I have a bit of a confession to make. Over the last few weeks I've been secretly reading some of the Calvinist authors. I can't exactly say that I was trying to read these authors with an open mind - rather, I was reading the likes of Spurgeon, Ryle, Whitefield and of course, Calvin himself, in the attempt to demonstrate how silly their arguments were. But as I read more and more, I discovered that their arguments about the character of God and the nature of His election actually made sense. Moreover, as my eyes were being opened, I could see that their understanding of God showed the most faithfulness to Scripture and more highly esteemed Him. I began to recognise that I was to be honest with myself and I allowed God to be God, he really wasn't the grandfatherly figure that I had constructed as a liberal Christian. The Calvinist God, on the other hand was a God or substance and of justice. Just because I didn't like the idea of Hell, or the idea of God punishing people didn't mean that these things didn't exist.
These realisations didn't bring about my conversion, but they intrigued me and caused me to probe deeper. A few nights ago I began to marvel at my change of perspective. I realised then and there that it was only God who had opened my eyes to these truths. And as I probed further, I discovered new truths. For the first time I became convicted of the infallibility of the Scriptures, a position I realised that I had never truly held. It was this that shook me the most. I realised that if I was to be faithful to this revelation then I would have to change the way I lived my life. I realised that I would have to relinquish control and truly give my life over to God's control, rather than simply saying that I did that and fooling myself. Being the control freak that I am, I bucked against this idea more strongly than I ever had before, conscious that God was not indeed the ruler of my life. In order to prove that I was not under the control of God I decided that I would be even more aggressive towards those who called themselves Calvinist. But it was all to little avail - even against my will, God was beginning to change me.
I guess my resentment towards Calvinists was their sense of assurance about their salvation. I'd never experienced that, so I decided that their assurance must surely be arrogance on their part. However, when I started to think anew, I realised that this accusation did not fit, since they did not appear to be arrogant people in other respects. And in addition to their humility, I realised that they shown me a great deal of love, even though I had mocked and belittled them. But now that I have experienced this conviction myself, the feeling that God's Holy Spirit lives within me, I no longer needed to view Calvinists with jealousy and suspicion because I now I have experienced the grace that they have experienced. What's more, how can I possibly hold this attitude when I too, albeit very much against my will, have become a Calvinist myself?
POSTSCRIPT: For people that are still confused about the whole thing, an explanation is in order.