After becoming a Polygyny advocate, it wasn't terribly long before my version of what is known as "Calvinism" ratcheted up to the level of "Hyper" or "High" Calvinist. As with all labels there are problems with Calvinism and with all versions of it, I've settled on calling myself a Hyper Calvinist, as it is closest to what I believe. What, you might ask, led me from a position of "Mushy" Calvinism to hard core hyper "God Predestines Some To Hell" Calvinism? It is the observation that no matter how much I nailed down the doctrine of acceptable Polygyny, virtually no one would switch. About the most they will do is approach me behind the scenes and say "yeah, but it's not really wise, is it?" A more cirucular argument I have never seen. People just want to stay where they are, and never progress to something other than the Cultural Christianity they are comfortable with.
144,000? There are days when I think the number is literal. Those Biblically literate will know this is a number that some cults latch onto as the literal number of the saved or at least, those that will be saved at the second coming. Faced with the stubborness of 99% of Christianity which will do NOTHING to live anything other than a Nostalgic version of it, frankly there are days that I would be amazed if there WERE 144,000.
How does Christianity change us? All I see is people looking into the past, much as the people of Israel longed for the EGYPT of their slavery. Is there a point we are willing to say Christianity was PERFECT? I can't see that place or time. Better than at other times? That I'm willing to believe. Perfect? It's never going to happen. What are we to do? "Work out our salvation with fear and trembling" and get as close as we can. To most of us that means find someone else who got close and emulate them.
I've asked this question of my reformation bretheren many times. "What have we reformed lately?" No one can ever name anything. If our "tradition" is a better tradition than that of the Catholics but a tradition (of men) nonetheless, God is no more pleased with us than any segment of Christianity. Where are the Bereans, constantly searching the scriptures, reconciling beliefs to the word of God? I am told by those who in a self congratulatory way consider themselves "real" reformers that we are to be "always reforming", "never reformed". Yet these are the same people who cannot answer the question "what have we reformed lately?"
Thus sometimes I actively wonder, "How many Christians are there, really?" There are days when I'm not sure than answer is a large number.
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