Several years ago, a friend stopped me in the hallway of the church my wife and I were attending and asked me a theological question. I answered, “I don’t know.” He said, “I thought for sure you would know that.” And I responded, “I have discovered that the older the get the less I seem to know.” When I finished college, I thought I had it all together and that I was “all that”. I could wax eloquent on all topics related to the Bible and felt I could hold my own debating anyone. As I have grown older, I have discovered I am not as smart as I thought I was.
I am not a big fan of country music. But it is hard to live in Hopkins, SC and not hear it. Toby Keith has a song that says, “I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.” Now I have already confessed I don’t know everything, and I have not honestly listened to most of that song, but I am pretty sure he is bragging about his romantic prowess. But all that to say I am tempted to say, ‘I am not as smart as I once was, but I am as smart once as I ever was.’ Truthfully, I don’t know whether that is so or not.
Here is my point. I see a lot of debate in Christian circles about theological issues that lead people into extreme positions. For example, Southern Baptists are arguing among themselves about the premises of Calvinism and the doctrine of election. Pentecostal friends have often said to me, “The problem with you Baptists is you think once you are saved, you are always saved.”
When God said to Moses, “I Am,” it seems to me there is an implied “You’re Not.” God is infinite; mankind is finite. So how does a finite mind think that it can ever fully comprehend the infinite. How does one truly unite some of the balancing truths of the Scripture? If man is ultimately saved through persevering to the end, how can he also be preserved by the grace of God so that He cannot fall out of salvation? Both truths are in the scripture, and I can take texts and argue each side. How can the Bible say, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” and also say “predestined before the very foundations of the earth?” (My paraphrase). Why can we not be content to admit there are some mysteries so wonderful, but so incomprehensibly great, that we cannot fathom their depth?
I am sure that someone will read this who “knows” all the answers. I can imagine it must be a very heavy burden to be that smart. Just saying. . .