What's Wrong With the Question,
"When Did You Come To The Doctrines of Grace?"


Greg Elmquist



Before exposing the eternally fatal flaw of such a question, let me say uncategorically that I love all the truths defined in what is popularly known as the "doctrines of grace" or the "five points of Calvinism". I will say up front that all these wonderful truths stand or fall together and should be referred to as the doctrine of grace. Remove or deny any one of its points and grace is no longer grace. Show me a so-called four point Calvinist, and I will show you one who is trusting in the works of the flesh for their salvation. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" Galatians 5:9. "If by grace then it is no more of works otherwise grace is no more grace..." Romans 11:6. As far as the term `Calvinism' is concerned, it only supports the idea that this precious truth is nothing more than an inhouse debate; nothing more than a different perspective held by brothers; some of the Arminian persuasion and some of the Calvinist persuasion. This falacy reduces the gospel to a never ending feud of ideas and opinions. The truth is, it doesn't really matter what Calvin or any of his adversaries thought. The only thing that matters is, "what sayeth the Scriptures" about God's gospel. Which brings us back to my original question, what is wrong with the question, "When did you come to the doctrines of grace?"

This question not only implies, but usually affirms that one can come to Christ and know nothing about grace. Recently I received a written testimony of a man from India. I quote; "I am a Hindu convert. In the year 1972 the Lord saved me. It was in an Arminian church. I entered the ministry in 1981. In the year 1984 I was introduced to the amazing word GRACE. It was the starting point of my search for the doctrines of grace." Another letter came the very next day asking me some questions about myself. Two of the questions were, "when were you converted?" and, "when did you come to the doctrines of grace?" Often you even hear a testimony that goes something like this: `After I was converted, I heard about the doctrines of grace. My first reaction was unbelief or even utter hatred. However, after a prolonged studious struggle over these disturbing issues, I came to embrace them and am now convinced they are true.' Most of these Arminian converts to Calvinism believe their primary mission from God is to convince their less fortunate brethren to cross over the river of higher learning and breathe with them the less polluted air of a better doctrine. They say they believe in Sovereign Grace, but in reality, they believe in Superior Grace.

"The gospel of Christ is the only power of God unto salvation" Rom.1:16. If a person can be converted apart from knowing anything about the sovereign, effectual, accomplished work of Christ, then what does a sinner believe to be saved? Is the gospel nothing more than an account of some historical events, or is it a message of a Savior that satisfied all God's demands for righteousness on behalf of His people? Remember, "He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel" Ps.103:7. Most everybody knows the acts of God, only the elect know His ways. Salvation is not just in believing what God has done, but why He did it. And that, is the divine revelation that breaks a sinner's heart and brings him to faith in Christ.


Pastor Greg Elmquist
Grace Gospel Church of Orlando
Florida