Calvinists...time to reflect...from one to another.

Woody50

Well-known member
Hey brothers and sisters. The vitriol that has been cast toward me as a Calvinist? I'm used to it. In fact, I was worse toward said "Calvinists" when I was against them.

It's easy to cast aspersions, spew venom...you know...be unChristlike. (WARNING: I'm not the standard for being Christlike...CHRIST is.)

When I first grasped the fact that God's sovereignty meant that I had NOTHING to do with anything good--including my own salvation... I cried...wept, in fact. It. Was. Hard. Just like reading the Bible and actually READING it...when you realize it's not what I think, but what God says.

I still struggle with that. It's called SIN.

I just realized that whenever I need credit for ANYTHING, it's sin.

So...my bloviating aside, my "Calvinist" (Biblical) brothers and sisters, what was your "a-ha" moment when you realized that God was right?
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
I used to be introverted to the point it was handicapping. One day it dawned on me that since Good had judged me to be Acceptable by Grace through Faith in Christ, everyone else was just a Critic; not a judge. After that I was a new person; like I was born again, or something...
 

Woody50

Well-known member
I used to be introverted to the point it was handicapping. One day it dawned on me that since Good had judged me to be Acceptable by Grace through Faith in Christ, everyone else was just a Critic; not a judge. After that I was a new person; like I was born again, or something...
LOL..."or something."

Love it.
 

His clay

Active member
Hey brothers and sisters. The vitriol that has been cast toward me as a Calvinist? I'm used to it. In fact, I was worse toward said "Calvinists" when I was against them.

It's easy to cast aspersions, spew venom...you know...be unChristlike. (WARNING: I'm not the standard for being Christlike...CHRIST is.)

When I first grasped the fact that God's sovereignty meant that I had NOTHING to do with anything good--including my own salvation... I cried...wept, in fact. It. Was. Hard. Just like reading the Bible and actually READING it...when you realize it's not what I think, but what God says.

I still struggle with that. It's called SIN.

I just realized that whenever I need credit for ANYTHING, it's sin.

So...my bloviating aside, my "Calvinist" (Biblical) brothers and sisters, what was your "a-ha" moment when you realized that God was right?
I appreciate the candor. In my case, I argued against Calvinism on the basis of God's love (Jn 3:16) and for man's free will. However, after I was radically shot down hard, I began to reevaluate my theology as a whole. It was nothing less that a total revision. I remember looking at my Bible (as debates were swirling in my head almost constantly) and thinking, "whatever that means." And I was dead serious. I was at a loss for understanding the Bible anymore. I spent probably two years in a state of uncertainty.

Finally, I decided (yes, a Calvinist can decide, lol) that enough was enough. It was time to get serious and really study. I debated both sides online in chat rooms and forums. I read at nearly every opportunity. I kept a notebook with me at all times, so that I could write down my thoughts. After around 3 years of this, I was firmly on the Calvinist side of the picture. However, I still had reservations, and I still have reservations about limited atonement. I firmly believe in a substitutionary atonement. If fully understand the double jeopardy argument, and I feel the force of it. I also have read Calvinists dealing with universality in terms of all types, rather than all without exception. I still struggle.

After those three years, I began further and more intensive study. I wrote multiple papers dealing with human willing. One paper was over Augustine and Pelagius. One paper was over Luther and Erasmus. One paper was over Johnathan Edwards' book "Freedom of the Will". Another paper was over a contemporary understanding of the will. I wrote an informal paper because my dad would voice an objection, "but they never had a choice!" The subject of the human will and choice has been either front-and-center or on the peripheral for over 15 years now. I think that Jonathan Edwards was the most brutal onslaught the idea of libertarian freedom ever received. The Yale edition of JE's book called Edwards' work a superdreadnaught against the Arminian view of the will. I'm inclined to agree. In particular, I strongly believe that he proved his point. Libertarian freedom is simply not even thinkable. You are completely forced to jettison logic and scripture to hold to such a figment of the imagination.

