How I became a “Calvinist” (and it wasn’t because of Piper or MacArthur)

“Young Fundamentalist” Ryan Martin shares his story

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Daniel's picture

Interesting, and rather similar to mine. I don't think I had ever heard of Calvinism before entering college. It was not really any professor there either, as I was a freshman at the time. Me and my roommates had late night discussions, often times finding out the discussion ended when you asked a question and no reply was given but snores. I do remember going over many verses trying to reconcile my view with scripture, only to find out it didn't. I also remember a particular chapel message given by Daniel Davey. I don't remember the particulars of the message, but I do remember hearing scripture interpreted properly without his presuppositions showing through that much. I remember leaving and telling myself, "yes, that is what I believe."
Of course, I am not a proper Calvinist since I only believe in 4 pts, but that is more than enough for most to label me as a Calvinist.
I am in agreement with Ryan about the faddishness of reformation theology. It is quite sad when you talk to these people and they only give canned responses from authors rather than their own thoughts.

DJ Lowrance's picture

Funny enough, I became a Calvinist in my early years under the discipleship a rank Arminian. He didnt quite understand the topic and portrayed his view of conditional election in a way that I understood to mean God chose us individually before the foundation of the world out of the good pleasure of his own will. Also funny enough he gave me a paper with the 5 points of Calvinism and the 5 points of Remonstrance, where he switched the names so Calvinism was Arminianism and vice versa. Talk about God's grace intervening. All through my years in college and high school I also referred to myself. I never really even heard of John Piper until I was in the pastorate and I'm only 27. I was married in college so didnt get to hear all of the discussion in dorm rooms, so Piper Mahaney and these other guys were a mystery to me as well.

First of all I came to the doctrines of grace through God's grace period. Secondly It was through God's Word, Ephesians 1 espeically has been instrumental in my positions. Thirdly, It has not been Piper and Mahaney and Dever and so on that has driven me further towards Calvinism, but the aforementioned reasons coupled with the poor doctrine and and arrogance of the older men in fundamentalism that normally hold to arminian positions. Although that is not why I am a Calvinist, I must be honest with myself...and others that because of their arrogance and may I say ignorance, I want nothing to do with their soteriology.

Although this is true I am an undeniable and unapologetic fundamentalist. I think the question may need to be it really that the older fundamentalists are afraid that we Calvinist "younger fundamentalists" are leaving the movement, or are they afraid we are going to change the dead brand men(giant)-exalting fundamentalism to a God-centered fundamentalism? Sadly, I think if we dont leave our Calvinism at the door of fundamentalism, I feel the older men would rather us leave. I personally am thankful for much of their ministries and am glad to partner with them for the cause of Christ, but I'm not sure the same sentiment is shared.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

JohnBrian's picture

On August 30, 2007 I posted an article on my blog that began with my personal testimony. Here is what I wrote:

A few years ago I flew to a city in the northeast to preach. While driving to the airport for my flight home, one of the pastors who rode with me asked whether I was a Calvinist or Arminian. At the time, I did not know how to answer, since I was uninformed about the difference between the two. Rather than admit my ignorance, I claimed that I was Calvi-minian. The question, however, intrigued me.

That same year we were studying the book of Romans on Wednesday nights. As part of my study I was reading commentaries by James Boice and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I came across the words monergism and synergism, words with which I was not familiar. That led me to further study, and I found myself agreeing with Monergism. It wasn’t so much that I was being persuaded by what I was reading, as I was recognizing that the writers were putting words to what I already believed.

Paul’s argument in Romans 9 was a watershed for me. I began to identify myself as a Calvinist by the middle of the chapter. The objection that Paul raises in verse 14, then answers in verses 15 through 18 convinced me of the truthfulness of Monergism.

It was after self-identifying as a Calvinist that I began to read and listen to other Calvinists. But then at 52, I'm way too old to be called a young fundamentalist Smile

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Brian Jo's picture

I came to the Calvinist position over a period of time, but the straw that broke the camel's back was my study of Romans 9. I just could not read that passage and reconcile it with a soteriology in which man has the final say. To that point, I had heard of John Piper, but only knew that some people liked him but a lot of fundamentalists didn't, and I didn't really know why.

Johnny Kage's picture

I find it humurous that we are accused of becoming Calvinists because a few men's teaching. I have been a Calvinist since High School because of my understanding of the Scriptures.
It seems as though whenever there is a change in fundamentalism the blame must be placed on someone and so there are a few men who are Calvinistic and they have a large platform so they must be to blame.
Kind of like Amy Grant, Steve Green and Petra are at fault for the CCM movement.

Putting fun in Fundamentalist.

Jim's picture

Bob T. wrote:
Nice testimony! So you are a Calvinist.

Are you also a Christian?

Bob, since the topic of the original post, is "How I became a Calvinist ... and it wasn't because of ..."; it seems reasonable for someone to say "I became a Calvinist (when or how)" presupposing that that one is a Christian.

Obviously one could hold to a Calvinist soteriology and not be saved just as one could be a Baptist or a Presbyterian and not truly be a Christian. But the point of the post is not "How I became a Christian".