I was born with the blessing of Christian parents, and to have been born in an area of 100+ Churches. However, of the 100+ Churches, there might have been one small Reformed Baptist Church, and a (conservative) PCUSA Church (no PCA, OPC, etc in this area). My parents attended Assembly of God and Baptist Churches, and brought me along. I enjoyed Sunday School, and was involved with a Royal Rangers group, Church plays, Parade floats, etc. I “accepted” or acknowledged Christ as Savior at the age of 8 and baptized a couple months or so later.
Over a course of years I grew further and further apart from my commitment to Christ. I had very little knowledge of sin and it’s effects at the age of 8, of what it really felt like to know the depths of being a stone cold sinner. As a teenager I stopped going to Church, I did my own thing, although during that time, I would confess to believe in God (and leave it at that), I no longer humbled myself to or acknowledged His authority over my life.
Many years later, many sins later, at the age of 20, I had reached rock bottom. I knew I needed to change, and I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. I cried out to God, asked Him to forgive, acknowledged I couldn’t change on my own, and asked Him to change me. To make a long story short, God did change me. The difference was like night and day.
Three years later, I attended a local college. I was dead set against “once saved always saved” theology. I had never even heard of John Calvin until I attended college. I really enjoyed the Bible related classes, but I needed to get some of the required courses out of the way. So I hesitantly decided to take an introductory Philosophy course. Going into it, I thought it would be very challenging to my faith, and I would not enjoy it. As it turned out through that course I really gained an appreciation for philosophy in the academic sense, especially in discovering (maybe because it was taught from a Christian perspective) it to be the handmaiden of biblical theology, and useful in not only understanding other worldviews, but defending the Christian worldview. As it turned out, the Philosophy course was one of my favorites. After a couple of years at the college I was having an extremely difficult time with some things and I dropped out.
Up to this point, I had attended a number of different Churches, Church of God for a couple years, a non-denominational Pentecostal Church for several years, attended at the college chapel numerous times, and visited a host of other Churches. For whatever reasons I have always struggled with “connecting” with believers in an organized atmosphere.
Anyway, I started to interact with people online through messageboards like CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry), Theologyweb, and Christian Forums. I had spent years, praying, reading the Scriptures, studying the Scriptures and extra-biblical materials. I used the Christian based messageboards to learn, grow, and challenge my beliefs, even at the cost of being wrong. I resolved if what I believed is true, it shall stand up to the most rigid scrutiny, even the highest criticisms. I knew the challenge would require me to do much studying but that’s the cost of growing. With the cost of growing came pains. I was an adamant defender of Arminianism and my primary methodology of defending the faith was the classical (rational) approach, with some evidential and fideism sprinkled in the mix.
Over the coarse of a year or two, God opened my eyes to problems in my approach to defending the faith. These problems (another long discussion) were creating doubts, and had me considering agnosticism. I seriously started considering the possibility that I had been interpreting the Scriptures through the wrong lens, the wrong system, the wrong presuppositions. Thanks to recommendations and encouragement from the Lord, I began to listen to Dr. Van Til and shortly thereafter Dr. Bahnsen. I prayed about it, and after serious consideration and pouring over the Scriptures, I came to embrace Calvinism, Reformed theology. This was a major major change, and did not come without fear and much struggle, but I could do no other, for God had opened my eyes to truths that were before mine eyes for many years. That’s the short version of my story, if you spent the time to read this, thank you and God bless!
P.S. I would love to read your stories.