re·form: (r-fôrm) v. re·formed, re·form·ing, re·forms v. tr. 1. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. 2. To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.
ma·ma or mam·ma also mom·ma: n. (also m-mä) Informal. Mother.

5.24.2006

How I came to be a Calvinist

I'm gonna use the laymen's terms just because it will make it quicker to post.

Calvinists believe that God elects some to Heaven and some to Hell. His grace is irresistible and Christ's death was/is only valid for those who are saved. Once one is saved, they are always saved.

Arminians believe that those who are saved are saved because God foreknew who would choose salvation. Some Armenians believe one can lose his or her salvation.

I grew up Baptist. I remember when I was 11 years old asking my pastor why God created Satan if He knew Satan would turn against Him. My pastor replied that God wanted us to have free will. That was the end of that discussion.

Fast forward several years. I had been out of church for a long time, then God called me back. A few years later I landed in seminary -- Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

My limited experiences up to that point had not provided me with any knowledge of the whole Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate. Really, the only thing I had ever heard was that Calvinists did not believe in missions work or evangelism. Surely that wasn't biblical.

So, I went right on about my merry way, not giving the whole argument a whole lot of thought; at least not until Dr. Hammett's Systematic Theology course. Great class by the way.

During that class I wrestled with the notion that God elected some to Heaven and others to Hell. Or, to borrow Dr. Hammett's illustration, that humans were all running from God and He, in his infinite grace, scooped some up and left others running away.

I started leaning towards calvinism; I wasn't sold though.

I was reading Exodus one night and stumbled upon a verse that said GOD hardened Pharoah's heart. While I had read verses referring to the elect of God, I did not recall reading about God ever hardening someone's heart so that they would NOT turn towards Him.

That verse, along with studying and attending a church that had the most solid teaching I had ever sat under (outside of my time at SEBTS) "won" me over.

That said, I do not understand how free will and election work together. I do not understand the why's behind election. I certainly do not think that calvinism or arminianism should cause strife or division among Christians; ESPECIALLY since the bottom line is that both notions could be wrong. We are relying on human logic to determine the Will of God when we hatefully insist that calvinists are right and arminians are wrong.

Personally, I think it's just stupid to think that falliable humans can possibly understand more than is written in Scripture about salvation.

2 Comments:

Blogger Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

I grew up Quaker...which really messed with my mind. Quakers are good people really, but that is my problem with it. They're so into being GOOD, peace-loving people that the gospel hardly ever gets preached. I went 25 years in a church and never heard one formal presentation of the gospel nor I saw an alter call. I didn't see one person profess to be "saved."

Then, I turned Baptist. Chad is baptist from birth, and he could never get into the Quaker thing.

As you said in the post above, some of the strife in the SBC grieves me deeply. I sometimes wonder if I wouldn't do better in a non-denominational setup, because denomination means very little to me.

My gripe with the SBC is that I would like them to be more FAMILY oriented in the sense that families are encouraged to worship together, rather than seperate.

7:59 PM

 
Blogger Reformed Mama said...

Lindsey -- that last paragraph is my big issue too right now -- especially since Eddie si so young.

Let me say this though, while I was attending an SBC seminary, Several of my professors there had their children with them during worship services. In fact, one of the profs there has written a book called the Myth of Adolescence.

His name Is David Allen Black. I will try to find the links I have to his blog where he talks about why parents should keep their children with them during worship.

I really don't think the idea that children should have their own thing is as much of an SBC thing as it is a sign of the times. People still think children should be seen and not heard. People don't want to deal with minor distractions.

My personal thought is that during Bible times they didn't have children's church and they did just fine. In fact, who was it who said, "Let the little children come to me?" (my paraphrase). Oh yeah, that's right it was Jesus.

Anyways... that's a rant I'll have until they at least get speakers somewhere else at our church so I can at least still hear the sermon when I do have to take Eddie out. He will NOT be going to nursery for service. Not because I don't trust anyone, but because that is our conviction.

10:08 PM

 

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