RS: That reminds me of a sense I had several times in the book where I felt like calling you a Calvinist. I mean by that that you speak throughout the book of faith and even unbelief in a way that seems almost inevitable. You speak of your coming to faith in a way that seems that it wasn’t entirely a matter of your own will or even mostly of your own will and control. So am I wrong about that or is there something in your experience of a God who lays claim to you more than you lay claim to God.
CW: Yes, I think that’s right. I do credit God for laying claim to me. The imperative comes from outside, it doesn’t come from inside. Clearly there was some great hunger in me that hadn’t been answered or fulfilled but when it is filled it comes from outside. I was having a conversation with someone the other day who said that he was a Calvinist and that he believed in total depravity of man. There are different interpretations of Calvinism of course, but I have to say that I agree with that. There is very little we can do for ourselves, there’s no way we can dramatically fix the basest parts of our nature. Modern liberalism promises to do that but I don’t think that it ever can.
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
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