One of my teachers wrote his doctoral dissertation over Genesis 1-11, and he focused upon the use of literary devices in the communication of authorial intent. He made us do a wayyiktol analysis of all 11 chapters, and then we worked verse by verse through the Hebrew through the chapters. The point here comes from the exegesis of chapters 1-3 as they lead to the conclusion that autonomous fallen thought is abnormal and the foundation for the idea of libertarian freedom. The greatest sadness is that people take a fallen assumption and back-read it into the formation of the man and woman in the image of God, and thusly they fabricate a false human identity and then attach a fake metanarrative to give it historical credibility. They normalize sin itself in the creation of the false idol of libertarian freedom and then attack every major Bible doctrine on the basis of this fiction. It is truly tragic.

My "a-ha" moment (if it there ever was one) was during the study of Greek word used for "draw". I simply couldn't come to the conclusion that the word could ever be used as "woo." I had the advantage of knowing Greek and the ability to use BDAG, and after context considerations, even when used metaphorically, it still could not be understood as wooing. Further, I could not accept the idea of the will that forces the word to mean "woo," so it was a light bulb moment for me.

Practically, in my teen years, I faced a coming to terms moment with Christianity. I knew my Bible; I memorized it (whole books and many chapters). I was preached to very often, and I was attentive. I knew what was required of me. However, I encountered an obstacle that countered my ability to perform what was required of me. I encountered the problem of fear. It was paralyzing. I remember thinking that a just man falls seven times and rises up again, and I confessed my sin and determined to tackle the issue anew. Again, I would fail; it was a no-contest situation. I wasn't even close to getting past. Without fail, I failed over and over and over and over and over and over . . . . .

Looking back, God was simply driving me to my knees. I was very prideful (the struggle is still there), and God was showing me that apart from Him, I could do nothing. I was such a success at academics that this blow of repeated, unrelenting, untreatable, constant failure blew my mind. I struggled with depression, fiercely. I would lay on my bed for hours just looking at the ceiling, trying desperately to not think. My brain is wired to seek to figure out puzzles, but this was an unsolvable puzzle, and it was destroying me. I eventually decided that Christianity was too hard, and I said "no more" to God. I was done with Christianity. However, after two to three days of this, God broke in and simply said "no." It was then that I knew that it was not an option for me to leave God, my Christian upbringing, and my faith in Christ. I can't say that light was immediately seen over the issue of fear; that came over time. God had to reshape a ton of my thinking. I'm thankful for that episode. I needed to be show that apart from Him, I could do nothing.

I hope that this may provide some help in understanding where I've been; it is a very incomplete picture. The timeline is skewed a bit due to my rambling, but with God as my witness it is the honest truth over where I've been. I hope that it may be helpful to others. God bless.
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
I appreciate the candor. In my case, I argued against Calvinism on the basis of God's love (Jn 3:16) and for man's free will. However, after I was radically shot down hard, I began to reevaluate my theology as a whole. It was nothing less that a total revision. I remember looking at my Bible (as debates were swirling in my head almost constantly) and thinking, "whatever that means." And I was dead serious. I was at a loss for understanding the Bible anymore. I spent probably two years in a state of uncertainty.

Finally, I decided (yes, a Calvinist can decide, lol) that enough was enough. It was time to get serious and really study. I debated both sides online in chat rooms and forums. I read at nearly every opportunity. I kept a notebook with me at all times, so that I could write down my thoughts. After around 3 years of this, I was firmly on the Calvinist side of the picture. However, I still had reservations, and I still have reservations about limited atonement. I firmly believe in a substitutionary atonement. If fully understand the double jeopardy argument, and I feel the force of it. I also have read Calvinists dealing with universality in terms of all types, rather than all without exception. I still struggle.

After those three years, I began further and more intensive study. I wrote multiple papers dealing with human willing. One paper was over Augustine and Pelagius. One paper was over Luther and Erasmus. One paper was over Johnathan Edwards' book "Freedom of the Will". Another paper was over a contemporary understanding of the will. I wrote an informal paper because my dad would voice an objection, "but they never had a choice!" The subject of the human will and choice has been either front-and-center or on the peripheral for over 15 years now. I think that Jonathan Edwards was the most brutal onslaught the idea of libertarian freedom ever received. The Yale edition of JE's book called Edwards' work a superdreadnaught against the Arminian view of the will. I'm inclined to agree. In particular, I strongly believe that he proved his point. Libertarian freedom is simply not even thinkable. You are completely forced to jettison logic and scripture to hold to such a figment of the imagination.

