Saturday, June 18, 2005

Book Review: 'Why I Am Not a Calvinist'

Jerry Walls' and Joseph Dongell's book Why I am Not a Calvinist is an absolutely brilliant exposé of the theology of Calvinism. The most controversial claims of Calvinism are that God has arbitrarily selected some people to be saved and consigned the rest to damnation; that Christ's atoning death on Calvary was only for those elected to salvation; and that God's decision about who will be saved and lost will be fulfilled without any regard to a person's choice. Walls and Dongell clearly show the inconsistent, illogical, unbiblical nature of this theology and how it leads to anxiety about one's salvation -- the very opposite of the assurance that Calvinists wish to offer. Walls and Dongell are amazingly fairminded in their representation of Calvinism -- one only needs to compare these authors' characterisation with another book by two Calvinists which I have reviewed elsewhere (Why I Am Not an Arminian) to see the accuracy of Walls and Dongell's portrayal. Recognising the very best expressions of Calvinism, they meticulously demonstrate that the God of Calvinist theology is ultimately immoral in his treatment of the lost and, ultimately, a god who can be worshiped for his power but not his love. The only way that a Calvinist can worship and love God is by retreating to inconsistencies with their own position. If you are looking for a clear, articulate, penetrating argument against Calvinism then look no further. This is a comprehensive theological, philosophical and, most importantly, biblical critique of a theological system that has dominated Christian thought since the Reformation. Ultimately, Walls and Dongell turn out attention, in their conclusion, to a God who genuinely loves all humanity; who genuinely offers each and every person the gift of salvation; who genuinely provides all that is necessary to effect that salvation; and who genuinely wants his people to freely responded to him with love and adoration of his glorious grace and power. Related Links

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