IT IS A GREAT THING to begin the Christian life by believing good solid doctrine. Some people have received twenty different “gospels” in as many years; how many more they will accept before they get to their journey’s end, it would be difficult to predict. 1
About three years ago, I met Michael Appiah-Duku in a group on facebook. I had just self-published a book, Biblical Truths: Knowing What God Has Prepared For You and during one of my publicity campaigns in the group, I received a message in my inbox from Michael asking, “Are you a theologian?” Michael is a Calvinist and I was a Charismatic. After our first meeting in the group, a bond of friendship developed between us; a bond that is still ablaze today to the glory of God.
As will be expected, our beliefs began to clash. Our clashes, however, were friendly fires predominantly centred on theological and biblical subjects. We disagreed vehemently over many doctrines and the doctrine I resisted fiercely was the doctrine of grace as expounded by Reformed Theology. Top on my list of disagreement was Predestination: God electing some (The Elect) to eternal life, and others (Reprobates) He passed by to eternal damnation.
By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels (1) are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.(2) (1) 1Ti 5:21; Mt 25:41 (2) Ro 9:22,23; Eph 1:5,6; Pr 16:4 2
Predestination was obscene to me. I hated it. It made me angry. How can a Holy and loving God discriminate among His creation? Hasn’t He given all of His creation free will to choose life? We all have the free will to choose or reject God. Don’t we? I often argued with Michael.
Anyone with knowledge of Calvinism and Charismatism will admit friendship between a Calvinist and Charismatic is a weird combination. These are two opposing doctrinal beliefs and there was no way we were going to be friends without influencing each other.
Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, I was the one who was influenced. Michael will shout ‘Soli Deo Gloria’ to that. One day, I was gripped with the reality that, sitting on the fence without taking a stance between the Calvinist and Arminian divide was only intellectual and spiritual dishonesty. I had been presented with, through further reading, enough biblical evidence to embrace Calvinism and Reform Theology. It will equally be a lack of faith in God’s word, to reject that which is explicit in the Bible. If I didn’t bow, I would only be guilty of “always learning and not able to come to the truth“(2 Tim. 3:7).
Gradually, I began to loosen my grip on charismatic doctrine and lean more towards Reform theology, which I found to be biblically sound and God glorifying. Writing on Reformed Theology, in His book [ebook], What Is Reformed Theology?, R.C Sproul asserted that
Reformed theology is first and foremost theocentric rather than anthropocentric. That is, it is God-centered rather than man-centered.3
Reform theology indeed is theocentric opposed to much of today’s evangelical church’s ‘anthropocentricism’. The final blow to my intransigent posture towards Calvinism came when I listened to a message preached by Dr. James Montegomery Boice+ on The doctrine of Election. He spoke from Romans 9. I listened to the message on numerous occasions and never got tired of listening over and over. To date, it remains one of my favourite audio messages.
After a year or two of abhorring Reformed Theology, I am now fully persuaded Calvinism/Reform theology is biblical Christianity.
To the monergestic Sovereign saving grace of God in salvation I bow my knee:
Salvation belongs to the LORD!”(Jonah 2:9).
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.(Rom 11:33-36).
We–Michael and I– wish by this blog to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”(Jude 1:3). I will want to conclude by leaving you with one who has more authority in defending Calvinism than we have. Hear Charles H. Spurgeon:
I have my own opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel if we do not preach justification by faith without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing unchangeable eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross. 4
Soli Deo Gloria
2: The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter Three, Of God’s Eternal Decrees, III
3: What Is Reformed Theology [ebook], R.C. Sproul, (Grand Rapids,Baker Publishing, 1997).