X-Calvinist Corner Files: Testimony # 32

, , Comments Off on X-Calvinist Corner Files: Testimony # 32

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 woman named Deborah:

I was raised in a Calvinist town, and I went to Calvin College. I became a Calvinist (solidified/mentally) through listening to R.C. Sproul and reading John Piper. I found it compelling because it seemed logical. I felt that I had done nothing on my own power to choose Christ, so he must have chosen me first. However, over the years, my assurance began to erode, and it came to a head a couple years ago when we started attending a Calvinist church and the pastor asked me, “When did you become a Christian?” I could not give him an answer that I felt he accepted, and I did not know. I could not pin-point an exact time when I felt I had been “born of God.” I believed in Jesus when I was 5 years old, asking him “into my heart,” and had always believed in Christ thereafter.

I began asking myself, If I don’t know the “when”, then maybe it never happened. I started looking hard into the doctrine of Perseverance, and began examining my life. At times, I felt relieved, because I noticed positive change in my heart and actions over the years. At other times, I felt despair, because I still struggle with sin. I could not determine from my own life/heart/actions if I was a true Christian — truly “persevering.” And I was left with no sold foundation to stand on for my salvation. I asked the Lord, knowing it seemed like insanity, to save me, over and over. I knew that had to be wrong, because Christ said he would never turn away any one who came to Him. But I felt I needed to continue to ask, because I really did not know.

The pastor was no help at all. He told me that I could lose my “assurance” because of sin, but that I could not lose my salvation. This did me no good. Then I began to ask myself if it was even profitable to continue to ask God to save me, when I quite possibly was never determined to be saved to begin with, and who could thwart God’s will? I was also struggling with knowing what gospel to tell my lost neighbors. How could I offer them the Cross if Christ had not died for them to begin with? I could not know if they were “elect” or not. And if they were not elect, it would be a lie to offer them the news that Christ had died for them. So my hands were tied. I had no real gospel to proclaim. After several months of inward turmoil — not knowing if I was saved, and not knowing what gospel to tell the lost, somebody said to me that “all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, and if you’ve done that, you are saved.” Instantly I felt relief and security. I think this was the Holy Spirit somehow comforting me.

I began reading other perspectives on the passages I always felt were supportive of Calvinist doctrine, and I realized that I had been reading the Bible through a Calvinist lens, and I did not know it. I realized the words I read in the Bible were being defined for me by Calvin, and I had no idea. I will conclude by saying that it gives me far more assurance to know that Christ’s cross is for everybody who wants it — that anybody can come and take the free gift of the water of life. I want it. Therefore, I can have it. It is for all who will come. The gospel is just that. It is a real offer. It is a real opportunity. I can tell my neighbors that, because that is Good News!