LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Myth Crusher

It is a common misconception that Calvinists have all arrived at their personally held calvinistic convictions through text books and indoctrination classes.

Hmmm.

Calvinists will be invited to share here a brief testimony of how they came to the Doctrins of Grace. Even if you shared in a previous thread, please do so again here.

Labels:

51 Comments:

Blogger jazzycat said...

Mark,
I was never anything else. When I came to faith I joined and was baptized in PCA Presbyterian Church. I was pretty much a blank slate as to Christian theology and didn't know Calvinism from Arminianism.

As I began to hear sermons and study the Bible, the doctrines of grace became clear and I was amazed that Arminian thinking was the majority opinion. All of my beliefs came straight from the Bible. Since I believe in a believer’s only baptism, which goes against my denomination, I don't think I can be accused of accepting everything doctrinally that was presented to me by my church.
Wayne

March 25, 2007 9:14 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

I was a frothing-at-the-mouth Arminian going into Bible College. I could not believe that anyone would believe in Calvinism and claim to be Christian. Certainly my God wasn't like that! I debated some Calvinists at school and think I actually won a few. I came to the conclusion that I needed to write a book entitled, "Chosen by Choice."

But, I had a very patient roommate that slowly instructed me. I discovered that some of my favorite theologians, including Spurgeon, actually believed this stuff. So, I started reading Sproule and others. It all came down to Romans class when my very roommate taught on Romans 9. After that it was all over - I could not get away from the fact that Scripture contradicted my view. My conscience could no longer bear my Arminianism. It would be about 10 years before I ventured into 5-point land though.

March 25, 2007 11:43 PM

 
Blogger Jasper said...

When converted as a young adult by the Lord, Jasper sat under Arminian-type of teaching. This is how Jasper was taught and learned. A decade later, some of those teachings weren't quite adding up to Jasper per the Scriptures. Slowly began to investigate and re-evalulate. As an aside to this, Jasper began to have opportunity to listen to a couple of radio broadcasters (along with the several Arminians that he listened to) who taught the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace. These teachings resonated well with Jasper, as they were the same as Jasper was discovering in the Scriptures.

To the praise of His glorious grace!

Jasper

March 26, 2007 6:48 AM

 
Blogger Craver Vii said...

“I could not get away from the fact that Scripture contradicted my view.”

Superbly stated Jonathan; here’s my own story:

I had casual T.U.L.I.P. conversations with a reformed coworker. That year, I read through the Bible, cover-to-cover. It is my position that if Scripture teaches something different from my pastor, I will first make sure I understand what God’s word says, but then, I must always go with Scripture. Careful Bible reading forced me to the conclusion that John Calvin didn’t invent anything, but rather, that Arminianism is extra-biblical.

It’s absolutely incredible to look back since then and see how strongly this perspective has affected my prayer life and evangelism/discipleship.

March 26, 2007 10:12 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

My journey began with a lost argument in 1978. My Calvinism grew while attending churches wholly hostile to my budding Calvinism - no text books were involved, just the scriptures themselves.

March 26, 2007 11:14 AM

 
Blogger Even So... said...

True story, believe it or not...

The beginnings of my appreciation for the Doctrines of Grace started when I was around eight years old and my brother seven, and we were discussing the idea of a person who never heard about Jesus, would they go to hell anyway...

We first agreed that in order for God to actually be God, He would have to control everything, or He wouldn't be God, only the most powerful being...and without ever having actually read (or probably not) Acts 17:26 yet, we both came to the realization that if God were God, then He would know who was to believe in Jesus anyway, having determined where they would live and so forth...those who would believe Jesus, they would hear about Him, and those that don't hear wouldn't believe anyway...

Yes, I realize that this isn't really fully orbed or even correct Calvinism, since some would say we misconstrued what is meant by God's foreknowledge and election, yes, I know that, but that wasn't how we understood it, we were meaning that God determined who would believe, and then placed them in the path of hearing about Jesus...

This idea stuck with me, and my understanding of the sovereignty of God developed from that point, and the Doctrines of Grace became "no brainers" as I encountered them as codifed doctrine....they were an "of course, how else could it be?" type thing ever since that day when I first realized that God must be fully and totally God to be God at all.

March 26, 2007 11:48 AM

 
Blogger Even So... said...

Sorry about not being brief, but I thought it might be interesting and helpful to some...hope so anyway...God bless...

March 26, 2007 11:50 AM

 
Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

I'll go one farther than Jonathan—I was a frothing-at-the-mouth, card-carrying Arminian. In fact, I was a Finney-quoting, frothing-at-the-mouth, card-carrying Arminian. I probably even leaned Pelagian. In the very conservative Lutheran denomination I was raised in, Calvinism was heresy, probably even worse than being Baptist. However, their emphasis on grace, which was not as incorrect as I thought at the time, caused my legalist friends and me (we weren't legalists, we believed in holiness!) to label them, pejoratively, as Calvinists. We thought Finney was a great theologian, and irritated our fellow students and professors by quoting him.

