Postmodern, Predestined

In my experience, people who are less modern tend to be more fatalistic. We don’t normally believe that what we do will make a difference in the world. Sure, I’ll keep on recycling, but because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s going to save the environment. I don’t believe that buying a cheeseburger for the homeless guy on the street will end global hunger (I don’t even believe it will end his hunger), but I do it anyway, because Jesus talked a lot about it. I vote, but hey, I’m registered in California. A lot of this is about doing what’s right because it’s right and not because it works, but that’s another post.

Lately I’ve started to wonder if maybe this fatalistic attitude (which most Christians decry) is why the doctrine of predestination makes so much sense to me. Now I’m not talking about Calvinism, mostly because I don’t want to be lumped in with that crowd, and because I won’t pledge my allegiance to any guy who started a Christian Taliban in Switzerland. For me, I recognize that though I should do the right thing, and I want to do the right thing, I probably won’t. Even if I were to do the right thing, it wouldn’t really make any difference anyway. Thankfully, the eternal destiny of the world doesn’t depend on me.

So, if it is God who chooses us, and not the other way around, by what criteria does He choose? That question is just so, well, modern. I really never stress about that. In fact, I find beauty in the mystery, and I’m humbled that He elected me. (Proof that being handsome, smart, or nice aren’t among the criteria.) Predestination is fatalism with a face, and in case you haven’t heard, Grace is the new Karma.

If I truly believe that people’s salvation doesn’t depend on me, why am I here on the field? (I figure that of my small audience, there’s got to be at least one person wondering about that.) I’m not here to make an impact on “lostness,” or to “finish the task,” because I couldn’t if I tried. Not even all of us, working together in Christian unity could do those things. No, I’m here because God called me to go. Perhaps you could say it was my destiny.

About E. Goodman

Ernest Goodman is a missiologist, writer, teacher, and communications strategist.