Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"What is at stake is... the justification of God's claim to reveal himself to the world as its God"

John Piper probably sowed the seeds of Calvinism for me when I read Let the nations be glad(in 2001) . Probably Christ Wright (whose position on sovereignty I'm not entirely sure of) sealed it with his 'The Message of Ezekiel' (published later that year - and imho one of the best of the BSTs). The helpful thing here is that both of them are into missions. The stereotype persists that Calvinism is anti-missions. You'd think Andrew Fuller & William Carey had done away with that lie 200 years ago, but there you go.... 'my' calvinism has always been missional.

In Ezekiel, God's intention that 'They will know that I am the LORD' is a recurring phrase in Ezekiel. It occurs 54 times. If anything won me to Calvinism this was it. God's overarching concern for his own glory, and for his name to be known blew away my assumption that I was the chief beneficiary of the gospel. This re-wrote the boundaries I'd thought of and made everything substantially bigger.

Words like 36v22 "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name" resonated in my heart. Chris Wright notes that this is a "relative negative" indicating the relative priority of one thing over another. So it's not to say that restoration isn't for Israel's sake and benefit but that the sake of Yahweh's name is a greater purpose [BST, footnote 54, page 291]. When it comes to me or God. God wins. That's how I see it. You don't have to call yourself a calvinist - that's up to you. But whatever your label the spreading of God's fame has got to be uttermost. I ♥ Ezekiel.

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