Why I Am Not a Calvinist  -     By: Jerry L. Walls, Joseph R. Dongell
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Why I Am Not a Calvinist

Inter-Varsity Press / 2004 / Paperback

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Product Description

What's wrong with Calvinism? Since colonial days, Calvinism has dominated evangelical thought in America. It has been so well established that many Christians simply assumed it to be the truest expression of Christian doctrine. But Calvinism has some serious biblical and theological weaknesses that unsettle laypeople, pastors, and scholars alike. God is sovereign. All evangelical Christians--whether Arminians or Calvinists--have no doubt about this fundamental truth. But how does God express his sovereignty? Is God a master puppeteer, pulling our strings? Or has he graciously given his children freedom to respond to his love? In this eminently readable book, Jerry L. Walls and Joseph R. Dongell explore the flaws of Calvinist theology. This book is a must-read for all who struggle.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 230
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 2004
Dimensions: 8 1/4 X 5 1/2 (inches)
ISBN: 0830832491
ISBN-13: 9780830832491
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

What's wrong with Calvinism? Since the Reformation, Calvinism has dominated much of evangelical thought. It has been so well established that many Christians simply assume it to be the truest expression of Christian doctrine. But Calvinism has some serious biblical and theological weaknesses that unsettle laypeople, pastors and scholars alike. God is sovereign. All evangelical Christians--whether Arminians or Calvinists--have no doubt about this fundamental truth. But how does God express his sovereignty? Is God a master puppeteer, pulling our strings? Or has he graciously given his children freedom to respond to his love? In this eminently readable book, Jerry L. Walls and Joseph R. Dongell explore the flaws of Calvinist theology. Why I Am Not a Calvinist is a must-read for all who struggle with the limitations of this dominant perspective within evangelical theology.

Author Bio

Jerry L. Walls is professor of philosophy of religion at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. His annual C. S. Lewis seminar is one of the school's most popular offerings. He is also author of Dongell is professor of biblical studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Editorial Reviews

"Without the usual rancor, hysteria and triumphalism, Walls and Dongell offer a clear and forceful biblical and philosophical case for Arminianism. This book is a welcome and important contribution to the recent upsurge in discussions of Calvinism and Arminianism."
"The biblical, theological and rational case against Calvinism has never been stated more clearly, concisely, irenically or convincingly."
"Walls and Dongell present an exceptional blend of careful scholarship, readable presentation, uncompromising conviction, and graceful opposition in their forcefully argued book Why I Am Not a Calvinist. Points that make this a book well worth buying and reading include the following: The book demonstrates well the often overlooked fact that the issues between Calvinism and Arminianism are not primarily exegetical but theological and even philosophical. This task is ably accomplished by the combination of an exegetical scholar and a theological philosopher in the authorial team--an ideal amalgamation for such a book. The book clearly identifies and explains the most powerful problems for Calvinism--conceptual problems with the notion of freedom, logical consistency problems and problems of ingenuous application of Calvinist theology to Christian life. While clearly and unapologetically non-Calvinist, the authors are most assuredly not anti-Calvinist. Their treatment of Calvinism and Calvinists is always in the spirit of Christian love, acceptance, understanding and unity. The book is very timely, given the central debates in contemporary conservative and evangelical theology and the resurgence of pro-Calvinist sentiment over the last two decades."

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    October 27, 2009
    Gary Zell
    A great book. I really enjoyed reading and learning from this book. The book is very readable and logical in its format. I had read "Choosen By God" which logically lays out the view of John Calvin. This was writen equally as well but show the other side of the doctrine of "free will". If you are interessed in this subject at all you should read this book. You don't have to be a Bible scholar to be able to learn from and enjoy this book.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    June 19, 2009
    Tim Gray
    I loved this book for many reasons. Right off the bat the authors make a crucial point: While the debate between Calvinist and non-Calvinist is seemingly always framed as a struggle over God's sovereignty verses man's free will, the most fundamental dispute is really over the character of God. I've read several books explaining the history and theology of Calvinism, but I've never seen the philosophy behind it so thoroughly explained. This is important because it helps one not only understand the idea behind Calvinistic theology but also how the Calvinist interprets text and, in my opinion, often comes to the wrong conclusion on the most important doctrines of the faith. The authors were very respectful to those holding a Calvinistic view-almost to the extreme-and I think this book would be valuable to anyone struggling with the debate. Great read!
  3. 1 Stars Out Of 5
    January 10, 2009
    Zach Garris
    This book was an interesting read but a rather poor critique of Calvinism. As with most Arminians, the authors prefer to argue on the grounds of philosophy rather than Scripture. There is only one chapter on the Bible, in which the authors attempt to explain away Ephesians 1, John 6, and even Romans 9. They barely address these passages and their explanations are rather puzzling. The fact is, Calvinism is a biblical doctrine. If that is the case, then no book can properly explain away these doctrines. But if you are looking for an Arminian book that deals with the top arguments put forth by Calvinist, this book is not your best bet.
  4. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    October 25, 2008
    Ricci
    An outstanding book and I say that in light of the fact that I still lean towards the Calvinist view. I thought the subject was handle great. The authors did not set out to be abusive towards any one and did a wonderful job of explaining not only their view but the views of others as well. I really enjoyed studying my way through it. Good luck with chapter 3! If you miss it (as I did in most cases) you will have a hard time with the rest of the book. I like the first half better than the second half. I can only hope that the sister book, Why I am not an Arminian is as well written.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 11, 2007
    Don Beehler
    Why I Am Not a Calvinist is a serious yet respectful challenge to Reformed theology. Walls and Dongell, both seminary professors, quickly zero in on the central issues: Gods character, how He expresses His sovereignty and whether He makes a bona fide offer of salvation to everyone. They then proceed to make their case in a thoughtful, logical and biblical manner. One criticism of Calvinism is that it goes beyond what the Bible says, so that whosoever will actually means whosoever can; all, any and everybody are code words for the elect; and world, well, really isnt world. Throughout the Bible God calls all people to repent, yet Calvinists believe He withholds from some the grace that makes it possible to do so. Accordingly, the true intentions of God cannot be discerned from his words (p. 57). The authors make a persuasive case that a truly sovereign God could have created the world in any way He wished, including giving man free will, and still be sovereign over His creation. In fact, one could argue that non-Calvinists hold to a higher view of Gods sovereignty because they understand that "Less control is not the same as less sovereignty if God chooses to have less control" (p. 145).The authors also point out that Calvinists cannot know for certain they are part of the elect, and therefore whether they are truly saved, which contradicts verses like I John 5:13 These things I have writtenthat you may know that you have eternal life. Why I Am Not a Calvinist raises important biblical and philosophical questions about Calvinism. While I dont agree with every point, Im impressed with the books overall tone, which serves as a model for how fair-minded Christians with differing theological persuasions can have constructive dialog with one another. Critics may not like or agree with what the authors have written, but they will be hard pressed to make a credible case that Walls and Dongell dont understand Calvinism.
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