One of my teachers wrote his doctoral dissertation over Genesis 1-11, and he focused upon the use of literary devices in the communication of authorial intent. He made us do a wayyiktol analysis of all 11 chapters, and then we worked verse by verse through the Hebrew through the chapters. The point here comes from the exegesis of chapters 1-3 as they lead to the conclusion that autonomous fallen thought is abnormal and the foundation for the idea of libertarian freedom. The greatest sadness is that people take a fallen assumption and back-read it into the formation of the man and woman in the image of God, and thusly they fabricate a false human identity and then attach a fake metanarrative to give it historical credibility. They normalize sin itself in the creation of the false idol of libertarian freedom and then attack every major Bible doctrine on the basis of this fiction. It is truly tragic.

My "a-ha" moment (if it there ever was one) was during the study of Greek word used for "draw". I simply couldn't come to the conclusion that the word could ever be used as "woo." I had the advantage of knowing Greek and the ability to use BDAG, and after context considerations, even when used metaphorically, it still could not be understood as wooing. Further, I could not accept the idea of the will that forces the word to mean "woo," so it was a light bulb moment for me.

Practically, in my teen years, I faced a coming to terms moment with Christianity. I knew my Bible; I memorized it (whole books and many chapters). I was preached to very often, and I was attentive. I knew what was required of me. However, I encountered an obstacle that countered my ability to perform what was required of me. I encountered the problem of fear. It was paralyzing. I remember thinking that a just man falls seven times and rises up again, and I confessed my sin and determined to tackle the issue anew. Again, I would fail; it was a no-contest situation. I wasn't even close to getting past. Without fail, I failed over and over and over and over and over and over . . . . .

Looking back, God was simply driving me to my knees. I was very prideful (the struggle is still there), and God was showing me that apart from Him, I could do nothing. I was such a success at academics that this blow of repeated, unrelenting, untreatable, constant failure blew my mind. I struggled with depression, fiercely. I would lay on my bed for hours just looking at the ceiling, trying desperately to not think. My brain is wired to seek to figure out puzzles, but this was an unsolvable puzzle, and it was destroying me. I eventually decided that Christianity was too hard, and I said "no more" to God. I was done with Christianity. However, after two to three days of this, God broke in and simply said "no." It was then that I knew that it was not an option for me to leave God, my Christian upbringing, and my faith in Christ. I can't say that light was immediately seen over the issue of fear; that came over time. God had to reshape a ton of my thinking. I'm thankful for that episode. I needed to be show that apart from Him, I could do nothing.

I hope that this may provide some help in understanding where I've been; it is a very incomplete picture. The timeline is skewed a bit due to my rambling, but with God as my witness it is the honest truth over where I've been. I hope that it may be helpful to others. God bless.
You're one of my favorite Posters, we sure do need you here...
 

Woody50

Well-known member
I appreciate the candor. In my case, I argued against Calvinism on the basis of God's love (Jn 3:16) and for man's free will. However, after I was radically shot down hard, I began to reevaluate my theology as a whole. It was nothing less that a total revision. I remember looking at my Bible (as debates were swirling in my head almost constantly) and thinking, "whatever that means." And I was dead serious. I was at a loss for understanding the Bible anymore. I spent probably two years in a state of uncertainty.

Finally, I decided (yes, a Calvinist can decide, lol) that enough was enough. It was time to get serious and really study. I debated both sides online in chat rooms and forums. I read at nearly every opportunity. I kept a notebook with me at all times, so that I could write down my thoughts. After around 3 years of this, I was firmly on the Calvinist side of the picture. However, I still had reservations, and I still have reservations about limited atonement. I firmly believe in a substitutionary atonement. If fully understand the double jeopardy argument, and I feel the force of it. I also have read Calvinists dealing with universality in terms of all types, rather than all without exception. I still struggle.

