Okay, so maybe I am an antinomian – you gotta problem with that? Most Sunday mornings I attend St. Andrew’s Chapel, R. C. Sproul’s church. Anybody who knows anything about theology knows that he is Mr. Calvinist. At St. Andrews there is a pretty heavy emphasis on doctrine, on the rules, on the inerrancy of scripture and on scripture interpreting scripture. Some would accuse them of being legalists. Antinomians are the opposite of legalists; they believe that the law is fulfilled in loving God and ones neighbor.
One of the five pillars of Calvinism is the doctrine of “Total Depravity”– that is, as in the total depravity of mankind. I kind of like that; it speaks to me and to my experience. Most of the time I feel pretty depraved. I look around me and depravity’s what I see. In other words, without God’s mercy and saving grace mankind is doomed because it is hopelessly evil. So in spite of the emphasis on the rules (the law), there is an equally strong focus on grace in Sproul’s reformed theology. This presents an almost Zen-like paradox–a koan that studying and meditating on will bring enlightenment.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer commented that theology began when Satan said to Eve, “Did God really say that?” And that same question has been posed by millions upon millions over thousands of years. The big question still is, what is God saying to us? It is about the only question worth asking. Since the time I was about twelve I’ve felt like life was a great riddle to be solved. By the time I was 13 I had pretty much stopped believing in the God I’d been reared with–the Lutheran/Catholic God who was the Great Score-keeper in the sky. But in spite of officially becoming an agnostic I never stopped looking for meaning in the universe and a purpose for my individual life. I dabbled in philospohy, Eastern religions and New Age beliefs. For a while I thought that science was the path to enlightenment–until I realized that most scientists weren’t a bit objective.
When I was around 19 or 20 I stopped indulging my mother’s wishes and quit going to church. Around that same time she said something which stuck in my mind: “God is Love.” I did not realize she was quoting from John’s First Episle. The fact that that statement stuck in my mind so indelibly was surely the work of the Holy Spirit. I did not scoff at her declaration as I was prone to do and a part of me knew that I’d heard something profound. Now, many decades later, that statement forms my theology as thoroughly as I’m inclined to believe. So, maybe I am an antinomian.
As I see it, Christian theology is kind of an exhilarating study so long as one doesn’t get caught up in specific credos to the point of trashing all those judged apostate or ignorant because their views are different. One of Satan’s main strategies is to fracture Christ’s Body and, sad to say, he’s been pretty successful in that endeavor. The thousands of different denominations we have are all the result of theology. And that is why I think our theology should be kept simple, and why I think it should be a theology of action and deeds. If are busy turning love into service then we have less willingness to ponder what God “really” said. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Rom. 13:8.