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Customer Reviews for Inter-Varsity Press Why I Am Not a Calvinist

Inter-Varsity Press Why I Am Not a Calvinist

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.
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Customer Reviews for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Review 1 for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 27, 2009
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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.
+2points
2of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 2 for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:June 19, 2009
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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!
+3points
3of 3voted this as helpful.
Review 3 for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:January 10, 2009
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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.
-7points
4of 15voted this as helpful.
Review 4 for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:October 25, 2008
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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.
+4points
4of 4voted this as helpful.
Review 5 for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 11, 2007
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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.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 6 for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:August 13, 2006
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Genie
I highly recommend this book to all of those, like myself, who have recently heard and been troubled by this theology (Calvinism) that attempts to place limits on the love and mercy of God, as well as to limit the effect of Christ's sacrifice on the cross for the SINS OF THE WORLD! (Something I would be very afraid to do! Calvinists should indeed be glad that "His mercy endures forever"!) Most Calvinists claim that they embrace this doctrine not out of a feeling of pride at being "one of the elect", but out of a desire to uphold God's glory. I agree wholeheartedly with the authors who point out that "God is truly and fully glorifed when his nature is brought to clearest light and he is properly worshipped and adored. It is noteworthy that in the Old Testament when the temple was dedicated, the Levites praised God by singing of his goodness and everlasting love and mercy. As they did THE TEMPLE WAS FILLED WITH THE GLORY OF GOD."(p.220) (emphasis mine)Once again, an excellent read! The suthors have tried very hard to point out the errors of Calvinism while maintaining a loving attitude toward those who follow and promote this theology. In fact, one of the recommendations on the back of the book is from a professor at Calvin College who writes: "Without the usual rancor, hysteria and triumphalism, Walls and Dongell offer a clear and forceful, biblical and philosphical case for Armenianism." Now that is one statement from a Calvinist with which I can wholeheartedly agree! :>)
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 7 for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 26, 2005
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Daniel
A very thoughtful and insightful argument against Calvinism. While I wouldn't say I agree with everything in this book, I believe their handling of the scriptures is superb. They don't approach this argument from merely a philosophical point of view. They directly address the scriptures that form the cornerstone of Calvinism, placing them in the proper context and explaining why they believe a Calvinistic interpretation is not the best one.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 8 for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:March 24, 2005
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Martin Bartell
Once again, the misunderstanding about Calvinism persists. Either you believe in the sovereignty of God, or you do not! "I have chosen you, " Jesus said, "You HAVE NOT chosen me"!!!This book only adds to the confusion..."While you were DEAD in sin HE made you alive"--Eph. 5Spurgeon said that Calvinism, "...is just a shorthand for the gospel..." Basically, if you are not a Calvinist, you DO NOT BELIEVE THE GOSPEL!!! It is that simple!Want a book that is easy to read on Calvinism?? Try GOD CHOSE TO SAVE, by Joseph M. Bianchi...simple and profound..and illrefutable by "free will" believers.
-11points
1of 13voted this as helpful.
Review 9 for Why I Am Not a Calvinist
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:June 19, 2004
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DARRELL
This is a very good presentation that goes beyond the "mud-slinging" in the two camps. A detailed scriptural refutation of the five points of calvinism. Calvinism reminds me of the pharisees who "compass sea and land to make one proselyte"... calvinism is interested in "converting" people to calvinism, not to God. John 3:16 refutes 2 points of calvinism in just one verse. I pray calvinists will quit shutting the doors to heaven for those that believe, while their elitist group stands guard at the gate. I would hate to face judgement knowing I prevented someone from being saved by preaching limited atonement!
+2points
2of 2voted this as helpful.