X-Calvinist Corner Files: Testimony # 33

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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 Paul:

My journey from Calvinism came by a circuitous route. I was an non-theological Anglican for many years, eventually falling away from the Church and entering a life of self-imposed exile. I remained apart for nearly eleven years before belief returned, which it did with a new intensity. I studied the bible, books and many audio files, for over a year before returning to any form of corporate worship. My studies, unsophisticated as they were, led me to the only reformed church within range, which happened to be a Reformed Baptist church, where I worshipped for three years, describing myself as Calvinist to anyone who asked.

This highlights the problems associated with self-study, but also leaves unanswered the question of where to get impartial theological help. I suspect the true answer is “Look harder”. There is no doubt that the introduction to systematic theology was a revelation – I just chose the wrong one.

During my stay at the RB church my first and only grandson was born to my son and his wife, fellow worshippers in the same church. As it was a Baptist church it was clear that my grandson would not be baptised. Now, the church new that I was not at heart a baptist, and I was welcomed into membership as ironically, in Baptist churches, baptism is only a secondary issue. For me, the issue became primary upon the arrival of my grandson.

Over the following weeks the issue nagged at me. I started to read about historical views of infant baptism, primarily in the hope that I would convince myself that the Baptist position was correct. In fact, the opposite was true. I knew that I could no longer stay, and made enquiries at my old Anglican church, about my return, and eventually made the move, leaving my son and his family behind.

The Anglican Church, at least in England, is a strange fish. It is both Reformed and Catholic, and I confess that a return to the rich liturgy and minor iconography of the Church of England was a welcome homecoming after the stark, cross-less puritanism of my previous church. I also found that my Calvinistic views were slipping. I undertook to attempt to read the bible without a forensic verse by verse examination, and the overwhelming sweep was of God’s desire that as many of us as is possible should come to him.

This led me in turn to an examination of covenants and election, which in turn led me to a view that election is corporate. The last hurdle to fall was Irresistible grace, and the number of verses in Scripture which warn of falling away clinched it.

Finally, I put everything I had learned together. And that’s why I’m here. As with many others, my overall feeling is one of relief. God had become more than a little despotic under my old worldview and I had been struggling to maintain a Calvinistic stance for some time. My move to Arminianism has brought the God of love into a new focus. He is consistent across Scripture, in that he wants all to come, and through his grace actually allows it. I pray that one day my son and his family will join me, but this isn’t a sad or poignant ending. He lives less than half a mile from me and we see each other a couple of times a week and with God’s help I’ll get him in the end!