sink or faucet

are you a sink or faucet? Trevin Wax wants to know.

Hat tip to Justin Taylor.


6 Responses

  1. Well that illustration can certainly go awry because it is founded upon a false dichotomy and what appears to be an Arminian notion of evangelism.

  2. fascinating. If you don’t mind, please expound further. especially with regard to how arminian evangelism might differ from that of a calvinist. I have an idea about that in my head, but I wonder if what I am thinking matches yours.

  3. Thank you for inviting me to explain further, my brother…

    Regarding the false dichotomy, it is set up as follows: one is given the choice of being either A) a Christian who believes that the benefits of the grace of GOD in salvation are meant merely to be “soaked up” soak up, including “eternal life, assurance in the present, strength in times of trial,” etc…

    or one might be B) a Christian who believes that the “blessings of salvation flow to them in order to flow through them out to the wider world.” Of course, I believe as I imagine you do that both are true.

    This is an important reason why the illustration is singularly inappropriate. To follow the logic of the illustration, a faucet does not actually retain the “water” of blessings when it is shut off. Even when turned on, it is good only as a channel through which the water flows elsewhere. Although such Christians might taste these benefits briefly, they would not hold them or “soak” them up as the “sink” might.

    I have met those who do talk according to this extreme. They say that the purpose of life is to “get saved” and then, after this, to “save” as many other people as possible. In other words, to be a vehicle for the benefits of salvation to others is our only purpose. Doctrine, piety and other aspects of the Christian faith can be enjoyed after we see the end of life. All of it will be “sorted out” later. For now, regeneration is our imperative everywhere and at all times.

    I think you know what Scripture says of this…

    On the question of important differences between Arminian and Calvinist perspectives on evangelism, I must say that one of the most important is this all-consuming vision of evangelism. I weary a bit of hearing others, including our Presbyterian brethren, consistently citing their theological giants approvingly as they claim that the Bible is, in essence, the story of GOD’s redemptive purpose. This is quite anthropocentric and completely ignores perhaps more than half of what GOD has always sought to accomplish.

    There is a most vital and majestic purpose for the reprobate and this is so often, as the Roman Catholics might say, simply “passed over in silence” among those who would rather speak only of salvation. It is as though the damned are an unfortunate side affect in GOD’s pursuit of the salvation of everyone else. And because of this self-glorifying error — I know that it is self-glorifying because of the teaching of Christ in John 7:16-18 — so much else is distorted or misinterpreted. We are often misreading GOD’s profound motives and insisting upon repainting the portrait of His character so that it conforms more closely to the one we admire so much in the mirror.

    And then, of course, when we add our own twist to the Truth, we make Him not only more morally ugly but far more refutable.

  4. I don’t wish to suggest that this is the only difference between the two positions for me, but it is a most fundamental one and it alters the method we would normally appeal to and apply ourselves when speaking to others about Christ. If our notion is primarily that the salvation of souls is the purpose of evangelism, then persuasion will be our ultimate aim and we will even struggle to usurp that power and prerogative from the Spirit… Unfortunately, virtually everything else will take a back seat to this persuasive message and we will even be willing to compromise the language and communication of GOD’s own nature or the person of Christ or the offense of the cross, or hell or repentance or anything else that serves as an obstacle to getting someone to “walk down the aisle.”

    If, on the other hand, we believe that the glory of GOD is the purpose of evangelism and that persuasion is the jurisdiction of the Spirit alone, we will not be so concerned with whether others accept our message or not. We will still seek to persuade them because what we are saying cannot help but be logically and morally persuasive to anyone who wishes to see it rightly. Nevertheless, we will be far more concerned with representing GOD in His full glory for that alone will glorify Him and that is the purpose of evangelism. We will certainly not be deceived into believing that the rejection of our message was a “failure” which failed to produce the “fruit” that GOD promised.

  5. I agree with you about the false dichotomy. I think a better analogy is that of a fountain. I see us more properly as a reservoir of the grace of God and that grace, love and power continually pours into us and overflows to those around us.

    I am going to have to ponder the rest of what you wrote later this evening.

  6. I like the fountain illustration as well. Edwards, I believe, applied the same to GOD Himself. However, there is always the danger of perceiving ourselves as a passive receptacle of grace which overflows onto others in that Jewish sense of resting at home as the “chosen people of GOD” who bless others willing to come into their midst… which is an idea that discourages evangelism as it did among the Jews.

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