Then I left the Bible School and began listening to John MacArthur. I got hooked on his expository preaching before I realized he was a Calvinist. When I caught on, I almost quit listening. I loved The Gospel According to Jesus, but my copy has an embarrassing marginal note of disagreement by the one paragraph in which he affirms eternal security. As I feverishly searched the Scriptures for anti-Calvinist passages, I kept coming across troubling passages that [ahem] could be interpreted Calvinistically.

For starters, the passage that gave me the most trouble was one that had been hammered into me since Sunday school: John 3:16. I couldn't find a way to explain temporary eternal life. If you can get life, and then die, how is that life eternal?

I had always argued that Romans 8:29 proved that election was based on foreknowledge of man's choice. Of course, that makes no sense grammatically, but it had to be true, because Calvinism was clearly wrong. Then I ran into Ephesians 1:4-5, which sounds a lot like unconditional election.

John 6:37-40 was particularly troublesome, with election, irresistible grace, and perseverance wrapped up in one short passage.

In short, I was running into Calvinism wherever I went. I was also learning that the Calvinism I had known was a caricature of the real thing, a strange combination of hyper-Calvinism and "free-grace" theology. It took ten-plus years, but eventually I was just worn down to the point where I had to admit that Calvinism was Biblical theology. I definitely was not converted through "text books and indoctrination classes." I refused to read anything specifically Calvinist until after Scripture had beaten me down, and I fought it every step of the way. I still have not read the Institutes. I give credit to MacArthur, Sproul, and others for helping me to understand what Calvinism really is so that I could accept it as Biblical, but I was a Calvinist before I understood Calvinism.

Sorry for the length of this comment, but you did ask.

March 26, 2007 11:54 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

For me it was a process. And I can honestly say that I wasn't 'convinced' by anyone's personal arguments, or by playing Scripture ping-pong. I actually came to embrace God's sovereignty from searching the Scriptures. I'd never heard of Calvinism, Arminianism or any of the other labels before the fall of 2004.

We attended our former church for 10 years. Several years back a couple of my husband's friends introduced him to this pastor, Matt Chandler. Had him listening to his teachings on CD. Also, he listened to a lot of this guy named Dave Busby, now deceased. Also a guy named Dave Johnson (pastor of Church of the Open Door, Maple Grove, MN). Hubby then had me begin listening to some of their teachings, as well.

It was all quite different than what I'd been hearing from the pulpit. I discovered that much of the more 'difficult and very weighty' texts were not being taught at all - simply ignored. And some of what was being taught had no foundation in Scripture. (i.e. 'age of accountability,' making 'decisions' for Christ) We began visiting Matt's church in the spring/summer of 2004, and decided to join. We attended the new member's class that fall, at which time, we went thru the church handbook thing (by-laws, what we believe, and why, etc). During that time I came across texts and passages that I'd never heard teaching on before - mainly having to do with the sovereignty of God. From there, I began do a lot of studying on my own. Etc, Etc

Anyway, God, and He alone, changed my core beliefs, opened my eyes and made His truth real in my life - not just in the area of 'theology' & 'doctrine,' but in personal areas, all kinds of things. The reality of His sovereignty as revealed in the Scriptures collided with my preconceived notions and 'made up' theology about God.

There is no doubt he changed my heart from a 'man-centered' theology to 'God-centered' one.

March 26, 2007 1:13 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I can relate to people who become Calvinists.

I attended a Calvinistic Baptist church for a year (actually, I go to a Calvinistic church now, they are just less upfront about it).

I felt under a lot of pressure to conform to the Reformed theology that I was bombarded with. I can imagine that I could easily have been persuaded by the impressive arguments that I was given.

But I did some wider reading, with the thought in mind that "I know not everybody agrees with this theology and those who disaagree must have some arguments as well."

I came to the conclusion that although the Calvinists were very persuasive, their case was not completely watertight and a that a case could be made for the free-will of man and conditional election.

But they did persuade me to reject women preachers and read the King James Bible.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

March 26, 2007 3:18 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Since Matthew brought up that he felt pressure to conform to Calvinist doctrine at a church he attended, I would like to say that neither of the 2 PCA churches I have attended puts pressure on members to affirm Calvinism. There are five vows for membership that an Arminian would affirm without hesitation.

Church Officers are required to affirm the doctrines of grace by accepting the system of doctrine as taught in the WCF.

I have an excellent relationship with my Pastor and he is aware that I do not accept infant baptism. We debate it in private, but I do not make an issue about it in our congregation.

Just wanted to refute any thinking that the PCA is overbearing on conforming people to every jot and tittle of reformed doctrine.

March 26, 2007 3:56 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I did not say that the church was overbearing or used any formal pressure to conform doctrinally.

I am more talking about an itellectual or psychological pressure.

When you press lots of literature on a person, bombard them with arguments and fiercely attack opposing views, you put pressure on the person to see things your way, rightly or wrongly.

