The X-Calvinist Corner is a page on this website that shares the stories of people who were once Calvinist but have left Calvinism for a more Arminian theology. This series (The X-Calvinist Corner Files) highlights one of the testimonies from the X-Calvinist Corner in each installment.
Today’s testimony is from a man named John Gibbons:
I first found out about calvinism 4 years ago. I had been a Christian for about 6 months. I discovered Calvinism by watching videos of John MacArthur and eventually found Paul Washer, I’ll Be Honest ministries, R.C. Sproul(never really got into him really). At first what got me into listening to these teachers was the fact that they really believed the bible and were hard on sin, unlike the other popular movements in Christianity. Thru their teaching I got small doses of Calvinism at a time until I took the plunge so to speak and fell into the world of Calvinism. MacArthur, Piper, and Driscoll were my new mentors. I accepted Tulip after kicking and screaming for awhile. At first I was happy with my new found theology. I felt I had a higher knowledge than many of my friends at the Calvary Chapel I attended, but at the same time I never spoke about it openly due to it’s controversial nature.
To keep a long story short….after awhile I started questioning my salvation daily. This was due to the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints, and a huge emphasis on Lordship Salvation (which I now believe to be works salvation hidden behind a facade of justification by grace thru faith) [editor’s note: SEA affirms Lordship Salvation; one cannot biblically receive Christ as Savior while rejecting him as Lord]. I lived in a small town at the time so the only Calvinistic resources available to me were online videos, sermons, and books. After watching so many videos of Calvinists constantly telling viewers to examine themselves and that if your life doesn’t measure up than you might not be saved you tend to sink into a deep depression and fear that you might not be elect. I was highly depressed. I looked at my works and I could never measure up to what these men were telling me a real Christian looks like. I was getting to the point where I wanted to reject God and walk away. I figured if I am not elect I will never be elect and why waste my time with a God who would damn billions just for his glory.
Well eventually I watched a video by Dave Hunt called what Love is this and it changed my whole perspective, although it took reading his book and reading a testimony of ex calvinist Brenda Nickel (her testimony mirrored my own and touched me spiritually) and a statement against Calvinism by Mark Cahill that I finally rejected Tulip. I was a Calvinist for 2 years and I hated just about every minute of it after the first 4 months. I now believe it is a tool of the devil to cause distraction and division, makes God the author of sin and is not biblical. I have friends who are Calvinists and I believe they are saved, but they are WRONG on this issue. I am happier now and know I am saved by my faith in Christ and not by my works or fruit.