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In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
>I'm not going to take your time. I'm writing from Spain, and here Calvinism if it doesn't sound a strange word, it's always related to hard-core Capitalism and wealthy people. Most people in Hispanic countries ignore the meaning. But, interesting enough, when I first read about Calvin's doctrines through the Catholic leans ... , I found something satisfying in predestination.
Later I converted myself to a Protestant denomination: the Plymouth Brethren. They believed in a self-assured eternal salvation. Nonetheless I found out with surprise the visceral rejection to Calvinism. When Calvinist books arrived to the church (I'm talking about the sixties) they were automatically taken away, they just disappeared.
But I always felt free will doctrines failed to account for an omnipotent God, and it also contradicts the tenets of the Reform, the Gospel. If in the last instance my salvation depends on my effort to believe, then it's still my work, my human decision, what saves me.
I recently wrote three articles on this subject in Spanish, but I know they aren't going anywhere. Most people hate Calvinism, most Christian denominations abhor the word predestination, but for me it has always being a word of supreme blessing, the only spiritual value that confirms God is surely on charge of the Universe. Thanks God salvation doesn't depend on me. Thanks God He is the One who chose me and I'm one of the happiest man in this world. Predestination to me is synonym of eternal self-assurance for real.
It was a blessing being able to read your sermons, comments, and discussions. I fully agreed with you. My only doubts are why people like Hitler, Franco, Pinochet, Stalin, and so forth? Why tortures, famine and destruction in this world? Why so much injustice and suffering? I know it all belongs to His design, but sometimes is hard.
(you don't need to answer me. I know you're a busy man. You are doing a great job. It was such a pleasure to read you.)
Thanks for taking your time.
I am a newly-converted Reformed thinker who is thrilled to have access to your website. My mind started changing last year during a study on Romans. The teacher was decidedly Calvinist and, at first, I was appalled at her assertions. I had always been taught that God lovingly draws all people unto Himself and that we choose to accept His offer of salvation or reject it.
Over the next few months, I chewed on what I had learned. I was going back and forth when a friend who is Arminian in viewpoint gave me a copy of Chosen But Free by Norman Geisler. Boy, was she surprised when she found out the book had the opposite effect intended! As I read through each chapter, I was shocked at how Geisler's points directly contradicted Scripture. It's amazing how God used an Arminian book to solidify my Calvinistic stance!
Anyway, my changed thinking has resulted in a transformed life. I have become so much more grateful for my salvation and feel privileged to serve God. (I used to feel like I was kind of doing God a favor when I shared the gospel or did a "good" deed.) I also am thrilled at the thought that God is absolutely sovereign in ALL matters. No longer do I worry about "all those poor people in Africa who have never heard." I am convinced now that if God desires to save someone in a remote village in Tanzania, He will do whatever it takes to reach that person with the Gospel. It's up to Him, not me. And what a relief that it IS up to Him, considering the inconsistent and incomplete obedience of believers.
I thank God that I have been able to share my new beliefs with three others whose thinking has been turned around. I have printed out your Scripture studies on Calvinism and Arminian Arguments for several friends and acquaintances, and they in turn have referred others who are having a hard time with Calvinism to your website.
I praise God for your ministry and pray He will use it mightily to properly align people's thinking with Scripture. Thanks again for all you do!
A sister in Christ,
Thank you for your "testimony." It is very interesting. And I am thankful my site is being of help to you and others.
>Hi, I just wanted to write and say that I read what you wrote on reformation and Calvinism. I believe in these truths that John Calvin wrote about and I have found that this is not a popular belief. I am a freshman in college and it is difficult to find people He who see these views.<
You are not the first person to write me about the "isolation" they feel in believing the Doctrines of Grace. You are correct; they are no where near as many Calvinists today as there are Arminians. And this seems to be especially true among the younger crowd.
But the fact that I have received quite a few such letters as your shows there are other Calvinists out there. They're just difficult to find.
>I was very grateful to find these works you have written and It will be very beneficial to me.<
I am thankful my articles are being of help to you.
> I have a dear Catholic friend and he and I discuss these issues, but He tries to convert me to Catholicism. I have been so torn apart by all these different views and it has been very frustrating for me. I pray that He will come to see the complete truth, but I realize that this would be only an act of God and not of man. there is not much I can do to convince him that he is wrong in some areas.<
It can be difficult dealing with Catholics. I know; I've talked to enough of them. My parents are even Catholic. But the best you can do is to explain why you believe what you believe and then leave it in God's hands.
> Thank you for writing this stuff and for helping me sort through these areas in my life. I am young and holding to these views often brings ridicule from other Christians that are into these new ideas of Christianity.<
For one Christian to ridicule another Christian is very, well, unchristian whatever the reason. Christians of all people should be able to disagree about things without resorting to ridicule.
> Where they believe that they can Save everyone, they take away God's timing and God's control. I it is sad to me to see this. I just recently attended a rally where there was not a child in the room that did not go up to the front and my heart broke because I felt that they were just numbers.<
Very true. I can remember being at a friend's house when her mother came home all excited. The mother had been teaching a children's Bible study, and they had just taken all of them to the river to be baptized. And all of the kids wanted to be baptized. She was so excited about all those kids being "saved." It broke my heart also knowing that the majority of the kids were probably just playing "follow the leader." But I didn't have the heart to try to explain this to my friend's mom.
> My prayer is that people will learn that there is more to a personal relationship with Christ, than just a simple magic prayer. Anyways, I just wanted to thank you and to share with you my thoughts.
Thanks for "sharing" with me.
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