I would also say that the church did show a very gracious spirit in welcoming me to fellowship with them and taught me loads of good lessons. I am very grateful for their formative influence on me when I was 18.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

March 26, 2007 4:08 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew,
Thanks. I understand your comment and your experience. It was a good point to make and I am sure it could be made about many systems of doctrine by many people.

I just wanted to comment on the great amount of freedom that my denonmination (Presbyterian Church in America) allows in matters of doctrine that are not essential.

March 26, 2007 4:46 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Matthew, thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate that you did. :)

Would you elaborate a little on this:

"When you press lots of literature on a person, bombard them with arguments and fiercely attack opposing views, you put pressure on the person to see things your way, rightly or wrongly.

In what form did all this take? Was this coming from the pulpit? Sunday school classes? Or do you mean it was just coming from people you encountered, in general? I'm just curious b/c it seems to me that this is indeed not very gracious behavior.

My experience is different in the reformed church I attend. Matt is an expository preacher man. He'll preach through a book of the Bible, and it takes as long as it takes. I love that, myself. There is no 'Calvinist literature' handed out or anything like that. We don't have a church library, so no books on reformed theology. Matt doesn't quote from the pulpit Calvin or Spurgeon, or anyone actually.


I just pulled out my manual from when we attended the new member's class. In it contains topics such as What is Christianity, Our Statement of Faith, Our Distinctives (baptism, communion, small groups, tithing, church discipline), Our Three Pillars (Satisfaction in God, Sovereignty of God, Saturated in God), Ministry and Mission Statements, Structure, etc, etc. It's,of course filled with a lot of Scripture, and there is an article by John Piper. As I said this was from the class. You're not required to agree with each and every thing in it to become a member. Anyway...

Wayne, the reformed position holds to infant baptism? As in baptising them for the remission of sin? See, I didn't even know this. I don't hold to that myself.

March 26, 2007 5:26 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Gosh Matthew, sorry. I have another question.

But they did persuade me to reject women preachers and read the King James Bible.

Biblically, I agree - women are not to be preachers/pastors. But the KJV thing - where does that fit in? You mean KJV 'only'? If so, I don't think that's a 'Calvinist' thing.

March 26, 2007 5:29 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Gayla,
The baptism is actually a baptism into the covenant.... like circumcision was a covenant act for children. It is not a baptism signifying belief. These children must express faith when they get older to be saved.

Actually Reformed Baptists do not hold to infant Baptism. So, I guess that is closer to what I believe.
Wayne

March 26, 2007 7:20 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

I had never heard of Calvin. At that time, I was attending what I would soon find out was a very harsh anti Calvinistic church. The more I read the scriptures, the more it didn't jibe with what was taught. Then one day it hit me, God had loved me with an eternal love! I have never really understood the aversion some Christians have with God's gracious and merciful sovereign love. I learned from reading only scripture that we are all dead sinneres -- walking, but spiritually dead to God! And I learned, again from reading only scripture that if He did not call some to life, no one would ever believe. And like I said, then it hit me, right square in the heart -- if you are saved, you have been intimately known and loved with an eternal love. And some of God's people want to say that is a bad thing. Go figure....

March 26, 2007 9:28 PM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

I've been trying to decide whether or not to get into this. I've written my experience before and hate to be boring. But...

I made it through Wheaton College and Wheaton Grad School as an Arminian. I almost made it through Trinity Evangelical Divinity School except as Paul would put it, "But God..."

I loved debating the PCA guys at TEDS. But then there were these two visiting profs, John Gerstner and S. Lewis Johnson. These guys caused me no end of grief! One was hard and demanding, the other was gracious and reasoning.

I was writing an exegetical paper on Ephesians 1, 2. Had to do my own translation of course. I was working at about 1:00 in the morning when I came to "dead in transgressions." It hit me full in the face. I frantically searched all my lexicons and TDNT and every other reference book I could find to try to discover another meaning for the word "dead." NOTHING!

I realized what being dead in sin meant for my Arminianism. I wasn't spiritually sick. I wasn't dying. I wasn't at the bottom of a pit waiting for a rope to be tossed to me. Whenever I watch Princess Bride and they take the hero to the Billy Crystal character I remember this night; "He's not dead! He's just mostly dead!"

My wife and son were sleeping in the next room. I had to go out on the back porch where I looked up at the stars and wept tears of regret and repentance. I had fought against the God who had chosen me before the foundations of the earth, drawn me with everlasting love, and saved me by grace alone.

It was the Word!

Dave Moorhead

March 26, 2007 11:01 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Gayla,
there were lots of Calvinist books on offer at the church, a Calvinist newspaper, the preaching was unappologetically Calvinist, I was hearing Calvinist stuff from people in the church.

Some Calvinists, though by no means all, favour the King James Bible, holding it to be both more reverant and more accurate. The Westminister Confession implies that God preserved the true text of Scripture, which would support the traditional New Testament text found in Byzantine manuscripts.

By the way, I have recently come to the conclusion that the baptism of infants is quite sound. It reflects the distinct position of Christian children being in the moral sphere of the kingdom of heaven.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

March 27, 2007 3:37 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Great reading!

