Doctrines of Grace

What To Do When Your Husband Becomes a Heretic {Part 2}

Previously on Valerie Write Now: Part 1.

Step 8: Decide to do a bit of research on the topic of Calvinism before discussing it again. Obviously, your husband has been reading and studying the subject for some time. You need more than whining and pleading to convince him of his error.  Since you save everything, go dig up the textbook you used in 12th grade Bible class. You remember the one, The Book of the Revelation Church History: Lives of Great Missionaries and The CultsFirst, look up the definition of a “cult” (maybe Calvinism is a cult!). Breathe a sigh of relief when you discover it isn’t. Next, do a search for “Calvin”. Find the page where he is discussed. Notice the acrostic TULIP listed beneath his name. Read it. Gasp. (Sounds really different from what you were taught.) Break out in a cold sweat. Continue reading and find that the people at Abeka Book do not paint John Calvin in a bad light. In fact, they do not warn you anywhere to be on the lookout for this disgusting doctrine. Sit back and try to recall the things you’ve heard preachers say about Calvinism:

“Calvinism is heresy! Nothing will wreck your church like Calvinism!”

“I don’t believe in the TULIP! Or the PANSY or the VIOLET, neither! Stinkin’ doctrine of the TULIP! I got the blood of JESUS! I don’t need the TULIP!”

Hmm…those statements aren’t much help.

Step 9: Decide to hit him with scripture. Clearly, the Bible says many times that whosoever will may come to Christ to drink freely of the living water. (Or something like that.) Gather a list of verses and lay them out to him, one by one. Start with John 3:16. Then Romans 10:13, and 2 Peter 3:9. Search for others.

Listen as he explains each verse, using something called “context”. Argue with him about it. Make him so frustrated that HE goes to bed angry and gives YOU the cold shoulder. Feel satisfied. You’re getting to him. (Good job!)

Step 10: This step could take years. Bring up various scriptures nonchalantly now and then. Discuss them. Ask questions about statements you’ve read about Calvinism, because by now, you’re studying up on it yourself. Ask him how he could take such a renegade position. When he explains that it’s not “renegade”, it’s historical, you are truly shocked.

“Other Baptists have believed this? Like WHO?”

“Spurgeon for one. Then there’s Shubal Stearns, Obadiah Holmes, James Petigru Boyce, John Bunyan, just to name a few.” He says.

Read an article online about how terrible John Calvin was. He wanted to kill Baptists! Ask your husband, “How can you align yourself with him?”

“First of all,” he says with that familiar calmness, “this doctrine isn’t Calvin’s. We’re not sure how it came to bear his name. The TULIP was published 45 years after his death. And I don’t agree with any teaching of man, unless I can find it in the King James Bible.”

This seems satisfactory, but it’s only the beginning of almost a decade of discussion. You decide to keep all of this quiet, and you pray that he will, too. “Closet Calvinist” is what you have come to think of yourself. You listen intently to his preaching, waiting for the church to figure out his beliefs and fire him. Strangely, it doesn’t happen. This is baffling. Of course, he stays closely to the Scripture in all of his preaching, so maybe that’s why.

Maybe this really is in the Bible?

Step 11: Notice that you are gradually inching your way toward agreeing with him. But, you’re stubborn, so you don’t give in easily. Recall that you tried many times to be “saved” by praying the sinner’s prayer as a child. Nothing happened. You felt no peace, no joy, nothing. Then, one day, the “light” came on! Could that have been the “I” – Irresistible Grace? Shake your head no. But think about it.

Listen as your husband has conversations with various pastors about the topic. Cringe and hold your breath as they begin with the names: “heretic”, “fatalist” and one even calls him a “monkey”. Observe how your husband just shrugs it off. Realize that he is amazing. Next, watch the in-person conversations and see for yourself how a “Christian” can get so angry that his eyes pop out of his head and he looks ready to commit murder! See, once again, how your husband continues his calm conversation. The scene reminds you of the verse where it says the people were cut to the heart and got so angry that they actually did kill a man, the first martyr, Stephen. (Acts 7) Feel thankful that no one in the room is carrying a gun.

Step 12: Finally, admit that he is right, and tell him so. Watch as a look of surprise, followed by relief and joy washes over his features. Hear him say, “Honey, if I can teach this to you, I can teach it to anybody! After all, how many years has it been now?”

