X-Calvinist Corner Files: Testimony # 30

, posted by SEA

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 Nathan:

I grew up in a church with Calvinist leanings, though I wasn’t fully aware of the debate until I was in high school. I began taking hold of certain Calvinistic teachings (without realizing their roots) during my years at a prominent fundamentalist Bible college (probably just to rustle some feathers). Upon graduating from said university, I promptly gave up on Christianity.

God slowly brought me back, and I began attending one of those “hip, rock-concert” churches that have become ubiquitous down south, but here in the New York metro area, not as much. It was there that I began discovering different viewpoints, but over time found myself gravitating towards the “gospel-centrality” found in the Calvinist circles.

I’m now on staff at a church that chooses to remain relatively silent on the debate (though it’s not lost on the Arminians in the membership that there’s a fairly strong Calvinistic influence stemming from our association with several Acts 29 Network churches). During my first couple of years on staff, I would have probably planted myself firmly in the Calvinist camp (citing guys like Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll as heavy influences on my theology). However, as I began searching the Scriptures more deeply, I became less and less convinced that my views were correct.

I began talking with one of my co-workers and discovered that he is a pretty open-handed Wesleyan. As we learned, read, and studied together, I found myself becoming more convinced of the Arminian perspective, particularly in its soteriology.

As I read authors like Geisler and Olson, I found that my earlier positions were untenable. If I were to follow my beliefs to their logical conclusion, I should have no business being “on mission” for Christ. I should also come to the conclusion that God is the Author of sin and evil. But in order to avoid those stances, I was doing interpretive gymnastics with Scripture.

While I generally avoid labels now (especially in my official capacity as part of the pastoral leadership at my church), I have come to the conclusion that I am truly no longer a Calvinist.