Wayne

Jonathan

Jasper

Craver

JD

Thirsty David

Gayla

Matthew

Douglas

Dave

Wow! Thank you, so much.

March 27, 2007 7:32 AM

 
Blogger Doulos Christou said...

Interesting question... I cam to the Doctrines of Grace when Shiloh Guy challenged me to stop arguing from my head and look to the Scriptures instead... that pesky Romans 9 and John 6 - the nerve of God putting them in His Bible! :)

Seriously, through the loving direction of one who wasn't afraid to point me to the truth, no matter how much I argued, I came to see the truth. And I am forever grateful.

March 27, 2007 7:26 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Great reading indeed!

March 30, 2007 12:39 AM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

All due respect, but I see an underlying theme here of people being persuaded by Calvinist arguments. You all say that you studied the word for yourselves and I do not doubt that. But you all were convinced through listening to Calvinists. There may be a couple of exceptions:

With Even so's account I do not know enough about what his church may have been preaching and what he may have been picking up from his teachers.

Gojira says he knew nothing of Calvin, but doesn't say if he'd ever heard preachers who "taught" Calvinsim without mentioning the term or the man.

Jazzycat: "As I began to hear sermons and study the Bible, the doctrines of grace became clear and I was amazed that Arminian thinking was the majority opinion."

Sounds like you were persuaded by those Calvinistic sermons along with the bible. So the seed of Calvinism was planted even if the term Calvinism was never used.

Jonahtan Moorhead: "But, I had a very patient roommate that slowly instructed me. I discovered that some of my favorite theologians, including Spurgeon, actually believed this stuff. So, I started reading Sproule and others. It all came down to Romans class when my very roommate taught on Romans 9. After that it was all over - I could not get away from the fact that Scripture contradicted my view. My conscience could no longer bear my Arminianism. It would be about 10 years before I ventured into 5-point land though."

Another persuasion. Presumably the 10 years consisted of reading many books about Calvinism which sealed the deal.

Jasper: "A decade later, some of those teachings weren't quite adding up to Jasper per the Scriptures. Slowly began to investigate and re-evalulate. As an aside to this, Jasper began to have opportunity to listen to a couple of radio broadcasters (along with the several Arminians that he listened to) who taught the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace. These teachings resonated well with Jasper, as they were the same as Jasper was discovering in the Scriptures."

Does Jasper always talk about himself in the third person?

Dawn wonders what teachings were not quite adding up to the scriptures. Nevertheless, Jasper appears to have been persuaded by Calvinists.

Craver vii: "I had casual T.U.L.I.P. conversations with a reformed coworker."

Whoops! There goes that seed planted by Calvinist conversation!

Craver vii: "Careful Bible reading forced me to the conclusion that John Calvin didn’t invent anything, but rather, that Arminianism is extra-biblical."

Was it a careful reading of the bible along with Calvinist material that sealed the deal for you?

Bluecollar: "My journey began with a lost argument in 1978. My Calvinism grew while attending churches wholly hostile to my budding Calvinism - no text books were involved, just the scriptures themselves."

Ah, ah, ah. You said you lost an argument (presumably) with a Calvinist. You obviously were aware of the Calvinist arguments which poisoned the waters, if you will.

Even so: "The beginnings of my appreciation for the Doctrines of Grace started when I was around eight years old and my brother seven, and we were discussing the idea of a person who never heard about Jesus, would they go to hell anyway...

We first agreed that in order for God to actually be God, He would have to control everything, or He wouldn't be God, only the most powerful being...and without ever having actually read (or probably not) Acts 17:26 yet, we both came to the realization that if God were God, then He would know who was to believe in Jesus anyway, having determined where they would live and so forth...those who would believe Jesus, they would hear about Him, and those that don't hear wouldn't believe anyway...

This idea stuck with me...
"

I have to wonder if you grew up in a Calvinistic church.

Not having read much of the bible at the time of your discussion with your brother you had already decided what you believed without having read for yourself. This idea stuck with you so you read the bible with this presupposition which in essence shaped your interpretation of the scriptures.

Thirsty David "Then I left the Bible School and began listening to John MacArthur. I got hooked on his expository preaching before I realized he was a Calvinist. When I caught on, I almost quit listening. I loved The Gospel According to Jesus, but my copy has an embarrassing marginal note of disagreement by the one paragraph in which he affirms eternal security. As I feverishly searched the Scriptures for anti-Calvinist passages, I kept coming across troubling passages that [ahem] could be interpreted Calvinistically.

In short, I was running into Calvinism wherever I went.

I give credit to MacArthur, Sproul, and others for helping me to understand what Calvinism really is so that I could accept it as Biblical, but I was a Calvinist before I understood Calvinism.
"

Here we see another Calvinist persuasion. One does not have to understand Calvinism to be persuaded by Calvinists.

