"Unity without verity is no better than conspiracy." - John Trapp

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Benson on Election (?)

Last Sunday (late Saturday night) I posted a poem by Bob Benson titled The Things I Believe. Bob was a member of the Nazerene church, which is not exactly known as a stronghold of Reformed theology. With that in mind, I'm posting the following quote from Bob. I suspect he meant something different by it (kind of like Charles Wesley's hymns) than what a Christian of the Reformed persuasion will take it to mean. Perhaps he viewed it in light of God's call on him to be a Pastor-Teacher. But, as I read it, maybe not. He didn't write about this just once. I'm going to give you two quotes, both of which Bob prefaced with John 15:16. See what you think (the emphasis is Bob's):

from The Heart of the Chooser
As long as you feel that you can only hope that he isn't displeased or pouting ro mad or gone. As long as you believe that he is saying or feeling about you, "Oh, no, not again?" or, "Look at that, will he ever get that right?" or, "She always does that." As long as your failure causes you to doubt his faithfulness, you're looking at the "choosee."

Our shared life with him begins when he chooses us. An our being chosen begins in his love for us. He is the initiator of this relationship.

In one way, the fact that he chooses us is a rejoicing kind of truth. It is like a serendipity or an extra. It is like boiled custard from the dairy, which is made only during the holidays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can't get it for your birthday in August. It is like a holiday or special-times-type truth, and at a retreat or a particular service, it thrills us to think that he loves us.

In a deeper way I am beginning to believe that this is really a foundational kind of truth. There is a sense in which he cannot mean all he could or should to us, until we begin to fathom to some degree how much we mean to him. All of our faith and love from him is born in our belief in his trust and love for us.

Only when you can realize he is looking at you and smiling with you and thanking the Father for you will you begin to find the love there is in the heart of the "chooser."

from I Likes to Be Chose
I heard a story the other day about being chosen. Someone asked another person if he would help him on a project. He responded yes.

"I think it is only fair that I tell you that you were my second choice," replied the first, maybe with more honesty than was called for.

"Well, that's all right," the willing worker said, "but just out of curiosity, who was your first choice?"

"Anybody," was the reply.

But I wasn't chosen as a replacement for someone who didn't want to serve. I wasn't asked to play in the field someone was already covering. He saw me, he called me, he selected me, he picked me, he singled me out, he decided on me, he opted for me, he espoused me. He chose me.

He did not refuse me, he did not reject me, he did not repudiate me, he did not spurn me, he did not dismiss me, he did not exclude me. He did not ignore, disregard, cast away, throw aside, or leave me out. He chose me.

It was not obligatory, mandatory, required, called for, deserved, necessary, imperative, compulsary, or forced. He just chose me.

It was his open, voluntary, willful, selective, deliberate, intentional choice. He chose me.

Out of his devotion, fondness, adoration, tenderness, affection, attachment, emotion, sympathy, empathy, and love, he just chose me.

And that has made all the difference in my life.


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