Amanda, John, and Richard and I have gotten into debating some theology via Amanda's blog: mandilu.blogspot.com. So I thought before people judged me too harshly, I should give a little history of my theological background and how it's developed over the years. Maybe I'll even make a list of TEN!
1. I grew up Presbyterian, the heir of Calvin's heritage, and I didn't know anything about it. LOL. Our preacher was an Arminian (sp?) and preached firmly against "once saved, always saved" and election. Very, very into free will.
2. When I went to (Presbyterian) church camp my freshman year of high school, the guy who was leading it at the time was a Calvinist. It was first time in my life I had ever been exposed to Calvinism, except for history class, and my teacher made him seem like a loon!
3. I spent several years angry that I had been denied these truths of God's character, and often felt compelled to forcefully share my views with others :(
4. In high school, I was sold out hard core for Christ, and was not in any way a 'carnal Christian.' For the most part, I practiced what I preached, recognizing I will always fall short, hence the reason I'm in need of a savior. But I still had the looming fear, "What if God didn't choose me?" And "It's not fair that God would choose me, and not this person."
5. After 3 more years of church camp, mentoring by two ladies whom I dearly love, an awesome college experience with Tim Burgess, and studying my own Bible, I've recognized the truth of Calvin's theology. I love it and am comforted by it.
6. Side note: I haven't read anything on carnal Christianity, but one of the reasons I'm inclined to believe it's possible, is from personal experience with one of the aforementioned ladies. Man, she jacked her life up hard core with sin and has really allowed parts of her past to enslave her. But I don't doubt for a minute the authenticity of her faith.
7. I've matured a lot. I love my theology, but it's not my God. There's a forward from a book that I'll share with you all later that really explains what I mean by this.
8. I completely trust the sovereignty of God. I don't spend a lot of time (any more) fussing over whether or not my theology is exactly right, what heaven will be like, or even convincing other Christians why they should believe what I believe. I just trust God, and know that His way is the best way.
With 8. said, that leads me to my last two points:
9. If you want to debate theology, I will and can. As long as you're willing to except two truths, the gospel message is first and friendship comes before theology.
10. If you are a person that is dear to my heart and whom I am confident has a personal relationship with Christ, if I feel God's nudge I won't hesitate to challenge you to take steps in your faith :)