Gayla: "We attended our former church for 10 years. Several years back a couple of my husband's friends introduced him to this pastor, Matt Chandler. Had him listening to his teachings on CD. Also, he listened to a lot of this guy named Dave Busby, now deceased. Also a guy named Dave Johnson (pastor of Church of the Open Door, Maple Grove, MN). Hubby then had me begin listening to some of their teachings, as well.

It was all quite different than what I'd been hearing from the pulpit. I discovered that much of the more 'difficult and very weighty' texts were not being taught at all - simply ignored. And some of what was being taught had no foundation in Scripture. (i.e. 'age of accountability,' making 'decisions' for Christ) We began visiting Matt's church in the spring/summer of 2004, and decided to join. We attended the new member's class that fall, at which time, we went thru the church handbook thing (by-laws, what we believe, and why, etc). During that time I came across texts and passages that I'd never heard teaching on before - mainly having to do with the sovereignty of God. From there, I began do a lot of studying on my own. Etc, Etc
"

Yet another Calvinist persuasion. I have no doubt that you studied for yourself, but from what I'm reading here you were very much persuaded by Calvinists.

Much of what is taught in non-Calvinist churches is wrong. At least in the ones I've attended. So I do understand where you all are coming from when you say that what you were being taught was incorrect doctrine.

Shilohguy: "I loved debating the PCA guys at TEDS."

You knew the Calvinist arguments. You couldn't come up with the biblical definition of dead in sin and came away with the Calvinist definition that had been pounded into your head (i.e., inability) rather than the biblical definition which simply means spiritually dead (a.k.a. a severed relationship with God). And the domino effect took place.

Matthew: "I came to the conclusion that although the Calvinists were very persuasive, their case was not completely watertight and a that a case could be made for the free-will of man and conditional election."

What you say is absolutely true. On the surface, Calvinists do have some very persuasive arguments, but they fall apart once you stay with the correct definitions (i.e., biblical definitions) rather than Calvinistic definitions and read the Calvinist proof-texts in context with the whole counsel of scripture.

Is God sovereign? Absolutely. Is He first and foremost about His glory, His name's sake, His will and His sovereignty? Absolutely. But the Calvinist takes God's sovereignty to a place God never intended.

April 01, 2007 6:46 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Dawn - What can I say? Since you know our journey's better than we do, what's left to be said?

If you wish to come right out and call us liers for saying that the scriptures themselves were what led us to the doctrins of grace, so be it.

Oh, and that little thingy about the TRUE definition of "dead"... Well, Shilo Guy and Jonathan have some letters after their name, you know, like for Biblical languages, and church history, that kind of thing. How about you? No, I suspect you are just one of those lay folk, who, because you are too stuborn to receive the Bible's true teachings, wish to disregard these things. The "true definition of dead" Dr. Dawn?

You are very brash and proud. Throw out your preconceived ideas and start studying your Bible. Read John 6;10;17; Romans 8:28- chapter 11. Read 1 Cor.1:20-31. Read Ephesians chapters 1-2. Read 1 Peter 1:2. I challenge you to read all of the above WITHOUT your noncalvinist commentaries to come to your rescue. Then YOU will have to deal with these verses all by yourself. You won't be able to call out to friends in the blogosphere to come bolster your feeble little noncal positions. Hmmm. No noncal commentaries, no reaching out to friends to come save you from being exposed to the truth. The makings of a Calvinist, we have.

Oh, Dr. Dawn, I've read Dave Hunt's "What Love Is This" cover to cover. If that book impressed you then it shows me that you are a very desparate person, grabbing for just anything to save you from having to acknowledge the truth.

April 01, 2007 10:53 AM

 
Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Dawn,

How clever of you to leave out all Scriptural references in my comment. Not even an ellipsis. You are not only "brash and proud," you are dishonest and manipulative. O yes, and condescending, also. You have read all these testimonies presupposing that the writers are dupes who only think they have drawn objective conclusions. I suppose you know our stories better than we do--or, if not, you can edit them to fit your purpose.

April 01, 2007 4:01 PM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

David - I have noticed that many of those who hate Calvinism often resort to errecting straw men. And, when called on it, refuse to accept the fact that they are wrong. It seems rather pathological, eh?

April 01, 2007 4:55 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Dawn,
About me (Jazzy) you said...
Sounds like you were persuaded by those Calvinistic sermons along with the bible. So the seed of Calvinism was planted even if the term Calvinism was never used.

Uh! Excuse me, but do you ever listen to non-Calvinists sermons? Do you ever read non-Calvinists blogs? Do you ever read comments from Non-Calvinists? Are you going to tell us that you have never been to church, never listen to any sermons and never read anything? IOW you have only received information from the Bible.

Face it Dawn, this statement by you about how I formed my beliefs is nonsense.

Wayne

April 01, 2007 5:45 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Dawn, we've had some civil conversations on Rose's blog, but what you've said here goes beyond the pale. Excuse me, but how dare you! How dare you cast aspersions on people's testimonies!! Who do you think you are?!! More importantly, what were you thinking that gave you the impression that this was a right and proper thing to do?!

