This is too long to put in a status, so I'll share it in a note. It's, briefly, how I got to where I am today, examining Calvinism.
First, my church is not Calvinistic. My church is a Baptist church with no official position on the matter. My decision to look at this has nothing to do with my church, nothing to do with Brad (who is also a Calvinist), and nothing to do with Mr. Camping, who may be a Calvinist, depending on who you ask - he goes farther and farther into heresy each day. At any rate, they are not to "blame."
Apple is to blame. With my iPod Touch I can listen to thousands of different podcasts. I listen to the "Bible Answer Man" via podcast, for example. And one day I browsed through the various Christian podcasts available via iTunes, looking for something to listen to, and stumbled across "The Dividing Line." I didn't know the guy was Calvinist; I wasn't thinking about that sort of thing at all. But from the first podcast, I was hooked. I don't know what it is about the program that attracted me, but I liked it, and kept listening.
I do a LOT of walking, both for exercise and to save on bus fare. It's a 30 minute walk from my house to the train, and a 30 minute walk from my stop into work. I use this time to listen to podcasts. And so I kept listening to "The Dividing Line," and occasionally he mentioned Calvinist stuff and it made me uncomfortable, but I needed to keep listening. The more I listened, the more sense he made. He critiqued leading "free will" scholars such a Dr. Willian Lane Craig and Dr. Normal Geisler. And he was right. I found myself agreeing more and more, or at the very least going away with a lot to think about.
I heard the spots for his books at the half hour break, including that "The Potter's Freedom" was a response to Dr. Geilser's "Chosen But Free." Well, you can't read a book that is a response until you read what it's responding to, so I went to my local bookstore and got a copy of Chosen But Free. It sat on the bookshelf for a while though, because I wasn't yet ready to get into the topic. I could sense that I was getting ready, but not there yet.
When I did finally pick up the book, hoping to be convinced of my free-will beliefs, I was sorely disappointed. I thought, "Is this the BEST they can offer me?" I struggled through parts of the book, but reading it cover to cover was too...embarrassing. It was not a cogent argument at all. I now understand why Dr. White says that "Chosen But Free" has done more for the cause of Calvinism than Dr. Geisler could have dreamt.
Anyway, after that I picked up "The Potter's Freedom," prepared to set aside anything if someone could just exegete the Scriptures well. I was blown away! Verse by verse, into the Greek, explaining the "proof" tests used to support free will doctrine - I had found a treasure trove, explained in a way I could understand! It literally changed my views and turned my beliefs upside down.
And that, dear readers, is where I find myself now. I *want* to know more, need to know more, want to know more about God. I've been a Christian 14 years, but God is deep enough to spend a lifetime delving into.
As of the time of this writing, I am reading "Debating Calvinism" by James White and Dave Hunt, a written form of a formal debate. I am also scouring YouTube for various videos. You'd be amazed how many people - including White, Hunt, Craig, and Geisler are represented there. Tons of videos, and tons of information. So that is where I'm at - reading and listening and learning, praying for the truth to be revealed, whatever that truth may be.