First warning – Java ahead. Not the drink, the scripts.
Now, after presenting the materials in Sunday School yesterday, something hit me. As I performed a post-mortem during the worship service (I know, I should have been more attentive to the proclamation of the word, but I am a bit quickly self-critical), something hit me. Perseverance, as I presented it, is more of a distinctive of the Reformed tradition than a universally accepted doctrine, an essential. Distinctive in that, when I commence my theology at God the Father, I more quickly and, may-haps, easily, reach certain points, such as perseverance. This, most certainly, is not to say perseverance in ascriptural and a formulation strictly from a theological system. Rather, when the character of God is the primary building blocks of a theology, as opposed to God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit, I can more quickly see the sovereignty of God over His good creation. And His sovereign electing and preserving of his people. Starting elsewhere, that is a much more difficult proposition.
“If men were predestinated to eternal life on the ground of their repenting and believing through their own strength, or through a cooperation with the grace of God which others fail to exercise, then their continuance in a state of grace might be dependent on themselves. But if faith and repentance are the gifts of God, the results of his effectual vocation, then bestowing those gifts is a revelation of the purpose of God to save those to whom they are given.”
Ruminate on the nugget of the late Dr. Hodge, and on my meager attempts to express something similar and related. I also wish to discourage anyone from abandoning the idea of perseverance as simply a part of another, a different Theological System. It grows out of the scriptures, and can be a great comfort to believers, as I’m sure it was to the faithful in Colossae. I will still do my best to answer the questions that were raised, and I will entertain any ‘offline’ (with respect to class) questions/discussions/arguments/non-fatal-duels, etc.
Solo Deo Gloria,