Tell him you don’t know and you don’t care. You just want to glorify the Lord with him for the rest of your life. Give him a kiss. Hear him say that he can handle any type of hatred and name-calling from anyone in the world, as long as he has you. Blink back the tears. Live happily ever after.

 

Dear Friend,

In 2007, my husband did come to me and say that he had been studying the Bible (not Hitler or Charles Taze Russell, as I had feared) and had come to the conclusion that the “TULIP” was true. I had never been taught anything about Calvinism, and I really was frightened. What I have described in these blog posts actually happened to us, with a little humor thrown in. As it was for the Apostles and the early church, following Christ and preaching His Gospel has not been without pain and loss. A few friends have pulled back and some family stress has been caused. One person in our family has said Calvinism is a “damnable doctrine”. But what they say about Calvinism isn’t accurate. I hope that I can share correct information in the weeks to come, without hatred or debate, so that others may know the truth. If they then decide to reject it, then at least they are rejecting true Calvinism, not hyper-Calvinism or some other hybrid form of it. I understand if you decide to unfollow my blog, or unfriend me, but please, I beg you to refrain from any hateful comments.

In 2013, the Lord moved my husband to a Bethel Baptist Church, a church that has taught the Doctrines of Grace for decades. This has been a special gift from the Lord since I feared we would be out of the ministry completely by adopting these beliefs. We have even made many new, wonderful friends here. It’s been so refreshing! All we want to do is obey the Bible. We love the Lord and desire to share the Gospel with everyone as long as God allows us to do so.

Thank you – so much – for reading.

With love,

sig

16 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Husband Becomes a Heretic {Part 2}

  1. I can completely relate, except I was the wife who became a heretic and tried desperately to lead my husband “astray.” 🙂 I tried to convince him in many discussions and he didn’t get and frankly, seemed like he didn’t care. I was sneaky though and usually found a Sovereign Grace church to attend when we traveled. After about 3 years the lightbulb came on after he began hearing the expository preaching of Bro. Justice. It was amazing to study Baptist history and see how the majority of Baptists believed these doctrines prior to Finney and the heresies he introduced. Our evangelism efforts have redoubled as we spend MORE time praying for God to use His Holy Spirit to convince and draw our loved ones to Himself. Thank you for sharing your journey. It takes courage to stand for truth in spite of the ridicule and hatred from other professing Christians.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Hannah! I can honestly say I would never have come to these truths without my husband’s leadership. I’m afraid I wasn’t much of a Bible student. I’m not very submissive, either, as I just proved! 😀 I’m thankful the Lord – and Terry! – are longsuffering.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story! Raised Fundamental Baptist I had a very similar experience. Isn’t it wonderful when you realize how powerful and gracious God truly is? And then when you start finding all the fellow reformers out there your mind is blown! Praise God!

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  3. This is very interesting! I’m looking forward to reading more about what you have to say about this topic. There was a time when I also questioned my husband when he revealed he could be considered a 4-point Calvinist. It was not an easy transition. But, with study, the subject became more clear to me.

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  4. I have been following your blog off/on for many years and am a first time commenter. I came from a church that was independent, fundamental Baptist until the new pastor took over, he slowly weaved in the doctrines of Calvinism along with a change in the version of the Bible. That church is now hyper-calvinistic. My family and I have since left the church due to the radical doctrinal change.
    At that time, a few years ago, my children were still young, young enough that they had not been saved yet. I don’t know how Calvinistic your beliefs are but from where I came from it was to the point that they did not “go ye into all the world”, nor did they talk about salvation or how to be saved (although they mentioned that you had to be saved to go to Heaven, but not how). I looked at my then young children and thought “how could God not choose my beautiful children to be saved”.
    A wonderful, Godly friend of mine asked me how could I look at my children and wonder which one, if any, of my children would be Heaven bound!! Could God be up on His Throne saying “I choose you, I don’t choose you?…your daughter is not going Heaven but your son will, or this son will but not that one… How can a parent deal with that. That sent chills up my spine! I could not look them in the eye and say that you might go to Heaven and you might go to Hell…, or God-forbid, none of them would make it to Heaven! I wouldn’t, I couldn’t. Why have missionaries if that is the belief? What about this verse, Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Or Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Just to name a couple of many.

