One of my most memorable days was over thirty years ago when I was told my Pastor Joseph Gwynn was a Calvinist. I figured I had better find out what kind of cult I was getting involved with because I had heard that anything that ended with an ism (Calvinism) was a non-Christian cult such as Buddhism Hinduism, Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, etc. I figured I had better find out so that I didn’t get caught up in something that would have me passing out flowers at the local airport. LOL. So I set up an appointment with him and asked him what this “ism” was. He very patiently explained to me who John Calvin was and that there was a counsel called the Synod of Dordt back along time ago. They had a theological debate to respond to some people called Arminians (Remonstrants).
He patiently explained to me the points of teaching called TULIP or the FIVE POINTS of Calvinism.
T (total depravity)
U (unconditional election)
L (limited atonement)
I (irresistible grace)
P (perseverance of the saints)
I had already read the Bible from Cover to Cover having been discipled by the Navigator Ministry. After he explained the FIVE POINTS of Calvinism to me I just looked at him and said, “Well that is what the Bible says.” I had read that in John 15:16, Romans 9, and Ephesians 1. I already understood that from my initial reading of St. John and had experienced it per my conversion. I found out I wasn’t born again as an Arminian theologically. I was born again as a Calvinist. It was easy for me. The Bible Tells Me So.
The applications that God has given me have been insurmountable for the kingdom of darkness. Sure I fall and sin but God is my Keeper. These truths greatly encouraged my evangelism and strengthened my witnessing power as I learned and saw God calling people and saving them. He is working. He is building His Church! It greatly increased my confidence in God’s grace knowing He purposefully loved me and has saved me. It gave me great confidence in knowing that God is totally in Control of every thing and that even the trials I face He orchestrated for His Glory and my benefit. Even the worst of heart aches were for those purposes. I was meant to endure as Christ did and that God would complete my life and keep me no matter what. He loved me! He is the Author and Finisher of my faith.
Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
I can’t imagine serving a God who would not love me enough to keep me and conform me to what I was created to be! Conformed to the image of Christ! What a great Gospel and great God we have.
Anyways, Joe was kind of taken back by my response. He then gave me my first theological book I had ever read that day and I devoured it. I haven’t turned back!
He has been my Papa in the Faith ever since. I love you Joe Gwynn for all God has given me through you. The best is yet to come. We get to see Jesus and put on renewed immortality some day.