After those three years, I began further and more intensive study. I wrote multiple papers dealing with human willing. One paper was over Augustine and Pelagius. One paper was over Luther and Erasmus. One paper was over Johnathan Edwards' book "Freedom of the Will". Another paper was over a contemporary understanding of the will. I wrote an informal paper because my dad would voice an objection, "but they never had a choice!" The subject of the human will and choice has been either front-and-center or on the peripheral for over 15 years now. I think that Jonathan Edwards was the most brutal onslaught the idea of libertarian freedom ever received. The Yale edition of JE's book called Edwards' work a superdreadnaught against the Arminian view of the will. I'm inclined to agree. In particular, I strongly believe that he proved his point. Libertarian freedom is simply not even thinkable. You are completely forced to jettison logic and scripture to hold to such a figment of the imagination.

One of my teachers wrote his doctoral dissertation over Genesis 1-11, and he focused upon the use of literary devices in the communication of authorial intent. He made us do a wayyiktol analysis of all 11 chapters, and then we worked verse by verse through the Hebrew through the chapters. The point here comes from the exegesis of chapters 1-3 as they lead to the conclusion that autonomous fallen thought is abnormal and the foundation for the idea of libertarian freedom. The greatest sadness is that people take a fallen assumption and back-read it into the formation of the man and woman in the image of God, and thusly they fabricate a false human identity and then attach a fake metanarrative to give it historical credibility. They normalize sin itself in the creation of the false idol of libertarian freedom and then attack every major Bible doctrine on the basis of this fiction. It is truly tragic.

My "a-ha" moment (if it there ever was one) was during the study of Greek word used for "draw". I simply couldn't come to the conclusion that the word could ever be used as "woo." I had the advantage of knowing Greek and the ability to use BDAG, and after context considerations, even when used metaphorically, it still could not be understood as wooing. Further, I could not accept the idea of the will that forces the word to mean "woo," so it was a light bulb moment for me.

Practically, in my teen years, I faced a coming to terms moment with Christianity. I knew my Bible; I memorized it (whole books and many chapters). I was preached to very often, and I was attentive. I knew what was required of me. However, I encountered an obstacle that countered my ability to perform what was required of me. I encountered the problem of fear. It was paralyzing. I remember thinking that a just man falls seven times and rises up again, and I confessed my sin and determined to tackle the issue anew. Again, I would fail; it was a no-contest situation. I wasn't even close to getting past. Without fail, I failed over and over and over and over and over and over . . . . .

Looking back, God was simply driving me to my knees. I was very prideful (the struggle is still there), and God was showing me that apart from Him, I could do nothing. I was such a success at academics that this blow of repeated, unrelenting, untreatable, constant failure blew my mind. I struggled with depression, fiercely. I would lay on my bed for hours just looking at the ceiling, trying desperately to not think. My brain is wired to seek to figure out puzzles, but this was an unsolvable puzzle, and it was destroying me. I eventually decided that Christianity was too hard, and I said "no more" to God. I was done with Christianity. However, after two to three days of this, God broke in and simply said "no." It was then that I knew that it was not an option for me to leave God, my Christian upbringing, and my faith in Christ. I can't say that light was immediately seen over the issue of fear; that came over time. God had to reshape a ton of my thinking. I'm thankful for that episode. I needed to be show that apart from Him, I could do nothing.

I hope that this may provide some help in understanding where I've been; it is a very incomplete picture. The timeline is skewed a bit due to my rambling, but with God as my witness it is the honest truth over where I've been. I hope that it may be helpful to others. God bless.
A better, more honest reply I could not have hoped for.

Thank you so much, His clay.

Can I come to you when I need to understand Greek better?
 

tdidymas

Active member
Hey brothers and sisters. The vitriol that has been cast toward me as a Calvinist? I'm used to it. In fact, I was worse toward said "Calvinists" when I was against them.

It's easy to cast aspersions, spew venom...you know...be unChristlike. (WARNING: I'm not the standard for being Christlike...CHRIST is.)

When I first grasped the fact that God's sovereignty meant that I had NOTHING to do with anything good--including my own salvation... I cried...wept, in fact. It. Was. Hard. Just like reading the Bible and actually READING it...when you realize it's not what I think, but what God says.

I still struggle with that. It's called SIN.

I just realized that whenever I need credit for ANYTHING, it's sin.

