An AWARD to Erlenmeyer Flask!
OK, I realize that in the world of blog, I am no one important ... but I have created an award that I want to give. I first heard of the concept of an award from Marc Heinrich of Purgatorio. I am not the instant blog star that Marc is, but hey, I have opinions about the people that I read! Let me explain ...
Antonio. He is quite controversial. I first heard of Antonio, when I was reading a post about Antonio by Jonathan Moorhead on his blog From the Head of the Moor. I went to Antonio's blog, and, being a questioner of Calvinism myself, I left him this comment:
Antonio, I am sorry that people are bashing you. It seems like you are just a person who won't go along with a doctrine that is not painting the Bible's picture of our wonderful, merciful God ...
I thought it was kind of "mean" the way that he was being treated. I since have discovered that he brings it on himself, to a degree. I actually think he enjoys it. He appears on people's posts, (like this one) and leaves quotes from John Calvin and Lordship Salvation proponents that, I believe, are meant to cause the bloggers to think about some of the implications of their theology. I really like Antonio and God has used him in my life and my husband's life in a very real way, but he is belligerent sometimes, I must admit. I just yesterday read where he was accused of being a trouble maker. His ways are not the ways I would go about challenging people. Although, all of us can be pretty passionate about our beliefs. However, even his critics would have to admit, he does make the blogosphere interesting. I have learned a lot from reading his blog and the comments also. I have learned a lot reading all the blogs around here. Thank you all!
I digress ...
Antonio's blog, Free Grace Theology is a place that I have been frequenting. If you just read his own blog (and not the provacative comments he leaves all over blogdom), he doesn't come across rude or like a "troublemaker" at all. He has been accused of heresy, but I just don't see it in his posts. He has been doing a series on James, in which he is just taking apart the verses, talking about the intended audience etc ... There is not a whole lot of opining ... it is very sytematic. His inspiration, however, seems to spring from a concern over mixing grace with works in the salvation equation. I have this concern also. I have always thought that the reformed theology had the concern, as well. However, reformed theology bloggers are mad at Antonio for his challenges! They call him a heretic and it has turned into a very interesting debate. I've been scratching my head and have been very troubled over it all.
Now enter Erlenmeyer Flask (not his real name). Earl is certainly a reformed theology proponent. He has joined in many of my discussions about TULIP and has been very helpful. He really appreciates the Westminster Confession of Faith and mentions it often. He is quite funny. I first "met" him when he left a comment on my 4th or 5th post as a blogger, back in September, called "Debating Calvinism ... should I read this book?" He said I had a "fun blog." That, in itself, made me smile. What an unexpected place to find a comment that my blog was fun.
In my sidebar, there is a post called TULIP SERIES ... My Favorite Comments, where his humor can be seen. I included his comments that made me laugh and smile, although he is so much more than a comedian. Right now, on his blog MetaSchema, he is going through the Westminster Larger Catechism and ADVENT. He is very serious about his faith, well spoken and articulate. But this is not why he is getting an "AWARD" from me. This is why:
I was visiting Antonio's blog and I saw that Earl had been reading it. I was looking at Earl's comments here. Then ... I saw something that made my blog heart swell. Earl recognized Antonio with respect. He said a lot, but here is a bit of it:
I've been reading your blog and associated comments for a couple of hours ... I have a better understanding now ... I really appreciate your stance on free grace. Keep it up. I'm still gathering information on your approach, there are aspects that I can't go along with as I understand your approach better, but I think you are providing a good service for the Kingdom of God.
Hallelujah! Wouldn't it be beautiful if all of us (myself also!) could recognize that others in the body of Christ who challenge our thinking, and our systems, are not our enemies. (I would that the challengers would be kinder about it also.) I once appeared on a blog last summer and was pretty confrontational myself, but I found that talking with a person who holds a position I don't agree with is good for the soul and it causes me to look deeper into the Word. More importantly, these are ones for whom Christ died! The body of Christ is diverse, but we are all brothers and sisters. Let's be more respectful.
Earl, thank you for blessing my heart this last week! You are so REASONABLE!
(I will give this award from time to time, when I am impressed to do so. I will start a list in my sidebar with those who recieve the award listed underneath, just like Marc! I have to figure out how to put a graphic in my sidebar first, though ... does anyone know how?)