In this write-up, I don’t wish to go into detail about each point of the doctrines of grace or what is popularly known as Calvinism. What I intend to do is narrate my journey from being an Arminian to becoming a Calvinist. I understand that many would disagree with the use of labels such as ‘Calvinist’ and would choose to be labeled as nothing but Christians and I respect that decision. I’d argue that whether you’d like to use the label of Calvinist or not is a matter of conscience and I personally find my conscience at ease when I identify as one. In addition, I’m not under some delusion that those who disagree with me on this doctrine are not children of God. Nevertheless, I’d encourage my brothers and sisters to carefully study the topic of God’s sovereignty as the scripture presents it. The entirety of God’s counsel if for our benefit, such that the saints of God grow in knowledge, love, and worship of God. So let’s not shy away from learning this doctrine.
Back in 2013, one year into my conversion I heard the term “Calvinism” for the first time. With my limited knowledge of theology and ecclesiology then, I had only two camps of Christianity in my mind. You are either a protestant or you are not. The first year of my conversion had me listening to some serious false doctrine and prosperity teachings. I wasn’t part of a church, nor did I have godly brothers and sisters around me to point out the folly in the prosperity gospel. One fine day, a Christian friend I knew suggested that I try listening to a preacher named Paul Washer and gave me a few Paul Washer sermons. Listening to Washer was like nothing I’d heard before. His speech carried a sense of authority that I’d not sensed in the teachings of any other preacher I had listened to. He didn’t appeal to my dreams or desires or ambitions to get amens, he spoke the truth of God from Scripture and my heart responded to it. It was around this time that I joined a fellowship of believers who were serious about seeking God. Together we came across teachers similar to Paul Washer in their commitment to teaching the bible. I invested a great amount of time listening to and learning from them. Preachers like Matt Chandler, John Piper, and John MacArthur; their expository sermons began helping me with my personal walk and stirred in my heart a great affection and desire for Christ and His kingdom.
The dilemma begins
I can’t quite recollect which sermon it was, but I am positive that the first time I heard about Calvinism was through Matt Chandler. Soon after, I was googling the term and listening to my favorite preachers’ takes on the topic. That’s how I discovered that all these men who I found to be faithfully preaching the gospel and helped me grow in my faith had this one thing in common, they were all Calvinists. But that fact alone didn’t make me a Calvinist overnight. The sin in me wanted my actions, decisions and my will to be autonomous. The philosophies of the world had
taught me an elevated and glorified narrative of free will. “God can be sovereign as long as he doesn’t predestine people! How can a man be responsible if God ordains things to happen!” — I would argue.
While denying the Calvinistic Soteriology, I was committing a grave fallacy. I was assuming that I was the author of Justice. “How can God do something that is clearly unjust?” — I used to think, but, this kind of thinking is fundamentally wrong. It assumes the existence of something called justice apart from God and that God is just because he meets that standard of justice. I dedicated myself to pray over this topic and carefully scrutinize the Bible. During one of the prayers, a thought occurred to me, “God doesn’t simply do what is just, rather he defines justice, he’s the author of justice. Justice is an attribute of God. Anything God does is just”. This revolutionized my mind and thought process, I looked at the scripture with this new light of revelation. And like Steven Lawson once said in a panel discussion, I was breathing Heaven’s Air. I didn’t have to justify God’s actions or desires, I didn’t have to try and fit my narrative of truth and justice into the gospel narrative. With this mindset that the Holy Spirit caused me to have, I looked into the scripture. What I saw and beheld was a sovereign God who ordains the position of every atom in the universe. This kind of a high and exalted view of God helped me see my unworthiness and simultaneously catch a glimpse of God’s infinite Worth. Such a view of God results in the inevitable, True Doxology.