So here are the new updates from last night’s meeting. I also added Chris’ submission for last chapter that deals with anti-semitism here below Michael’s entry.
Another interesting discussion once again last night. We covered a lot of material and spent a lot of time on Protestant theology.
If you want an excellent introduction to Martin Luther’s works, then pick up Faith and Freedom: An Invitation to the Writings of Martin Luther, edited by John F. Thornton and Susan B. Varenne. When you read Luther’s writings, they are clear, direct, and passionate. I would recommend to anyone to read Luther’s works as a spiritual devotional as well, regardless of whether or not you may or may not agree with his theology. It’s still good, worthwhile stuff.
Much of the conversation focused on the doctrines of predestination and election (though these topics were not discussed in our readings for last night). Of course, we discussed a lot about free will and the nature of salvation: is it monergistic or synergistic? In other words, is salvation totally, 100% done by God, with your “free will” decision to choose Christ not playing a part, or was your choice to become a Christian entirely yours, or was there some kind of 50/50 agreement between you and God for salvation?
(Also, we briefly discussed how Luther and even other Protestant Reformers saw certain books of the Bible as being superfluous. For instance, Luther found the book of James to be of no practical use for the Christian.)
Also, questions arose about the nature of God’s sovereignty, power, and omniscience in relation to the question of election/predestination; for instance, does God know the future? Chris said that from a philosophical point of view, the future hasn’t been created yet therefore it doesn’t exist, so how can a being know the future? If God knows the entire story, from the very beginning to the very end, wouldn’t that be so boring?
These were all intriguing topics and in the upcoming days I will post up some interesting thoughts about predestination from a biblical perspective and context. So stay tuned.