    I do believe that God knows WHO’S going to be saved but I don’t think He is up there choosing who will be saved like choosing candy out of a candy jar. I chose to believe that by God’s Grace we have free-will to choose Salvation. I have known for many years that I am saved, have been saved since I was eight! I will not be going to Hell because of His unmerited Grace, sending His Son to die for us even though we don’t deserve it. We left that church and have been in a wonderful, Spirit-filled, Bible-believing, soul-winning, Christ-honoring, mission-minded church. Since we have joined, by God’s Grace, my children have all accepted Christ as their Savior! Praise God!

    You are a parent and I have enjoyed reading your blog posts. This comment has been on my mind for a while (and in my prayers) and I have wanted to write something, something that might be eye-opening. I do believe that we should all be theologically sound, that women need to read their Bible’s, lead their children in His way. I leave you with these two questions: Which one of your children that are not saved do you think God has chosen for Heaven? Do you think He chose any for Hell?

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    1. Dear DP,
      First of all, thank you for your kind comment. I sometimes wonder if anyone is reading at all, so it’s really good to hear from you.

      Regarding your thoughts, I find myself having a hard time addressing your concerns because they seem to be based 100% on emotions. I had a friend tell me that “God is fair.” But, the person who told me that is certain she is saved; she is married to a Baptist preacher, who works at a large, busy church. She lives in America and is enjoying good health. But what about the lady suffering beneath an oppressive government, ruled by a tyrant? Or what about the lady who is starving in a third-world country and watching her children die, slow, painful deaths? And to top it off, she’s never heard Christ preached – not even once. Is God fair to her? Surely you can see how subjective that logic is.

      God is not in Heaven choosing “you go to Heaven, you don’t”. The Scripture says clearly, “There is none righteous, no not one.” (Rom. 3:10) Your beautiful children (and mine) are wretched sinners. They were born that way. Did they choose to be that way? Of course not. They had no choice. Let’s go a step further – who allowed you to even conceive and bring forth children? Of course, the children you have are from God.

      How do you believe a person is saved? Is it by their will? Does their “choice” sort of activate salvation? If so, then doesn’t that sound like they are saved by “works”? (See John 1:13) You can’t believe it’s works – you yourself quoted Eph. 2:8-9, which I use now to prove that Christ does ALL the work of salvation.

      One thing that is notable that you said is “I do believe God knows WHO’S going to be saved…” How long has God known these names? I’m sure you would agree that it was before the foundation of the world. God’s knowledge does not grow. If God has known who would be saved and who wouldn’t, why create those who wouldn’t? Why allow them to exist?

      Because God knows who would be saved, it appears to me that God has carefully guided missionaries and preachers to those people, while over-looking others. See Acts 16:6 where Paul is forbidden to go to Asia. And Acts 18:10 where the Lord tells Paul to go into Corinth because he has “much people in this city”.

      On the other hand – if God elects to save because of a foreseen response, then that is not grace, but rather it is “merited favor”.

      I’m sorry your pastor forsook the task of witnessing to the lost. It is *very* important to spread the Gospel. I’ve had new opportunities to do just that due to these blog posts. But even if a church stops having a set “soul winning time”, it does not negate the responsibility of individuals to witness everywhere they go. My church definitely spreads the Gospel, because that’s what the Bible says we are to do.

      Regarding the question about my children, I pray that God will open their eyes to their need of His grace and be born again. I know that HE is the only One who can save them!

      Thank you for your prayerful and gracious words.

      With love,
      Valerie

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  5. Hi Valerie,

    Thank you for this post. I came across it after Googling “husband became a Calvinist” specifically to try to find a wife’s account of her husband coming to understand and accept Reformed Theology when she did not. I am currently having an uncomfortable time at home with my own wife, who vehemently rejects Reformed Theology. This has strained our communication since I finally told her I was leaning toward accepting Calvinism a little less than a year ago. Any time theology comes up the emotions kick in and we can’t discuss anything in depth. I quickly add that she continues to be a wonderful wife and mother, but we haven’t enjoyed the level of intimate conversation and closeness since this issue came up. I’ve felt a lack of patience, respect, and even trust from her. We also had to recently leave our church where we were members the last 15 years over unrelated theological and doctrinal issues, which hasn’t helped the overall situation.