So...my bloviating aside, my "Calvinist" (Biblical) brothers and sisters, what was your "a-ha" moment when you realized that God was right?
When I was about 3 months old in the faith, I went to a Bible study about the grace of God, taught by a Calvinist (for about 3 months). At the time I did not believe anything he said, so I made meticulous notes, because I wanted to find out from the scripture how he might be misusing it. But after many hours of careful study of the contexts, I came to the conclusion that his teaching was in accordance with the scripture. That began my journey in Biblical knowledge and a radical change of thinking.

For 20 years I met hostility against Calvinist ideas, because of who I was fellowshipping with - various churches and groups who judged Calvinist teaching as heresy. And so I was considered a heretic, except by a few. I struggled with issues like the atonement, eternal security, free will, depravity, and other doctrines, because it seemed like almost no one in my circles believed or understood those issues. But after finally leaving those fellowships and joining with the Calvinist fellowships, my struggles with hostility seemed to cease. I began to hear things and read things which articulated the very things I saw the Bible teaching, but thought almost no one believed. One book I read that confirmed my thoughts was "The Bondage of the Will" by Martin Luther.

Another thing I struggled with was the embracement of the doctrines. For many years I saw the Bible teaching these things, such as the preservation of the saints, but had lots of trouble really embracing it in my heart. I was a doubter, even though I saw it to be true from the scripture. But finally I was able to embrace it, and my heart in a sense became one with my mind on the issues. What helped a lot was that I had several powerful and life-changing encounters with God.

At one point I seemed to get arrogant about my knowledge, and began to judge Arminians, wondering if they were even saved. Then God asked me, "Did I save you when you were deceived?" Then my judgment dissipated, because I realized that it is not understanding of doctrine that saves people, but rather faith of the heart in Christ, that is, an embracement of Christ as Lord. I could not see how I could be saved without a proper understanding of grace, and yet God did it anyway. The understanding came later. It was about 25 years after my first submission to Christ that my struggle to understand and embrace the gospel ceased. After reading Hebrews for about the 15th time, the gospel seemed to come together for me like a jigsaw puzzle completely solved. It was a wonderful experience.

I could say much more, but I'll stop here.
 

Tercon

Well-known member
I used to be introverted to the point it was handicapping. One day it dawned on me that since Good had judged me to be Acceptable by Grace through Faith in Christ, everyone else was just a Critic; not a judge. After that I was a new person; like I was born again, or something...

It didn't just dawn on you, you actually started believing in whom and what we are in Christ. That's a bonafidable belief right there if you ever seen one.
 

Daniel.

Member
I just realized that whenever I need credit for ANYTHING, it's sin.
This is a real issue. I'm working on this, myself, and, based on prayer alone ("spirit of grace and supplication"), I believe I'm arriving at a thoroughly Biblical solution (it's not Calvinism--although Calvinism is praiseworthy along these lines (ie, being careful about God alone deserving glory)). It really is a serious issue. Thanks for this.
 

tdidymas

Active member
I just realized that whenever I need credit for ANYTHING, it's sin.
and:
This is a real issue. I'm working on this, myself, and, based on prayer alone ("spirit of grace and supplication"), I believe I'm arriving at a thoroughly Biblical solution (it's not Calvinism--although Calvinism is praiseworthy along these lines (ie, being careful about God alone deserving glory)). It really is a serious issue. Thanks for this.
It's merely a temptation if it remains in the realm of feelings, not behavior. If you realize that the need is fleshly and overcome it, then you haven't sinned. It's only if you go after fulfilling the desire that it becomes sinful. The sin can be as minor as a facial expression, or as major as slander toward someone else, or something in between like pouting.

I'm just making a distinction between sin and temptation. I also have problems with this as well as many other issues, and tend to stew in false guilt for awhile until I recognize that I will be judged on actions, not on temptations.

What I do in response with this temptation is to realize the need is fleshly, and start thinking about something else, or leave it to God for the affirmation I need. If I stew in the want of credit, it only becomes worse like an addiction. I don't remember ever getting credit for anything when I was young, but instead I got yelled at for mistakes, and that compounded my need for affirmation. I continue to have to forgive people for their lack of love and consideration, because Jesus commanded us to love others, not to make sure we are loved.
 

