Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Turned You On?

I've often been asked what "turned me on" to the Doctrines of Grace, i.e. Reformed Theology or Calvinism?

I was raised a typical Arminian. Not purposefully, mind you, but the theology under which I was raised was very strong "free will," with a heavy dose of what's commonly called, "the Faith Movement." And at any mention of "predestination" or "election" I would know to run away and consider the speaker almost akin to a heretic.

But for me, it was our family's move to Arizona and the exposure to co-workers who were former OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) guys who talked all crazy-like with their "sovereignty," "providence," "reformed," and "election" talk. They asked questions I couldn't answer and challenged the very basics of my thoughts and beliefs about God - who He is and who I am to Him. And I got a hold of books that did the same!

And that's my question to you. If you were like me, and like me were "converted" to the truths of sovereign grace and of Reformed Theology, what did it for you? In particular, if you had to name one or two (or more if you'd like) books that just "did you in" with regard to your prior theology, what were those books?

For me, it was the initial combination of R.C. Sproul's Chosen by God, and Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. Those two ruined me. They rocked my world and from there it's been so many more books and teachers (Piper, Mahaney, Boice, MacArthur, Bridges, Packer, Murray, Pink, etc.) that have brought me deeper into the fold.

What about you? What books turned you on and rocked your world?


At 9/15/2009 9:19 AM, Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

The first time I heard the doctrine of grace was under a Primitive Baptist preacher in Grand Junction, Colorado. I was brought up in a Christian Science home and became a Methodist when I was an adult and had children of my own, but I always came away 'hungry' after church. My upbringing as a Christian Scientist (though far from 'Christian' or scriptural as I now know), did give me a thirst for reading the bible and teach me to rely on prayer. I now look back on my years in the Methodist church as my healing years. But when I heard the doctrine of sovereign grace preached, I immediately recognized what I always FELT in my heart to be true.

I was excluded from the Primitive Baptist church in 1997 for divorcing an abusive man. It was heartwrenching and still is, but God has never forsaken me. I am blessed beyond measure and currently worship with a Brethren church in my community. They believe in the doctrine of grace as well.

What book influenced me most in my conversion? The bible. I did a lot of reading in the early years, but the bible is the horse's mouth for me.

At 9/16/2009 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all started when I thought about leaving my church, a typical Southern Baptist church, at the time and considered going to another church regardless of the denomination. Through that I found out about some of the differences between various denominations and that's when I found out about the doctrines of grace. I first thought it could not be right. In fact, I considered going to a Wesleyan or Nazarene church. Being the "Arminian" I was I decided to read Grace, Faith and Free Will by Picirilli. The book compared Arminianism with Calvinism. That's when I found out that I believed in something called monergism and irresistible grace, things no true Arminian believes in. I did believe in unlimited atonement though. From there I decided to find out more about the doctrines of grace, and I realized that sovereign grace is what the Scriptures teach...and that Christ died and rose again to save His people from their sins.

At 9/17/2009 6:08 PM, Blogger Puritan Lad said...

I actually becamed Reformed in my eschatology before I did in my soteriology. During the "Y2K Crisis", I became unsatisfied with the common view (dispensationalism) that made false predictions for 40 years with nothing to show for it. In my search for good sound eschatological teaching, I came across David Chilton's "Days of Vengeance". Not only was this book the best (in my opinion) commentary on the book of Revelation, it was a great systematic theology and dealt heavily with salvation and worship from a Reformed perspective. I soon began asking my former church questions about Romans 9 (especially Pharoah). There answers contradicted the clear teachings of Scripture, and I was on my way to Geneva.

At 11/19/2009 1:06 PM, Blogger Eliezer Salazar said...

well umm, a dear dear friend of mine started asking me questions about grace and salvation, at the very first she was just studying the Calvinist side, but all of it made sense to her, so she decided to share with me what her doubts and questions were about the Arminian side. I wouldn't listen to her, I mean, I was raised with the view that God is begging everyone to be saved all my life, and I bluntly told her I will never be a Calvinist! I will not believe in a God who is that unfair! God is fair and loving! so He can't do that! stuff like that...I regret that tho, I hurt her a lot but....she had given me so much material which I reluctantly read at first. For some time she backed away from speaking about the subject with me, but then she started again, and this time very very strongly, it was when she confronted me with how can God be Sovereign if man is the one who out of his supposed "free will" chooses God....and actually I can trace it far back than that. I've always been the kind of Christian who asks questions nobody else asks hehe, and verses such as John 3:16 were never explained in their context, pastors would always say "God wants to save you, He wants everyone to be saved because look at what John 3:16 says, WORLD and world is everyone!" I always kept those questions to myself, I asked myself "does it really mean that? is that what the context says?" context was always ignored, and even the verses used by Calvinism were just read through and not explained! still parents do not know I am a Calvinist yet, which is why I am very afraid, I will have to tell them tho, but it won't change the fact that God has revealed this to be His truth to me. I'm deeply thankful for my friend who was so patient with me and helped me understand Calvinism more, but I praise God for putting her into my way...for He is the one who saved me, He sought me out, SOLI DEO GLORIA!

At 6/11/2010 12:10 PM, Anonymous David Eades said...

It has been so long ago now, that I came into a Biblical understanding of the truly amazing grace of God.
Let's just say that as I read your posts, look at the links, scan your book references, and smile all the while, you and I are of one heart and soul.
I just hope I actually end up having read all of the stuff I have piled on my shelves by the time I take my last breath.
I also recommend anyone coming into the doctrines making sure you hold onto the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and always teach as you were taught-with love in the heart.
I didn't do that when I launched the Calvinist era of my life, and boy! did I burn some bridges unnecessarily, a regret I will hold forever.
Great stuff, Husker.


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