Brother Bret McAtee,
If the Calvinist System of thought has been around a few hundred years why aren’t things improving if it is the anwser, and why have the proponents of Calvinist thought, ie the presbyterians,fallen into liberalism as fast or faster than those of other systems? I think it is kind of strange to hear a Calvinist think that man is going to bring back Christ by providing Him a Christian world. Seems things are going the other way. I would be really discouraged if I thought it was because I wasn’t trying hard enough. Which leads to the question can we live the Christian life or are we sinners until death?
Thanks for your questions. I hope I can give an answer that does justice to the seriousness behind their intent.
1.) Are you really arguing Steve that the last 100 years have not seen vast improvements? Why I’m old enough to remember my Grandmothers house with no running water and no indoor bathroom. We have had advances in medicine, technology, and science. Our quality and duration of life has increased markedly. So, I would say there clearly have been improvements and those improvements can be traced directly or indirectly to Biblical Christianity and a Biblical worldview.
2.) Presbyterians have fallen into Liberalism because they are sinners. Of course the problem isn’t with the faith itself. Our sin, as Presbyterians, doesn’t prove the inadequacy of our undoubted Catholic Christian Faith. Rather our sin as Presbyterians proves that we seldom live up to all we know to be true. Secondly, on this point, Biblical eschatology does not argue that the advance of the Kingdom is always evenly steadily upwards. We understand, that in God’s economy there are tides of prosperity that advance and decline, but like the tide that goes in and out we always see the tide coming in further up with each new high tide.
Here I paraphrase Robert E. Lee who summarizes nicely the Postmillennial understanding,
“The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is Christ’s Sovereignty in and over history that teaches us to hope.”
3.) Of course no Calvinist (Biblical Christian) thinks that he is, by his efforts, going to bring back Christ. No man who knows himself would ever think that. No, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in His people, often despite His people, who will do the work of conversion and will ready the world for Christ’s return. Remember I Cor. 15 “He must reign until He puts all things under His feet.” It is only after all things are under His feet (the world’s rebellion put down) that will find our benevolent and great Warrior King, the Lord Christ returning.
I look forward to that day. Even if it should not happen in my lifetime I look forward to doing my part to aid in the hastening of that day.
4.) Finally, the answer to your last question is, “yes.” We remain, throughout our lives, at the same time sinner and saint. We are not what we once were but we are not yet what we will one day be. Our obedience, by the Spirit’s sanctifying work is greater than it was, but not as great as it will be, and yet even when it is greater we will have to say “we are unprofitable servants, we have only done what we ought.”