    I guess my question is how I as a husband best help my wife in this situation. I’m trying to be as patient as I can, and I’m praying for her and myself, asking God to give us both hearts open to true doctrine. I would just hate for this to last years until the day when she, hopefully, agrees with Reformed Theology.

    Thanks for any advice you can give!

    Joe

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    1. Hello, Joe. Thank you so much for your kind comment and question. I admit that when I saw I had a comment on this post, I prepared for the worst. I usually get critical comments, so it’s encouraging to hear that these posts were a blessing to someone. I very much sympathize with your wife’s dilemma. One thing that helped me early on was not to really talk about it too often. When I brought it up, my husband would discuss it with me but he never demanded we discuss it. (I’m not saying that you do that, but that was one thing he did.) He also showed me the ways in which these doctrines (TULIP) were very similar to what we already believed.
      For example, the doctrine of election – I already believed that God “Foreknew” who would believe upon Him for salvation, so Terry asked me: When did God know, or intend, to save you? 10 minutes before you trusted Him? One hour? In eternity? I realized that this wasn’t as different as I had thought. When I queried him about “God so loved the World” and “He is not willing that ANY perish”, Terry simply replied with, “Well, are all saved?” The point is that he gave me simple answers not drawn out sermons. He gave me time to think.
      In the end, it all comes down to your wife. Does she want to know the truth? Does she value her marriage enough to dig in and find out the truth, to pray ask God for the truth? If so, she will see it. That’s what changed me. I came to the point where I had to get with my Bible and with God alone and ask Him to show me the truth. It really amazed me to then find the Doctrines of Grace in Psalms, Romans, and John all on my own! I saw it! I can’t put into words what a blessing it was. I loved my husband, and I loved the Lord. It was a joyful time to see that Terry really wasn’t a heretic. 🙂

      I wrote these posts with humor, but at the time, it was no laughing matter. I really did think he was a heretic and I really did think that if he continued on this path, it would end in our separation/divorce. I’m so glad I was wrong!

      Not to say that we haven’t lost anything – we have! More than I ever thought we would. Seeing what my husband was getting from people – the name-calling, yelling, gossip, and hate from “Christians” was an eye-opener. It made me want to stick beside him because I felt that I was all he had. It also revealed how important it was to him for him to put everything on the line like he was doing. The truth makes people uncomfortable, but it’s for their good. I believe you are headed in the right direction by being patient, praying, and discussing it when you can. If I can be of any help, please let me know.

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  6. *I hid my learning of the doctrines of grace for YEARS. I thought my husband would think I was a nutjob.
    We moved to Texas and started attending the church I was falsely converted at as a teen. The pastor actually ended a sermon about the sovereignty of God with “Calvinism is wrong wrong wrong!”, in the most charming southern drawl one could muster. I swear he was looking at me. Then, another Big Tent Revival Meeting was about to go down and I knew I could not attend those emotional, guilt laden, sadly sung hymns led meetings. But a few weeks before, one of the deacons preached a Wednesday evening service. And talked favorably of Charles Finney. Gasp!
    I was NOT going to go back.
    And I knew I had to tell my husband why.
    When I told him of my learning and reading and I thought that God did all the work, he replied, “Well duh, why would I choose Him? How could I? My nature chose sin.”
    And we found ourselves at Grace Covenant Baptist Church 2 weeks later. ♥⛪

    *I commented on the first part, but thought I probably should have commented on Part 2. So, feel free to delete my other comments.

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony with me. It is a blessing to “meet” so many people who understand the struggle. I am so thankful the Lord leads, guides, and teaches His people.

