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Contending for the Controversial May 22, 2007

Posted by larrylaz in Quotes.


Much time and energy lately has been spent contending for a doctrine which I believe is very valuable and precious, the doctrine of unconditional election. This doctrine is controversial, and has been disagreed upon for centuries by learned men. Because of this, there is often a sentiment that it is not worth the effort to contend for such doctrines, for they are unhelpful and only serve to promote division.

While my passion and joy in this doctrine has grown over the past several months, I am not immune to the occasional bout of apathy that I may be laboring in vain. The steady voice that belittles the controversial can sometimes cause me to waver in this pursuit. So I was extraordinarily blessed by these opening remarks in John Piper’s chapter called ‘The Pleasure of God in Election’. I first read this book four and a half years ago, and it continues to nourish my own soul every time I go back to it. Here’s what Piper wrote as he began his meditations on God’s pleasure in election:

“Can controversial teachings nurture Christlikeness? Before you answer this question, ask another one: Are there any significant biblical teachings that have not been controversial? I cannot think of even one, let alone the number we all need for the daily nurture of faith. If this is true, then we have no choice but to seek our food in the markets of controversy. We need not stay there. We can go home and feast if the day has been well spent. But we must buy there. As much as we would like it, we do not have the luxury of living in a world where the most nourishing truths are unopposed. If we think we can suspend judgment on all that is controversial and feed our souls only on what is left, we are living in a dreamworld. There is nothing left. The reason any of us thinks that we can stand alone on truths that are noncontroversial is because we do not know our history or the diversity of the professing church. Besides that, would we really want to give the devil the right to determine our spiritual men by refusing to eat any teaching over which he can cause controversy?

The teaching od Scripture on election has been controversial. But I believe with all my heart that it is precious beyond words and a great nourishment for the Christlikeness of faith. If I understand the teaching of the Bible, God has pleasure in election. To know that this is true, and to know why it is, is to see another facet of the glory of God. And that sight is the power to make us holy and happy people.”

Amen, John. I will press on.




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