Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ten Myths About Calvinism

Ten Myths About Calvinism

Ten Myths About Calvinism
Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition

by Kenneth J. Stewart
InterVarsity Press - IVP, 2011
255 pages, English
Paper, 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780830838981
List Price: $24.00
Your Price: $19.20

I just finished this book yesterday. Like Defending Constantine, which I reviewed yesterday, Nick gave this to me back in June (thanks Nick!); obviously, I'm not the fastest reviewer on the planet :)

First, let me say that I am unabashedly Arminian/Wesleyan. Second, I probably read more Reformed books than most Reformed people—ok, I probably read more books than most people :) Anyway, this is an excellent book. Every Calvinist should read it. And every Arminian would benefit from reading it. It was refreshing to go with the author as he reviewed the widely divergent takes on Reformed theology throughout the last 500 years. In our highly polarized culture of today, it was nice to see that history contains a plurality of Calvinisms.

Stewart's Calvinism is inclusive; he has no time for wall-building to keep people in or out. For him, Calvinism isn't about us versus them, but about trying to understand the workings of God. While I can't agree with him on how he sees those workings, I can appreciate the spirit of his endeavor.

One chapter stood out in particular, probably because it was the only myth I had believed, "TULIP is the Yardstick of the Truly Reformed." I had always been told—by Calvinists, mind you—that to be truly Reformed, you had to buy TULIP. Imagine my surprise to discover that the acronym is not even 100 years old!

I came away from the book having hope for the future. If there are still irenic Calvinist theologians like Stewart, then the future of the church won't have to devolve into pastors who tell people that God hates them and they only exist so God can condemn them, as one prominent Calvinist pastor did recently. That is the kind of love that, as Wesley said, "makes the heart run cold."


That's my 2 cents! said...

I've been reading Dr. Roger E Olson's new book, Against Calvinism. The forward is written my Michael Horton, a well respected Calvinist. Dr. Olson goes to great lengths to treat Reformed theology with respect, balance, and in a way which is a fair presentation of Reformed beliefs. Olson cites a great many very solid and well respected Reformed theologians who are very vocal about their reservations concerning TULIP. Some even call for new reforms which reject most of TULIP.

Like you I was unaware there was so much diversity within the Reformed family. I am really enjoying this book!!


jps said...


That is the next book on my list after the Walton book I am currently reading. It looks very good.


Ken Stewart said...

Dear Bookseller:
Thanks for your irenic review of _Ten Myths_. Self-criticism would do both sides of this old debate a power of good. As the script usually plays out, it is only the opposing side that needs to do penance.
Sadly, the Eisenbrauns link you provide shows that the book is not in stock. Can you do something about that?
Ken Stewart

jps said...


Sure. I can put one on order.