Book Review: Killing Calvinism – How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside, by Greg Dutcher


Killing CalvinismI have started reading ‘Killing Calvinism – How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside,’ by Greg Dutcher. This book was released by Cruciform Press in June 2012, so I have been reading a new book for a change. Generally I read books that were written many years ago, often several centuries ago, so this was a bit unusual for me. It was however the title of the book, along with a review that I had read somewhere, that drew my attention to it and so I decided to buy it at Amazon in Kindle format.

So reading the book I quickly discovered that it was a very easy book to read, even though it dealt with a subject that was indeed crucial, timely and weighty. Calvinism is the behemoth of Christian theology, being a system of truth that epitomises the teaching of Scripture. It has produced great works of theology, some very technical and verbose in nature. Yet here was a book looking at this system of truth that was easy to read and speaking straight to the heart with great warmth and even humour (yes humour).

However, it would be a mistake to think that this book dealt with Calvinism in a detached manner, somehow separated from the adherent to it. Indeed, this book seeks to penetrate the hearts of the adherents of Calvinism and to strike at the heart of the matter. This is not a book that somehow produces a barren formalism, rather it smashes through formalism and seeks the real Calvinism, one that comes from the inner person regenerated by the spirit of God and transforms the lives of those that profess it. It is a living Calvinism that this book seeks and challenges everything else that claims to be Calvinism, but yet has nothing of its soul. This book is a clarion call for a Calvinism that ignited the hearts of a Calvin, of a Spurgeon and of a Bunyan and desires a turning away from all that is not. I love Calvinism – it leads me to God and the way of life he wishes me to lead and live. This book reminds me of this and for that I am thankful to Him for allowing me to read it. It is as Dutcher describes it, the windscreen of truth that allows me to see God and how he wants me to live for Him.

Buy this book at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Calvinism-Perfectly-Theology-ebook/dp/B0088PBC5G

Book Review: A God Entranced Vision of All Things – The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards


I have started reading ‘A God Entranced Vision of All Things – The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards,’ with John Piper and Justin Taylor as the general editors of the book. It was published in 2004 by Crossway Books and has 275 pages.

This book is a collection of studies on Jonathan Edwards – his life, ministry and legacy. Each chapter investigates some facet of Edwards and each chapter is penned by a different author. The authors of these studies include John Piper, J. I. Packer, Paul Helm and Sam Storms, names widely recognized in reformed circles. The studies are expansions of messages delivered at a Desiring God Ministries conference in October 2003, celebrating 300 years since the birth of Jonathan Edwards.

In my journey through this book, I have thus far reached the end of chapter 2. What I can say is that this book is very easy to read, but difficult to put down. It has the readability that many books associated with Desiring God Ministries have, yet the weightiness of the subject matter does not allow one to just move through the book without serious reflection.

The book doesn’t leave you contemplating the past and Jonathan Edwards in particular, but the God of Jonathan Edwards and leads the reader to a serious contemplation of the glorious God who is all. Edwards life was about God and his enjoyment of Him, and this is the subject of chapter 1, ‘A God-Entranced Vision of All Things: Why We Need Jonathan Edwards 300 Years Later,’ by John Piper. Chapter 2 gives an overview of the life and legacy of Jonathan Edwards in ‘Jonathan Edwards: His Life and Legacy,’ by Stephen J. Nichols. With chapter 3, ‘Sarah Edwards: Jonathan’s Home and Haven,’ by Noel Piper, the subject matters of the first section of the book is dealt with brilliantly, ‘Part 1 – The Life and Legacy of Edards.’ Certainly I can speak to the first two chapters as having achieved that and I have little doubt the third will compliment the first 2.

The treatment of the guiding principles of Edwards’ life and the brief overview of it, leads the reader to the God of Jonathan Edwards and this would surely be the legacy that Edwards would have hoped for.

The Sermons of the Right Reverend Father in God, and Constant Martyr of Jesus Christ, Hugh Latimer, Some Time Bishop of Worcester – Volume 2


I have been working for some time at getting this work of Hugh Latimer up on the particularbaptist.com website. It was previously up on the site in conventional HTML, but that is no longer the case. With this work (and all current and future projects) I have posted the PDF file to Scribd and embedded the document from there into the website with a Scribd provided widget. The book is not yet complete, but as I add to the work revisions of it will be posted to Scribd and the widget automatically updated. The work is available for download via both the widget and at Scribd.

The page devoted to this work at particularbaptist.com within the site’s library simply known as ‘The Book Room,’ has also been updated and the format for it is the design I will now be using throughout The Book Room as books are added (or links to books at other sites). Obviously there is still a lot of work to be done throughout The Book Room, but work is progressing. The entire library site at particularbaptist.com is being overhauled and updated.

I am currently reading this second volume of sermons by Hugh Latimer as I work on the project. I have included a review on the page in The Book Room and this is what I have said there:

‘This book of sermons is like a trip into the past – a trip back to the English reformation. With this book it is possible to get a feel for the times in which the reformer Hugh Latimer walked. The sermons are of course locked into the period, with references to events well known then (and perhaps not so now) and framed in a manner unknown now.’

‘Though preached many years ago, I have found many of these sermons still profitable to my own walk with God now. They are well worth reading, though it must be said they can sometimes be a little difficult to stay with due to the cultural differences, language of the day, etc. Stick with it and these sermons will warm your heart.’

Visit this work online at:
http://particularbaptist.com/library/latimer_sermons_contents.html

‘Calvin for Armchair Theologians,’ by Christopher Elwood


I have now read this book and have found my earlier thoughts sadly confirmed. My first comments on this book on this Blog at:

https://atthebookshelf.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/calvin-for-armchair-theologians-by-christopher-elwood/

So I not only agree with my earlier thoughts on the book, but have even more to say about it. The illustrations (cartoons) I found to be completely inappropriate and the attempts by the author to justify them as irrelevant. There is just no place for the comical depictions of God given in the book.

The treatment of Calvin’s life is disappointing, with not enough detail given to it and some of the important events/incidents in his life are not treated or merely glossed over. It would have been better to have settled on the summary of the Institutes or do a full biography of John Calvin.

I also found the conclusions toward the end of the book disappointing and would suspect Calvin to be turning in the grave as a result of them.

The summary of the Institutes was probably not too bad, but I would have been better served to have read the Institutes rather than this book.

In summary – a very disappointing book that I would not recommend to anyone else to read.