30 Sep 2020

Five Fingers, TULIP’s and God’s Mission for Us

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Christian hope, Church, Discipleship, Journey, Ministry, Mission, Patternism, Precision Obedience, Sectarianism, Spiritual Disciplines, Unity

Walter Scott was not the only Five Finger Preacher

Every once in a while I am accused of being a Calvinist. This is one of the strangest things I have ever been accused of, for I do not have a Calvinist bone in my body (many only have a vague conception of what Calvinism actually is. The TULIP is post-John Calvin btw).

But I am a fan of the new TULIP that Brian McLaren gave us in his perceptive book, A Generous Orthodoxy. I remember reading this 10 or 11 years ago. It was one of my favorite two pages in the book. So for your third day of the week, I want to suggest that we all embrace the redefined TULIP … (putting my own spin on it as well)

T = Triune Love. The endless love that binds together the holy and divine community of Father, Son and Spirit, shall be the love that binds us to one another in the sacred bond of community and unity as well.

U = Unselfish Election. Election of God’s people has nothing to do with us being superior than anyone, in any fashion. In fact election is not about us at all. Election is about God using us as his hands and feet to be his instruments of shalom in this world. Election is Unselfish. We serve the red, yellow, black and the white, we embrace the widows, orphans and the aliens. We serve the poor because we were poor and God has made us rich. Unselfish Election is about us being a blessing for the world so God’s will will be done on earth as in heaven.

L = Limitless Reconciliation. Instead of arguing that atonement by definition excludes some part of creation, from this Tuesday on, let’s see that reconciliation is a function of the Missio Dei (the mission of God). God, through Christ’s life, death and resurrection, reconciles “all things” to himself in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen. With this, we exercise our unselfish election, by praying to God to be forgiven AS WE FORGIVE others, knowing that God always loves my neighbor.

I = Inspiring Grace. Grace is not some impersonal force that runs us over like a tank. Grace is the expression of the passionate personal love of the Triune God (Father, Son and Spirit). This grace INSPIRES grace among the people of God. It is not merely some doctrinal stance but practical way of living in relation to the world around us. We are the Jubilee/Forgiveness of Sins People who welcome others on the same basis God has welcomed us … Grace.

P = Passionate and Persistent Saints. God’s people rooted and established in Triune Love, the selfless abandon of election, of our mission of limitless reconciliation and the grace that inspires God’s people to live boldly and passionately as people reflecting that Glory of God back into God’s world. We are not arrogant, a notion at odds with all the above. We are simply persistent in our love, our forgiveness, and our graciousness to others for the sake of the kingdom of God.

With apologies to Brian McLaren if I do not remember it exactly right. But this is how Bobby V has shared it repeatedly over the years. It is a good five finger way to look at the world.

It could help us in the current morass as God’s people in the USA. Appreciate you reading. Blessings.

2 Responses to “Five Fingers, TULIP’s and God’s Mission for Us”

  1. Robert Says:

    Well remembered! Almost word perfect, I checked..
    I often cite this book, “A generous orthodoxy”, because it illustrates a fundamental and salutary change in mentality which I think many people have made, and which I wish more would adopt. The “old” thinking identifies “us” because we are not like “them”, and of course, we are the ones who have the truth. How much more honest, charitable and effective it would be if we thought “You know, we would be better Christians if we did this like “them”, and told “them”, ”I love this about you! You got this right.’

  2. Dwight Haas Says:

    Well now I’m OK with TULIP, now if we could get this into all of the churches that teach the other TULIP.

Leave a Reply