Kenneth J. Stewart
Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition
Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2011.
Available at Amazon.com
Ken Stewart is professor of theology at Covenant College. Stewart sets out to do the seeming impossible: explode common “myths” and misunderstandings about Calvinism and Reformed Theology. He deals with two sets of myths:
Four Myths Calvinists Should Not Be Circulating (But Are)
1. One Man (Calvin) and One City (Geneva) are Determinative.
2. Calvin’s View of Predestination Must Be Ours.
3. TULIP is the yardstick of the Truly Reformed.
4. Calvinists Take a Dim View of Revival and Awakening.
Six Myths Non-Calvinists Should Not Be Circulating (But Are)
5. Calvinism Is Largely Antimissionary.
6. Calvinism Promotes Antinomianism.
7. Calvinism Leads to Theocracy.
8. Calvinism Undermines the Creative Arts.
9. Calvinism Resists Gender Equality.
10. Calvinism Has Fostered Racial Inequality.
The conclusion concerns, “Recovering our Bearings: Calvinism in the Twenty-First Century”.
Overall a good read. I particularly liked the discussion of myths # 3 and 9.
Stewart points out that the Canons of Dort (from which TULIP was developed) have no explicit confessional authority among the Reformed churches. I esp. liked his quote that: “Where Calvinists writers today show no such generous interest in defining and articulating their Calvinism [re: limited atonement/deliberate redemption], it may be an indication that they have accepted that they are now theologizing for an identifiable Calvinist narrow way, a Calvinism on the margins, rather than for the evangelical Protestant tradition as a whole. Such a tendency, if it in fact exists [MB note, it does!!!], represents a dramatic reversal, a self-imposed ghettoization compared even to the nineteenth century. It is time to ask hard question as to who led the way this retreat. Is this ghettoization an unacknowledged remnant of the fundamentalist era of the early twentieth century” (pp. 89-90). Compared to some Calvinists who want to define themselves against evangelicalism (justification by separation), Stewart wants Calvinism to prosper for the sake of the wider Christian world – amen!
For those who want to discover an irenic Calvinism or want to know that not all of us Calvinists are VR’s (visciously reformed), I recommend reading this book.