Not everyone cited you chapter and verse, some did; and everyone testified to the fact that it was God/His word that changed hearts and minds.

Specifically, I said:

"During that time I came across texts and passages that I'd never heard teaching on before - mainly having to do with the sovereignty of God. From there, I began do a lot of studying on my own. Etc, Etc

Anyway, God, and He alone, changed my core beliefs, opened my eyes and made His truth real in my life - not just in the area of 'theology' & 'doctrine,' but in personal areas, all kinds of things. The reality of His sovereignty as revealed in the Scriptures collided with my preconceived notions and 'made up' theology about God.

There is no doubt he changed my heart from a 'man-centered' theology to 'God-centered' one."


I will defend my testimony no further. And you, Dawn, owe some brothers and sister in the Lord an apology.



Dawn: "But the Calvinist takes God's sovereignty to a place God never intended."

And where might that be, Dawn? Please tell us where God's sovereignty was intended to go.

April 01, 2007 7:23 PM

 
Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Bluecollar, you are right. It also seems impossible for them to admit that anyone could be a Calvinist without being brainwashed.

April 01, 2007 7:32 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Dawn, we will take you seriously if you can demonstrate that you are not condemend by your own criticism. I think you would be better served sticking to the text and staying away from psychoanalysis.

April 01, 2007 7:44 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Oh my. You all are taking this way too seriously. My intention was not to offend, but just to comment on the underlying theme I saw with each and every account given here.

I do apologize for offending you all. I sincerely ask for your forgiveness.

Jonathan: "Dawn, we will take you seriously if you can demonstrate that you are not condemend by your own criticism."

What do you mean by me being condemned?

April 01, 2007 9:41 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Of course I forgive you, Dawn. I certainly don't wish there to be anmosity between us.

But please understand that our walks with God are indeed serious matters, as I'm sure yours is to you. Debating Scripture is one thing, but to attack someone's personal testimony is quite another.

I do hope you'll see that the 'underlying theme' as you call it, is in fact the Word of God. We have dealt with what the texts say - difficult as those texts may have been initially.

April 01, 2007 9:50 PM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Dawn - I extend to you an invitation to participate here whenever you like. I thank you for stopping by. Please do so often. You are welcome here, friend.

I always look forward to making new friends in blogdom.

Please come again.
Mark

April 01, 2007 10:29 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Dawn,
Thanks for your response....
I can't speak for Jonathan. However, in your comment saying that my Calvinism resulted from being persuaded by sermons, I would suggest that you have doctrinal positions and you have heard sermons.

So, it would follow that if I have been persuaded by sermons, then you have also. Hence, your criticism would also apply to you.

Wayne

April 01, 2007 11:10 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks Wayne, Gayla and Mark for accepting my apology.

Wayne: "So, it would follow that if I have been persuaded by sermons, then you have also. Hence, your criticism would also apply to you."

Yes, I have been persuaded by sermons.

April 01, 2007 11:27 PM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Dawn,

First of all, you haven't offended me. You owe me no apology for your comment about my testimony. You are welcome to your opinions and I have learned to listen to such opinions without taking offense. It's not about me anyway. It's all about the glory of God.

If you are genuinely interested in considering the scriptures I would be happy to enter into conversation. I don't know you but I will answer you as a sister in Christ.

Here is what you wrote to me:

"You knew the Calvinist arguments. You couldn't come up with the biblical definition of dead in sin and came away with the Calvinist definition that had been pounded into your head (i.e., inability) rather than the biblical definition which simply means spiritually dead (a.k.a. a severed relationship with God). And the domino effect took place."

When I encountered the phrase "dead in sin" I was turned away from my work for many hours. I searched the Hebrew scriptures and the Greek scriptures in an effort to find some meaning for the word "dead" other than "dead." An honest scholar will tell you that dead means dead and it doesn't mean anything else. It was nothing that was pounded into my head by Calvinists. It was a study of the Bible in the original languages that convinced me I had been wrong before.

Second, may I point you to your own definition of "dead in sins?" You said it "simply means spiritually dead (a.k.a. a severed relationship with God)." I suggest that you have proved my point for me. That is exactly what it means, spiritually dead, not spiritually sick or spiritually wounded or spiritually dying. It means spiritually DEAD! Spiritually dead people cannot do ANYTHING in the spiritual realm to initiate life in themselves. Life must be breathed into them. This is exactly what Paul says God did. "God, who is rich in mercy, MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:5.

The onus falls on the person who wants to show that dead does not mean dead and on the one who tries to make "made us alive with Christ" mean something other than it clearly states.

My testimony is simply this: In mercy, God opened my eyes to the fact that I was twisting and manipulating scripture before I recognized his sovereignty in my salvation. If I was going to be an honest teacher of the Word I would have to stop making it say what I wanted it to say and accept what it says.

Dawn, I have tried to carefully measure my words to avoid anything that approaches argumentation or offense. If I have been rude to you, I beg your forgiveness in advance. If you are interested in hearing more of the story, I am willing to write.

