Debating Calvinism by Dave Hunt and James White is one of the latest contributions to a growing number of books exploring the differences between Calvinist and Arminian theology. For Hunt and White, this book represents the culmination of several years of repartee in print, on radio and in person. White wrote The Potters Freedom in 2000 as a reaction to a book by Norm Geisler, Chosen But Free. Hunts book, What Love Is This? followed in 2002 as a response to The Potters Freedom. Other authors have also weighed in on the subject in the past year, and of course, one doesnt need to look too far to find that this topic has generated volumes through the centuries.
The book is formatted in the style of an oral debate, with a chapter each of affirmation, response, defense and final remarks. The points covered are basically those of the five points of Calvinisms TULIP: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. Some readers may find this style a bit difficult to follow; I frequently had to flip back and forth between chapters to see for myself exactly which quote or point was being referenced, but this was not too troubling.
I found James Whites material to be consistently thoughtful; his tone was generally gracious, but he dealt with the topics in an even, measured fashion, and his arguments were cohesive. Dave Hunts tone struck me as abrasive and sarcastic from the opening paragraph. His tone was erratic; at times he was able to make his point clearly, with unemotional, sequential argumentation. But this was not the norm. In places it seems as though he is deliberately trying to miss the point, nowhere more so than in the discussion of assurance and eternal security in chapter fourteen. I was also disturbed by his assertions that those who hold to Calvinist views of election are unconcerned for the lost. He has only to read the works of the men he accuses Piper, MacArthur, Pink, Sproul, Spurgeon and White -- to be ashamed of such a claim.
Because of the repeated charges of misquotation and misrepresentation (leveled by both authors), a careful reader would almost wish to have every reference source cited at hand. I have read many of the books mentioned, and tried to go back to each quote for context, but gave up due to time constraints. A complete bibliography and Scripture reference guide at the end of the book would be a huge bonus. For anyone wanting to seriously consider the debate over Calvinism, this book will not be the final word, but an excellent starting place for further study. Pam Glass, Christian Book Previews.com