights to cause some sickness within me or kill me for having such a different (apparently wrong) understanding of scripture, that just didn’t sound like God to me. The truth is that I’ve never heard of a story where God did something like that outside of the Bible. If he did, most of the denominational differences would be characterized by a major death toll on all sides except for the correct one. I think what concerns me is that to buy into Reformed Theology, I’d have to give up much of the freedoms that Jesus has instilled into my heart.
The truth is that there isn’t a name for theology I have at this present time. It can’t be classified as completely reformed or unreformed, conservative or liberal, right or left, red or blue, Calvinism or Arminianism, Baptist or Methodist, traditional or contemporary, complementarian or egalitarian. It is some mysterious mixture contain generous helpings of some teachings and barely a pinch of others. Because of the mixed messages I’ve been told over the years, I’m finding it difficult to clarify and define what I really believe because I’m not really sure of anything. It also makes it difficult to be receptive of any teaching that’s any extreme of anything which seems to be the normal lately. I may be a theological mixed bag, but at least I know I’m aiming for balance.