May God grant us all soft hearts, ears to hear, and eyes to see his truth.

Dave Moorhead

April 01, 2007 11:50 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Dave, thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you were not offended. I knew that you all would disagree with me, but really, I had no idea that my words would be taken as brash and proud, condescending, manipulative and dishonest. My tone was probably too flippant, but I meant no disrespect.

I appreciate your willingness to show me the scripture, but it would simply be a waste of time. I say that because I have heard both sides of the argument. I agree that dead means dead, but I don't believe that being spiritually dead renders us incapable of exercising our God-given faith. I agree, too, that God made us alive while we were dead in our trespasses and sins. But I believe the bible teaches that He did that once we exercised our God-given faith. And I agree, too, that "Spiritually dead people cannot do ANYTHING in the spiritual realm to initiate life in themselves." Only God can create life. I think where we differ is in the idea that God chooses to impart faith to certain people. I believe that faith is a gift from God and that gift is given to all people in general. I believe that all people in their state of deadness are able to put their faith somewhere. Those who put their faith in God through Jesus Christ are saved.

I understand that you see my refusal to accept Calvinism as biblical and the true interpretation of the scriptures as stubborness and even sinful. I'm sorry you feel that way, but I understand it.

In the past, I've said this flippantly, but I say it now seriously so please don't take this as brash and proud, condescending, manipulative or dishonest. Could it be that I was predestined to think this way? How can I help myself if God hasn't granted me the mercy and opened my eyes to the fact that I am twisting and manipulating scripture? This is something that I do not understand where Calvinism is concerned. Shouldn't Calvinists see non-Calvinists as a product of Romans 9 in that God has chosen not to show me (and other non-Calvinists) the same mercy He has shown you (and other Calvinists)? Or maybe that is how you see it.

April 02, 2007 1:11 AM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Shiloh Guy,
"Dead" in the physical sense means that someone/something was alive ... and then lost that life.

What corresponds to this initially "alive" state ... in your concept of spiritually "dead"?

Please deal with this question in regards to individuals.

Thanks!

April 02, 2007 3:37 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

I'm not Dave, but here's what I believe to be the case...

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned - for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. ~Rom 5:12-15

This is saying that we are spiritually dead because of Adam's sin. We start off being spiritually dead, not spiritually alive.

Then Rom 5:19 says, 'For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.'

We were 'made sinners' through Adam's sin. And were made such, obviously before we were ever born physically.

Anyone? Are there any other texts?

April 02, 2007 7:53 PM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Rose - I am honored that you are participating here. You always raise good questions and are a deep thinker.

I believe Gayla presented the accurate response to your question. The concept would be called "imputation". In God's eyes, as we consider the text Gayla pointed us to, we all died that day Adam did. God's Holy Spirit now had to strive with man, no longer fellowship. Now the spirit who works in the children of disobedience has free reign. Now mankind had to be reconciled. Now there had to be an atonement. Now there had to be rebirth. Now there had to be alien righteousness imputed to man's account.

Mark

April 03, 2007 7:14 AM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Rose,

As opposed to Mark, I am Dave.

But I can't really improve on what Gayla and Mark said in my stead.

I understand what you are saying about the word "dead" indicating that there was at one time life. At the risk of being repetitive, let me say that all mankind was once spiritually alive in Adam. At the fall, all mankind died spiritually. Thus, we are born spiritually dead based on the fact that Adam represented all of us by the decree of God.

What we need is life and that is what God gives freely and unconditionally. The "ordo saludis" is the thing we most often disagree on. I believe the Bible teaches that God gives us both life and faith, "it is a gift of God." I also believe we exercise our wills by choosing God and Christ. Where we differ is that I am convinced that God gives life and faith and it is our regenerate will that chooses him, not our fallen, corrupt will.

I often illustrate like this:

When do you believe your life began? When you took your first breath? Or when you were conceived? The Holy Spirit's work of regeneration parallels conception. I was as unaware of the Spirit's initial work in my soul as I was unaware of my physical conception. His ongoing work of wooing and drawing me to Christ parallels the nine months of gestation. The first cry I gave at my physical birth parallels my cry out to Christ to save me from the consequences of my sin.

Rose, perhaps more than you asked for but thanks for listening.

Dave

April 03, 2007 11:04 PM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Dawn,

Are you still reading this thread?

You said that it would do no good for me to show you scripture because it would be a waste of time.

My sister, for this I am truly sorry.

I pray that we will NEVER get to the point where sharing scripture with each other would be a waste of time. Where else is our hope to be found? Where else is truth to be found? In Peter's words, "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

I will accede to your wishes and be silent.

However, I will remain,

Your brother in Christ,

Dave Moorhead

April 03, 2007 11:20 PM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Rose,

I just noticed that you specifically asked me to answer in regards to individuals. I don't think I left myself clear on this.

Every individual is born spiritually dead because of the sin of Adam.

Every single one, no matter where they are born, no matter whether they hear the gospel or not, no matter what.

