Thursday, April 11, 2013

How I Came To Calvinism

No. Not me.

I'm referring to how I have heard a number of Calvinists describe their theological journey and I will confess that it never fails to surprise me that my Christian brethren describe their experience here in the same manner that one might describe a salvation testimony.

To be clear, I am only gently observing here and do not wish to offend my brethren, nor am I asserting that they elevate their arrival in Geneva with their entry into the Kingdom of God.  But when I read or listen I'm hearing the same things described in the same manner: the day and time, the circumstances, the other people involved, the writings and authors who were instrumental, the moment when it was settled...well, it's a bit much for me.

I would offer the unsolicited counsel that the 'coming to Calvinism' testimonies may prove to be counterproductive.  They may have purchase within the Calvinist tribe but such raises both of my eyebrows and those of many among us, I suspect.

Perhaps a bit of reflection should be prescribed here. Do I really want others to perceive my journey to and arrival at detailed theological convictions as a kind of conversion?

Surely not...unless the Doctrines of Grace have trumped grace itself.

Me genoito!  I hope not.


the old adam said...

I'd be happy to tell people how I left Calvinism.

(I do - out in the real world, all the time)

Ed T. said...

"arrival in Geneva"...that's funny, WT

dr. james willingham said...

Wonder what Lottie had to say about belief in the doctrines of grace?

Unknown said...

I don't recall in any of her biographies reading of her coming to Calvin or inviting others to do the same.

Dr. James Willingham said...

Just thinking how she believed in Sovereign Grace like the fellow who baptized her, John A Broadus, who extended the term to Calvinism. He also said that those who sneer at Calvinism might as well sneer at Mont Blanc. Dr.Truett thought so much of that quote (from Broadus's Commentary on Matthew) that he cited it in his Address in the celebration of Spurgeon's Centenary In London in 1934 where he was introduced by the Prime Minister of the then British Empire.

Daniel said...

For me, the reason I have a "How I came to Calvinism" story is because people tend to ask about it. No one ever asks how I came to believe in any other of the host of doctrines I accepted as I studied the Bible for myself. For the record, I can also remember how I came to exclusivism, historic premillenialism, close communion, the biblical counseling model, etc., etc. But the question people always ask is, "How did you become a Calvinist?" I guess that one is just strange to a lot of people, so you tend to have your story in order.

dr. james willingham said...

Thought it might be appropriate to post Silas Mercer's comments on the subject as to his implied reason for coming to Calvinism. In his circular Letter written for the Georgia Baptist Association in 1787, He wrote:
We are fully convinced that
Salvation is all, of grace, or
all of works, for this cannot
be mixed in this business; and
if it be by grace, then the
doctrine of Elestion (sic),
God's love to his people, is
the very foundation of our
salvation....we believe it to
to be the duty of every Gospel
minister to insist upon this
soul comforting, God honoring
doctrine of Predestination (sic),
as the very foundation of our
faith.... And we believer it
to be a doctrine which God
generally owns and blesses to
the conviction and conversion
of sisnners, and comforting to
his saints." (Church Letter to
the Georgia Baptist Association,
1787. Could this be the secret
to a Third Great Awakening?