The danger in trying to systematize theology is that, when we believe that we have found the system that ties all of God's revelation together, we are tempted to "fill in the gaps" when we fail to encounter Scripture that adequately supports the propositions of our theology, or, even worse, when we encounter scriptures that seem to be in opposition to our theological ideas.
One way we do this is by redefining words so that they expand to fill the “gaps” in Scripture, or so that they no longer seem juxtaposed to our theological positions.
Words like “sovereignty” are redefined in terms of absolute control, rather than of power or authority.
Words like “faith” are redefined in terms of commitment and perseverance, rather than of assurance and conviction.
Words like “grace” are redefined in terms of inevitability, rather than of favor, mercy, or goodwill.
Another way we do this is by inventing new concepts to fill in the “gaps” in Scriptures that seem to contradict our deeply held convictions.
When God’s expressed will that all men be saved contradicts our notions of His sovereign will in election, we invent the concept of a “secret” will that seems opposed to, but is really in harmony with God’s expressed will.
When God’s assertion that “many are called, but few are chosen” seems to disagree with our deeply held idea that all whom God calls are chosen, we invent the notion of a “secret inward call,” distinct from the outward call of the preached Gospel, and given only to a select few chosen out from before time.
Shame on us!
Shame on us for not taking God at His Word and believing that he really does want our wretched neighbor, boss, or sister to be saved!
Shame on us for convincing ourselves that election means that preaching the Gospel doesn’t matter, when God says that it does.
Shame on us for subordinating God’s Holy Word to the fallible precepts of men.