Back in February, 2022, recording artist Flame (Marcus Gray) shared a few short posts on Facebook and Twitter about his journey out of Calvinism. (Here at SEA we have had a few past posts mentioning Flame’s Calvinism: here and here.)
Flame has now embraced Lutheranism; however, his experience mirrors many of the testimonies we have seen at the X-Calvinist corner.
Below are a few of Flame’s comments, but check out his social media for more. Flame also released a 7-song compilation in 2020 about his changing theology titled “Extra Nos,” which you can listen to on YouTube.
Person: Flame, you could have simply left the Reformed Baptist space and became a Presbyterian Calvinist or a _______. Why such an extreme change?
Me: I left Calvinism for scriptural reasons. Years of deep study & vigorous textual considerations. It wasn’t casual, like changing shoes to better fit my outfit.
ENROLLMENT BEGINS NOW
I wrongfully exchanged the reality that Jesus died for the sin of the world. In exchange, I trained my eye to see a crucifixion only for a select few. In doing so, I stripped myself of the assurance God established in the giving of His Son, for me. For us. When frantically asking, am I one of the persons Jesus died for? I should have been able to say, yes, and to draw relief from the truth, that He died for us all and that by faith, anyone can come. Yet, the tango I settled for caused me to dance between, resting in Jesus’ finished work on the cross and doing more FOR God to affirm that I was one of the select few. Oftentimes, statements like, “getting closer to God,” “more of God,” “glorifying God,” “going deeper in Christ,” went from the innocence of what they are intended to mean to shorthands for more law keeping, FOR God. Obviously, the key phrase here is, “for God.” Nevertheless, finally, I am rightly oriented. Now, all my behavior modification/obedience, sacrificial living, and skill sets are directed towards people. To make their lives less burdensome. To enhance their joy. To love on them, for their sake. Yes, growing out of God’s work in me. Yes, informed by God’s rubric of right and wrong. Yes, with His desires in mind. Yes, always frail and falling short. But, not to earn extra credit from Him or prove myself. Besides, can we really do anything, FOR God?
 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
ENROLLMENT BEGINS NOW
Standing on stage in Kingston, Jamaica, I looked at a crowd of hundreds and hundreds of people and wanted to tell them Jesus died for them. But I couldn’t. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and simply spewed off something like, “Jesus loves us and died for all those who would believe.” That was it. I felt horrible. I felt like I lied to them. Yet, my Calvinistic informed conscience restricted my verbiage. I admit, I struggled deeply just to get through that concert. It was as if the Holy Spirit was grieved and was tugging at my heart, that I had been unfaithful to the gospel. Had I? It was a strange and conflicting experience. Why would the Spirit be disappointed? Aren’t I communicating, “sound doctrine?” By this point, I was well into my Reformed Baptist journey and had grown accustomed to speaking and thinking that way. Yet, out of nowhere, somehow, the Spirit’s voice cut through my seemingly impenetrable layers of carefully crafted Calvinistic convictions, and quietly whispered:
1 Timothy 4:9-10
 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
Sometimes, I reimagine myself on that same stage, in that same moment. This time, with my eyes open and a heart full of scriptural theology. That Jesus IS the Savior of the world! He, “is the Savior of all people.” The question becomes, are you going to, by faith, subjectively receive what has already been purchased for you? Or, will you resist what is yours? Salvation. Christ! This time, I would make the same distinction Paul made: “…the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
Paul nor his audience assumed universalism follows from this train of thought. The text states plainly, Christ is the Savior of all but uniquely to those who believe. By faith alone, one receives the benefits of salvation. Selah.
ENROLLMENT BEGINS NOW
Related posts from SEA:
- Correcting Chistian Rapper Flame’s Theology (a critique of Flame’s theology from back in his Calvinist days)