Some time ago here I mentioned my favorite Christian philosopher: Keith Ward. It isn’t that I agree with everything he says. He’s my favorite because he is basically orthodox and writes so clearly–for those of us not trained in (for example) modal logic. (I’m not suggesting he doesn’t know or use modal logic; I only mean many of his books are free of technical apparatus and yet profoundly insightful and challenging.) Lately I’ve been reading his book God: A Guide for the Perplexed (Oneworld, 2002). Never have I read a book that so helpfully connects philosophy with theology–especially as to the doctrine of God. And it’s a real pleasure to read (sprinkled with anecdotes and cute quips that lighten the material). For example, the section on Hegel’s idea of Absolute Spirit and its influences on Christian theology is unique (in my reading experience) for its clarity and simplicity. I highly recommend God: A Guide for the Perplexed to students of Christian theology–especially those who are looking for guidance to understand how philosophy has impacted the Christian doctrine of God over the centuries.
I recently purchased a book I will soon begin reviewing here and I invite interested people to join me in reading and discussing it. It is Deviant Calvinism: Broadening Reformed Theology by Fuller Seminary professor Oliver Crisp (Fortress Press, 2014). (I saw the book at Fortress Press’s display at the recent AAR/SBL annual meeting in San Diego. I expressed strong interest in reviewing it which usually gets a complimentary copy handed to me. Surprisingly and disappointingly the publisher declined to offer me a copy and made me pay full convention price for it! But, then, I don’t recall that this particular publisher has ever offered me anything complimentary except maybe a piece of candy.)
I haven’t delved into Deviant Calvinism yet, but given Crisp’s reputation and the title and table of contents I can hardly wait. But I will wait to give you time to order and receive the book if you wish to follow along with my reviews here and enter into the discussion. Here is the blurb about the book from its back cover: “Deviant Calvinism seeks to show that the Reformed tradition is much broader and more variegated than is often thought. …” This question about the relationship between “Reformed” and “Calvinism” keeps coming up here–mostly in questions posted to my blog whenever I touch on Calvinism. So join me in finding out what Crisp thinks and discussing his view of “Reformed theology” and Calvinism. I will wait about two weeks to begin discussing the book here so that interested persons can obtain the book and begin reading it.