A New Book about Calvinism
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Thanks to publisher B&H Academic (formerly Broadman and Holman) I received two complimentary copies of the new volume “Calvinism: A Biblical and Theological Critique” edited by David L. Allen and Steve W. Lemke (2022).
Some years ago I wrote a chapter for this book and it is included under the title “The Character of God in Calvinism” (Chapter 11). Covid 19 interrupted work on the book, delayed its publication, but here, by the grace of God and hard work of Allen and Lemke, it is. It is 541 pages long and includes 14 chapters plus an “Epilogue” about Semi-Pelagianism.
Authors include several notable Arminian scholars including Ben Witherington III (who may not identify as Arminian but is in “my book”). The chapters cover the whole range of topics of debate between Calvinist and Arminians (including many who don’t call themselves Arminians but believe what Arminians believe).
The book is divided into three sections of several chapters each: “A Biblical and Theological Critique of the Soteriology of Five-Point Calvism,” “Historical Issues with Calvinism,” and “Crucial Theological, Biblical, and Ecclesiological Issues with Calvinism.”
Of course, I do think the TOPIC of my chapter is the most important one—the character of God. I can’t count the number of times people have asked me about the main difference between Calvinism and Arminianism and suggested it must be “predestination versus free will.” That’s what Calvinists would like people to think. That is not the most crucial difference; it is the character of God—as I have argued here many times before and as I argue in this chapter.
There is no getting around the fact that in five point Calvinism (and even four point Calvinism) God’s goodness is ambiguous at best and meaningless at worst. The God of five point/four point Calvinism, the God of divine determinism who selects some sinners to save unconditionally and rejects others unconditionally (the selection between them being unconditional) cannot be good in any meaningful sense. He is (or would be) morally ambiguous at best and a monster at worst.
This new volume may be a little “heavy” for the average Christian lay person, but it should be read and studied by all theology students. I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in understanding why Calvinism is just simply wrong.