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.
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!
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.
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.
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.