Tuesday, July 11

Chestertonian Paradox

Several years ago, I gave a talk at an education conference on the paradox of my love for both G.K. Chesterton and John Calvin. If you know anything at all about either of these great men, you'll know that my love for them is indeed a paradox. Thankfully, I am not the only one. Indeed, a man far wiser than I, James Sauer, has confessed an identifcal philosophical irony:

"I've got a problem with Chesterton. The problem is that I think he is a wonderful, wise, witty, and pious man; after reading his works, I never leave the page without feeling edified. Then what's the problem? Perhaps, the problem, if it is a problem, isn't in Chesterton, but in me. For I am a Protestant; but not just any Protestant. I am an American Evangelical Protestant. But there's more. I am a Conservative, Capitalistic, Bible thumping American Evangelical Protestant. And hold on to your seats folks, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse; I must confess, I am also a Calvinist. We all have our crosses to bear. Anyone who is familiar with the writings of Chesterton will see the great irony in my situation. I can only ask you not to blame me for this state of affairs, I didn't choose to be elected; it was irresistible grace. I was predestined for Presbyterianism. But since I have received this unmerited favor of God, I might as well enjoy it. I can only thank my Sovereign Maker for his predestination. Not only did he choose me to be among his chosen people, but he also destined me to be among that other elect who have had the privilege of meeting through literature the great mind and good heart of Gilbert Keith Chesterton."

Amen and amen.

4 comments:

Rob Scott said...

OK, let's see, so that makes me a Libertarian Tree-Hugging American Evangelical Christian.

But can we agree that Chesterton was a great man, and a true Christian? Perhaps greater than most today, Calvinist or otherwise? I would say yes. That's enough.

I believe God desires diversity within the church. Why else would he expand the church beyond Israel to include people of every nation and ethnic group?

Jim said...

I was predestined to be Arminian until I was 35. Then I freely chose Calvinism.

Johnny! said...

Dr. Grant, our mutual friend Kemper once told me that God was using Chesterton to make "our" arguments for us at a time "we" weren't doing the job.

George said...

Amen to each of these remarks!