You're right, that was pretty unhelpful haha. Especially since I can't find anywhere to get ahold of that book. The Brisbane libraries are shckingly understocked and nobody thinks to put Christian theology books up online for free illegal download haha. I could buy it as an audiobook n itunes for 10 bucks, but I don't have 10 bucks and I've never had patience for audiobooks.
I'm going to tell you something, because you're my sister and I want to tell you about this, but Eileen Michelle Ariel Dekker, don't you DARE get a big head over this.
I think I might be a Calvinist.
I said I didn't want to hear it!!! No gloating, no smug little smiles. That means you can wipe the one sitting on your lips this second right off your face. Trust me when I say that this was completely unintentional. I still don't like it, but it doesn't change things.
You know how I said that God's been constantly humbling me lately? It's like for the past month or so, He's just been drilling it into my head how very awesome He is and how very insignificant I am. I've been realizing more and more the incredible power of God and just how much of a hand He has in everything. Every single breath that I take is a gift and an allowance from Him. I literally can't do anything without Him. With this mindset, I would start thinking about my relationship with God, how I wish that I could just *make* myself fall in love with Him, how I wish that I could make myself be closer to Him.... and I could just hear God in the background going, "Oh, I'm sorry, that's 'you' bringing you closer to Me, making you fall in love with Me? Didn't we just establish that 'you' can't do anything?"
And one of the natural byproducts of this (humbling, I mean), as well as a mass of other verses, is the revelation that God is scary. I mentioned this a little in my last email, but one of the other main things that God as been pounding into me is this completely debilitating fear of Him. I mean, you go to passages like the one where God kills that man who touches the Ark of the Covenant in an effort to keep it from falling onto the ground and God smites him on the spot for assuming that his hands are cleaner to touch it that the dirt, or that passage in Daniel 4 when God takes Nebacanezzar's kingdom from him and makes him like a beast for a few years just to show him that He can, or at the end of 1 Kings when God calls on a lying spirit to deceive Ahab into his own death.... I could go on and on with the list, but the gist of it is that God cand and will do whatever He freakin' wants, and "no one can stay His hand or say to Him, 'What have you done?'" (Daniel 4:35)
Then you get into the whole rest of the Bible where God is constantly killing nations that anger Him, wheather He tells the Isrealites to kill them for Him or whether He calls on other nations to conqueor Isreal bcause they pissed Him off again... God is completely just in everything He does, but at the same time (and I've already repented numerous times for this thought, but it hasn't stopped me from thinking it yet), God is really kind of termpermental. I feel like if I do the slightest thing wrong, think a slightly disrespectful thought, then it's going to set Him off. With me freshly re-starting my relationship with Him, I just really don't want to mess things up this time around, you know? It got to the point where I was even too terrified to talk to Him, for fear of saying the wrong thing.
Anyway, looking back on it, I think the reason that I was caught in this absolutely horrible place was because my mind had already subconsciously switched to a Calvinist mindset, but I was still consciously clinging to my Arminianist ideals. On the one side, God is all powerful and mighty and completely in control and able to smite me when He gets sick of me, but on the other side, I was the one who had to choose to love Him and be in relationship with Him and keep up my faith and my prayer and my devotion to the best of my abilities. Putting both of these mindsets together means that not only can I *lose* my salvation if I can't keep up with my end of things, but that it's entirely likely that I never had it in the first place because I kept messing up and surely God was too fed up with me to want to have me around for eternity.
So then a couple nights ago I was talking with this guy Aaron from my church and we got into this really deep discussion about Calvinism. And as I was listening to Him, I just found myself nodding at everything He said, like, yes, yes, that finally makes sense... And it all just clicked that of course I was feeling this mind-racking pressure to get everything right, because in the Arminian perspective, my salvation is completely on me rather than on the One who can actually do it.
This is so hard for me to sort out in writing and there's so much more to all these thought processes than I can actually put down (or than you would want to read), but the whole of it is that- almost overnight- I think I just became a five point Calvinist. And I can't believe how good I feel about it.
But- HA, bet you thought this email was finally over- one thing that I've come to the conclusion of is that Calvinist God is even scarier than half-and-half God. Want to know why? For the exact same reason that I'm so relieved: it's out of my hands. Based on where I stand now, it doesn't matter how much I pray, how much I go to church or worship or try try try to build a relationship with Christ... if my name's not already in the Book of Life, then none of it matters. The thing that's really got me thinking about this is partially my meetings with the mormons, and partially my hesitancy with the pentecostal church. Don't worry, I'm nowhere near being converted to Mormonism, nor am I about to go searching for someone to lay hands on me so that I can be slain in the spirit. It's mostly just that both of these experiences have brought up a lot of questions about other peoples' perspectives when it comes to the Bible and it's teachings. There are so many things that you can interpret differently, and wrongly, to the point where I think one's salvation might be at stake. And my thought is this- what if I suddenly start subscribing to one of these crucially wrong perspectives and, in my search for Christ, end up moving in the opposite direction of Him? What if God has predestined me to fall into one of these weird categories simply for the sake of teaching something to *you*, Eileen? He could do it, no doubt. He obviously does it all the time, based on the number of members in these odd-practicing churches or religious groups. If the sacrifice of my eternal life with Him somehow brings Him more glory, who's to say that He won't do it?
And this is where I'm at right now, in a MUCH better place with God, but even more terrified out of my mind when it comes to Him. Make sense? Thoughts?