Confession 5: SO-OCD, my worst nightmare

What is SO-OCD? It stands for sexual orientation obsessive compulsive disorder. It seems to be rather rare and its effects have reduced what should be the best years of my life to the worst.

We still haven’t answered the question of what it is though. Like R-OCD, SO refers to the types of obsessions one has. Mine are about whether or not I am gay. I’m constantly worrying and concerning myself with my sexuality. Tests are a big part of this. I think of the one I love and I know I’m not gay, but the thoughts attack me consistently. They make me break down in tears. Some nights I weep, waiting until I’m all alone and hiding my pain when I’m not alone. 

It’s a hard road. I didn’t ask for it but it’s a part of my everyday life. I only trust and lean on the Lord and hope that He helps me through my trials.

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Religious Socialism: Theology in Dialogue 

This brief post is inspired by my recent reading of Paul Tillich. As a Tillichian, I accept the basic premise that theology must be done in conversation, or, in other words, in dialogue with the contemporary situation in which the theologian finds himself. In the United States, people in my age group have been enthralled by Bernie Sanders. Sanders claims to be a democratic socialist, one who believes that the democratic institutions of society should be used in the establishment of worker self-ownership of the means of production (socialism). This interest in Socialism comes from an increasing awareness of the socio-economic disaster that has befallen the United States in the past few years. With income inequality, atomization, and job loss on the rise and the average rate of profit on the decline things aren’t looking good. The theologian can’t ignore these issues. He must address them in a theological manner. How one does this is up to further consideration; however, the fact that this task must be undertaken is not. We must address this problem theologically because theology is the only existential science by which man is reunited with himself and reason is reunited with its own depth. In later posts, we will attempt to do just this. For now, I am content to admit that I am a committed religious socialist. 

The Arminian Question: A Hyper-Calvinist Consideration

In one of my previous posts I said that I believe, in contradiction to other Hyper-Calvinists, that Arminians are saved and our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, I have come to change my mind concerning Arminianism, as I believe that because of the violence it does against the doctrine of God (the subject of theology proper), soteriology, the doctrine of sin, and anthropology one must condemn Arminianism as heretical and an issue over which one ought to break Christian fellowship of any kind. This comes from a consideration of the doctrines of Inclusivism and Exclusivism. The position one takes on these important matters of doctrine is definitional to Christian fellowship. It is my firm conviction that if Christian fellowship is granted to the Arminian, it should be granted to the Mormon. Let’s define our terms:

Inclusivism: the doctrine that some beliefs are less true than the absolutely true beliefs; however, those less true beliefs will allow you to enter heaven

Exclusivism: there is only one way to heaven which requires proper beliefs in the proper subjects and objects

Exclusivism is the explicit statement of Scripture. The importance of dogmatics is not to be understated. Paul states that there is “one faith” in Ephesians 4:5 and that we should “watch your life and doctrine” in 1 Timothy 4:16. Paul even goes so far as to say that “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” in Galatians 1:8. What does Arminianism affirm exactly that requires us to break fellowship with them? Arminianism affirms five doctrines that are in direct contradiction to the teaching of Scripture.

1. Radical depravity – man is fallen but still has free will

2. Conditional election – there is a condition in man that allows him to become elect

3. Unlimited Atonement – Christ’s death was for all individual men

4. Resistable Grace – God’s graces woos those dead in trespasses and sins but may be resisted

5. Conditional Perserverance – Perserverance is conditioned on the desire to persevere 

Each of these points is directly contrary to the five points of Calvinism accumulated under the acronym TULIP. TULIP is Scriptural, and its denial is a denial of the clear teaching of the word of God. This denial is heresy and should commend Christians to sever fellowship with Arminians.

Equal Ultimacy: A Consideration of Romans 9:11-13

The problem of equal ultimacy is something that I have spoken on decisively in the past. It is a position that I endorse and I am not ashamed that I hold to what some consider to be a “horrible doctrine.” For those who have not read my previous post, equal ultimacy is the doctrine that God’s decree of election is symmetrical. Today we will be taking a look at the strongest Scriptural support for this belief: Romans 9:11-13. This passage relies on a symmetrical parallel in order to make the desired point, and, unlike Dr. Sproul, we will not avoid the possibility of an equal ultimacy interpretation simply because of a detestation of the doctrine. Let us begin with our exegesis.

before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

There are a few important points to note about this striking passage of Scripture. Before the twins had done any good or bad (prior to their birth) God selected which one would be the object of His holy hatred and which would be the object of His holy love. We know that human beings are born in sin (Psalm 51:5) and so it must be the case that the twins have truly done no evil or have been tainted by sin in any way. 

We then read that God begins at the moment of moral neutrality so that “His purpose according to election might stand.” If God began at a moment of moral inneutrality then there would be some condition inherent in man that would cause God to choose whom He would judge and whom He would love.

Finally, we see the symmetry between love and hate in vs 13. Jacob became, through God’s elective decree, the object of divine love and Esau, through the same decree, became the object of divine hate.