Why reach for this can of worms? What good could come of addressing a topic that has been debated for so long? Why not try to solve America’s political differences while we’re at it?

First of all, I have this crazy belief that, if interpreted correctly, the theology of Scripture should be consistent with itself. If we find ourselves favoring certain passages and ignoring others, we should recognize what we’re doing and be open to a broader perspective.

Second, I think it’s healthy to consider other points of view. Not because we can never be sure of anything, but because it’s important to practice being more open-hearted, if not open-minded.

If more believers would set their pom-poms aside and open themselves up to criticism, we might discover a fellowship that is more loving, humble and unified, approaching the Bible with more curiosity, relying more on the Holy Spirit for direction.

So, in the belief that we are one body, united in Christ by one Spirit, a Spirit that was given to lead us into all truth, let’s take a look at this thorny subject from three different lenses:   Continue reading


Star Trek

Sorry, red shirt. I know you’re a platinum belt in Nguni stick fighting, but some alien Yeti-looking thing is going to throw you over a cliff about three seconds after you beam down to the planet. Yeah, Spock’s brain was taken out of his skull, but don’t worry viewers, McCoy can get it back in there once Kirk seduces the band of young women that stole it.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy will never pull the short straw. Why? Because the writers of the show want to make money. Keep the viewers in suspense, but make sure they turn off their TV’s feeling good about their favorite characters, looking forward to another episode.

What about God? He made the world. He must have done it for a reason. Has he written a script for history that turns the earth into a giant chess board where players are predetermined to win or lose? Some verses certainly seem to suggest that:

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. Eph. 1:5

Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Rom. 8:29

“You did not choose me, but I chose you.” John 15:16

A simple Google search will find you dozens of verses just like these. It seems that God has a plan that he is working out in his Creation. But why would God create a universe where everything is predetermined? The writers of Star Trek do it to make money and earn some notoriety, but God doesn’t need anything like that. He’s God.

So what can he possibly have to gain by predetermining everything? Wouldn’t a free universe be more entertaining, or at least more interesting?   Continue reading