How I Came to Embrace the Doctrines of Grace

It might be better to speak of it this way: the doctrines of grace reached out from the pages of Scripture and grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Nor did I want them to. The light of God’s sovereign graceLight Breaking Thru came bursting in upon my heart, transforming me, almost in the same manner He converted me to Him through Christ.

 

The process began back in the summer of 1991. A dear friend of mine ( a fellow pastor) gave me a copy of The Supremacy of God book coverin Preaching by John Piper. It was in the reading of this book that I began to have questions; questions regarding this “sovereignty thing” and Jonathan Edwards, etc. For the rest of that summer, I could be found buried in a stack of books by Edwards, Warfield, Spurgeon, Boettner, and so many others. It seemed that I couldn’t get enough. This “new” discovery of the doctrines of grace filled my heart and mind with such glorious thoughts of God and His free grace. I began to see how long I had been held in an arminian bondage.

 

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
fastbound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray.
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light,
My chains fell off, my heart was free.
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

 

I was very much like a new conversion. I trust that, during the ensuing years, I’ve been maturing in my understanding of God’s sovereign grace and the glorious doctrines that flow from that. In the weeks to come, I’ll be posting various thoughts on where that has come from, where it is now and some measure of a “defense” of those biblical doctrines. I’ll make no claims that this will be an apologetic for Calvinism or reformed thinking. Simply put, it will be a bit of thinking out loud as to how God brought me to this point and why I think He has done so. I look forward to any comments and input from those who may read these thoughts.

 

In the meantime, one of the things that drives me closer to the sovereign freedom of God’s grace and not man’s “free will” and decisionism is when I see things like this:bad lyrics

 

If you can’t quite make out the words to this little chorus, they are as follows:

 

I’m gonna live forever
I’m gonna wear a crown
I’m gonna be with Jesus
I am upward bound

 

My heart belongs to Jesus
And I changed to live for him
In light of all He’s done for me
I know I’d do it again.

 

Well, isn’t that special! It’s statements like this (“And I changed to live for him) that show my how little many, even within the church, think of Christ as God’s Sovereign Son. I did it. I changed. I made the decision. And I’d do it again because, at the very least, I owe Him that. Gag!!!

 

I’ve also been “challenged” by a fellow EFCA pastor (not a direct challenge, but in the course of our conversations this has come up) to try to explain how Calvinists can hold to the absolute sovereign carson's bookelection of God and claim that He is also a loving God. D.A. Carson’s short book, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God will be a huge help to me here. I highly commend it to any who have this same question.

 

This could really be “settled” quite quickly: I’m a calvinist because I was predestined to be one!

 

By His Grace For His Glory,

 

 

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3 Responses

  1. I came from a very Calvinistic background…but sometimes with a skewed perception. We were taught always that God had chosen His elect from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), but many acted as if this put them above their fellow man. We were the “ELECT” as if we somehow deserved this honor, this bestowing of grace and mercy that is beyond comprehension.

    Many will say election is not fair. To that I heartily agree. If God were to be fair, He’d annihiliate us all without mercy or grace and take back the creation we’ve damaged.

  2. It’s sad, really. I too have known many proud Calvinists. It’s like they know they’re chosen and “you’re not.” At the same time, I know many humble Calvinists and I think these are the real and true Calvinists.

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