I'm not sure what difference it might make to say that the entire human race fell in Adam or that every individual human fell in Adam because the outcome appears to be the same.

I just wanted to answer your question.

Dave

April 03, 2007 11:25 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Dave: "I pray that we will NEVER get to the point where sharing scripture with each other would be a waste of time. Where else is our hope to be found? Where else is truth to be found? In Peter's words, "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.""

Dave, maybe I misunderstood your offer. What I was saying was that it would be a waste of your time to try to convince me of the scriptures as relates to Calvinism because I already know the proof-texts and we will probably disagree.

And maybe you have misunderstood me. I love the word of God. I agree with everything you have said. It IS our only hope, our only truth and it is true LIFE. I am glad that we can at least agree on this.

Dave: "I will accede to your wishes and be silent."

I don't wish for you to be silent, I just don't think there is anything you can say or scripture that you can quote that will convince me that Calvinism is the correct interpretation of scripture. I'm pretty sure I've been challenged by all or most of the proof-texts, but they have not changed my mind; rather the deeper study has soldified my non-Calvinism.

If Calvinism is true, then God has not granted me the mercy to "see" it even though I've asked for Him to show me the truth.

If you would like to give it a go, then I am willing to listen.

Your sister in Christ,
Dawn

April 04, 2007 2:54 AM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Shiloh Guy,
What I was asking:

In the scriptural reference of "dead" to unsaved individuals,
what is the corresponding
formerly living state of an individual now
spirutually dead
to the
formerly living state of an individual now
physically dead?

April 04, 2007 9:43 AM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Shiloh Guy,
Thanks for your answers and I do understand what you are saying about how it came about that we are all spiritually dead individuals.

April 04, 2007 9:52 AM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Until we are *made alive*

April 04, 2007 9:53 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

"What I was saying was that it would be a waste of your time to try to convince me of the scriptures as relates to Calvinism because I already know the proof-texts and we will probably disagree."

Dawn, in what way do the Scriptures relate to 'Calvinism?'

I don't follow. Unless I overlooked something, I don't see anyone quoting Calvin and asserting that he is truth. I do see people giving proper attention and exegesis to the texts in Scripture.

"If Calvinism is true, then God has not granted me the mercy to "see" it even though I've asked for Him to show me the truth."

Please understand, "Calvinism" (whatever that is) isn't what is true, but the Word of God is. It is truth.

It's a matter of dealing with what the texts say.

Dave, very, very good reply.

April 04, 2007 7:50 PM

 
Blogger The Lighthearted Calvinist said...

Back on the original question - as a blissfully unknowing Arminian for the first 15 years of my pilgrimage, one night my best friedn casually mentioned the passage from Romans 9 where Paul quotes Exodus: "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy...." Now, my friend was also an Arminian at the time as we were attending a Wesleyan church, but he did have a decent grasp of God's sovereignty. I didn't. But his mentioning of that passage hit me upside the head and I couldn't believe the Bible actually SAID that. I broke open my Bible to prove him wrong - "God couldn't actually have said that, could He?" I finally began to actually study the Bible - not just casually read it once in a while - and the more I studied, the more I found out God really is sovereign over everything and everyone and man's free will is not the determining factor as to all events.

Ten years ago my family switched churches to another church that is also Arminian and explicitly so in their Articles of Faith and Practice. As I have studied and learned, I became convinced of the biblical backing for the Doctrines of Grace. In the rural area where I live, Arminian churches were the only ones around. My pastor has had me teaching Sunday School for the last several years. He allows me to use material by Sproul and MacArthur and he knows where I stand in relation the denomination's Articles. I have not been indoctrinated by local sermons or teachings. It has only been by hard Bible study that these truths have been revealed. My friend whose comment started all this is still my best friend. He has come a long way, also. We drive 65 miles each Thursday to lead Bible studies at two Michigan prisons. That driving time has allowed us over the four years to discuss these matters in depth and try to work through those passages that make you go, "Wow..." He still attends the same Wesleyan church but challenges those who attend there with Biblical issues that we have discussed and are learning ourselves. It's been a process for both of us and the Holy Spirit is still revealing truths to us - we're just trying to be obedient as to what the Word says and not try to mold it to any preconceived notions we may have ourselves. Thanks.

April 04, 2007 8:46 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Gayla, I was simply using the term Calvinist, Calvinism, etc. to distinguish between Calvinists and non-Calvinists to make things simple. Mark even used the term Calvinist in his original post.

April 04, 2007 10:51 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Thanks Dawn. I realize some of the others use the term Calvinist/Calvinism more than I do. I don't like to use it, as I am not a Calvinist. (realizing again that the labels are used to make a distinction, but I still don't like them!)

I think many times, those in the 'other camp' project more onto 'Calvinists' than they should. Calvinism is not a religious system in and of itself, but too many times it gets portrayed as such.

I see the people in this thread (and others)dealing with the Scriptures themselves.

April 05, 2007 10:05 AM

 

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