Woody50

Well-known member
When I was about 3 months old in the faith, I went to a Bible study about the grace of God, taught by a Calvinist (for about 3 months). At the time I did not believe anything he said, so I made meticulous notes, because I wanted to find out from the scripture how he might be misusing it. But after many hours of careful study of the contexts, I came to the conclusion that his teaching was in accordance with the scripture. That began my journey in Biblical knowledge and a radical change of thinking.

For 20 years I met hostility against Calvinist ideas, because of who I was fellowshipping with - various churches and groups who judged Calvinist teaching as heresy. And so I was considered a heretic, except by a few. I struggled with issues like the atonement, eternal security, free will, depravity, and other doctrines, because it seemed like almost no one in my circles believed or understood those issues. But after finally leaving those fellowships and joining with the Calvinist fellowships, my struggles with hostility seemed to cease. I began to hear things and read things which articulated the very things I saw the Bible teaching, but thought almost no one believed. One book I read that confirmed my thoughts was "The Bondage of the Will" by Martin Luther.

Another thing I struggled with was the embracement of the doctrines. For many years I saw the Bible teaching these things, such as the preservation of the saints, but had lots of trouble really embracing it in my heart. I was a doubter, even though I saw it to be true from the scripture. But finally I was able to embrace it, and my heart in a sense became one with my mind on the issues. What helped a lot was that I had several powerful and life-changing encounters with God.

At one point I seemed to get arrogant about my knowledge, and began to judge Arminians, wondering if they were even saved. Then God asked me, "Did I save you when you were deceived?" Then my judgment dissipated, because I realized that it is not understanding of doctrine that saves people, but rather faith of the heart in Christ, that is, an embracement of Christ as Lord. I could not see how I could be saved without a proper understanding of grace, and yet God did it anyway. The understanding came later. It was about 25 years after my first submission to Christ that my struggle to understand and embrace the gospel ceased. After reading Hebrews for about the 15th time, the gospel seemed to come together for me like a jigsaw puzzle completely solved. It was a wonderful experience.

I could say much more, but I'll stop here.
One more thing on this. I was told by a dear friend when I realized the depth of God's sovereignty (a.k.a. Calvinism) that I needed to lock myself into a closet for two years. Yep. That's what it's like. Love your point, tdidymas.
 

His clay

Active member
A better, more honest reply I could not have hoped for.

Thank you so much, His clay.

Can I come to you when I need to understand Greek better?
You're welcome.

Regarding Greek, I'll do what I can if you ask a question. However, I'm only on here periodically. So I can't really make any promises.

Also, I make it a personal point to not get caught up in back and forth exchanges anymore with posters that have decided to only misunderstand and misrepresent. A week or two ago I just simply stopped dialogue over the topic of Ephesians 1 because the poster repeatedly failed to employ even the most basic level of reading comprehension. I'm not saying that you are this kind of poster. I'm just saying that I've grown a bit more careful about how I spend my time on internet forums. I'll work with people who are civil and demonstrate some thought, but I have no time for people who jettison morality and honesty in their mission to prove their view right. In many ways, I wish that forums could graduate to a more personal level without the hurdle of personal security. It would be so much better to talk to people face to face.
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
This is a real issue. I'm working on this, myself, and, based on prayer alone ("spirit of grace and supplication"), I believe I'm arriving at a thoroughly Biblical solution (it's not Calvinism--although Calvinism is praiseworthy along these lines (ie, being careful about God alone deserving glory)). It really is a serious issue. Thanks for this.

I just want to take the time to thank the one Arminian that posted in this thread for staying on topic and respecting the wishes of the original poster.

That was a godly, moral and Christian thing to do.

And thank you all the Arminians who didn't post their little grievances and insults in this thread, and for displaying the fruit of the Spirit.

That was a godly, moral and Christian thing to do.

The reason I'm bringing up this thread is it is very relevant to some things currently happening and a good example.
 

civic

Well-known member
I just want to take the time to thank the one Arminian that posted in this thread for staying on topic and respecting the wishes of the original poster.

That was a godly, moral and Christian thing to do.

And thank you all the Arminians who didn't post their little grievances and insults in this thread, and for displaying the fruit of the Spirit.

That was a godly, moral and Christian thing to do.

The reason I'm bringing up this thread is it is very relevant to some things currently happening and a good example.
And where is your fruit ?
 
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