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  8. Hello Valerie! I recently found out my husband is a Calvinist and was very hurt that he didn’t tell me before we got married! He knew exactly what I believed and could easily have saved us both the hurt that you described. We’re presently in the midst of this struggle. My 4 questions for him and for you:
    1) Does God love the people He condemns to eternal torment? If yes, what is your definition of love? If no, what do we do with John 3:16…For God SO loved the world…
    2) How can God condemn certain people when John 3:17 says God did not come into the world to condemn it but to save it?
    3) Is God a God of purpose? If so, what is the purpose of creating people in His image simply to destroy them? Wouldn’t it be better if they were never born than to suffer for all eternity?
    4) Do babies who die automatically go to heaven? If so, what if some of them are marked for destruction?
    I’m not trying to be dishonoring. I just really want to know so I can understand how anyone can believe in AND trust this kind of God. If I thought this was true, I would never have given my heart to Jesus in 1980. The God I know and love is gentle, kind, compassionate, loves everyone, and desires His creation to live with Him forever in heaven! I praise Him for the joy I have known in my very intimate relationship with Him! Jesus is everything to me and it hurt my heart to hear such terrible things said about Him. My heart is broken!
    Anonymous

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    1. Dear Joyce,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry that you’re going through a hard time with your husband’s news. While that is between you and him, I can offer some answers to your questions:
      1) Does God love the people He condemns to eternal torment? If yes, what is your definition of love? If no, what do we do with John 3:16…For God SO loved the world…
      The short answer is no, God does not love the people he condemns to eternal torment. We know this to be true because of verses like:
      Romans 9:13 “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

      Psalms 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

      Psalms 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

      Since all of Scripture is breathed out by God, we can say that every time David says he hates those who do iniquity then we can say God hates them too.

      Since the answer is no how does one interpret John 3.16? Jesus in John is laying the groundwork for a future revelation that the Jews were ignorant of, that being the new people of God, the True Israel composed of people from every tribe and tongue! The Jews believed they alone were the people (They had been) but in the New Testament time, God declares that he will save some from all sorts of people. So when “world” is used it refers to all without distinction not all without exception.

      For example, when Apple brings the iPhone 8 out next year they’ll bring it to “the world” but it won’t be the whole entire world, it will only be to the people who can afford it, who have cellular access and whose government allows it.

      2) How can God condemn certain people when John 3:17 says God did not come into the world to condemn it but to save it?
      The Bible says in Romans 1 that the whole world is condemned and Romans 2 says mankind is without excuse! God condemned man long before you, me or John Calvin every lived!
      John chapter 3 says that Jesus came to save and not condemn. See John 3:36, where it says that God’s wrath abides on the unbeliever. Also, Romans 5 where we are told that all of mankind is condemned even those who did not sin after the similitude of Adam.
      3) Is God a God of purpose? If so, what is the purpose of creating people in His image simply to destroy them? Wouldn’t it be better if they were never born than to suffer for all eternity?
      This falls into the category of the secret counsel of God:

      (Deuteronomy 29:29) “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

      What we know is what the Bible says God’s purpose was determined by him and he will fulfill his plans.
      Think through your this from the non-Calvinistic view. If God in his omniscience knows all, including who would believe on him and who wouldn’t, then why did he create them knowing they’d be in hell anyway?
      4) Do babies who die automatically go to heaven? If so, what if some of them are marked for destruction?
      It is my opinion that all babies go to heaven because of the few verses in the OT and the NT.
      This issue is debated in the Calvinist camp, with some saying that only elect infants go to heaven and others saying they don’t know.
      One fact that is certain is that babies do die and since they die, they are accountable for sin. Romans 6.23b the wages of sin is death.
      I’m not trying to be dishonoring. I just really want to know so I can understand how anyone can believe in AND trust this kind of God.
      If I thought this was true, I would never have given my heart to Jesus in 1980.
      [ Joyce, the reason you gave your heart to Christ was (I hope) because you were deeply convinced of your own sinfulness and your just condemnation for it!]
      The God I know and love is gentle, kind, compassionate, loves everyone, and desires His creation to live with Him forever in heaven!
      [Joyce, I encourage you to re-read the Bible and look for the God you’ve described here.]
      I praise Him for the joy I have known in my very intimate relationship with Him! Jesus is everything to me and it hurt my heart to hear such terrible things said about Him. My heart is broken!
      [Joyce, I hear this kind of thing very often and each time I’m reminded of the words of Erasmus, “Your thoughts of God are too human.”]

      Thank you for writing to me. Before you panic too much as I did many years ago, get your Bible, pray and ask God to show you the truth, and consider the statements above.

      With love,
      Valerie

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