Monday, May 18, 2009

Book Review - 'The Gospel as Taught by Calvin'

What is Calvinism, and is it Biblical? This question will be asked by many people in the church this year. On the one hand we have the empty rhetoric of so many Arminians and free-willers, who are long on assertions and short on Bible texts taken in context. On the other hand we have little books like this. First published in the 19th century, The Gospel as Taught by Calvin was written by Rev. R.C. Reed. Drawing on Calvin's legacy, Reed sets out the Biblical teaching on grace expertly and with care.
The book opens with an historical section setting out the origins of Calvinism and Arminianism, and then moves on to deal with each of the famed Five Points in turn. He engages with the writings of actual Arminians, so we are not just dependent on his ipse dixit for what Arminians believe, an excellent feature. Even in his day there were some who wanted a 'once saved, always saved' position, but who insisted that man's free will can resist saving grace when he is unregenerate. This position, he notes, is utterly inconsistent with the free-will theology - after all, if free will is so important that God will not infallibly draw men to Himself so that he won't violate free will, doesn't it follow that the saved sinner ought to have the free-will to damn himself again?
The two final chapters are 'Calvinism Tested by Love' and 'Calvinism Tested by Fruit'. In these chapters Reed argues that the historical legacy of Calvinism gives the lie to many of the criticisms levelled against it. This is an excellent little book, and one that every non-Calvinist ought to read. So should every Calvinist, but the non-Calvinists need it more! It is the answer to all those horrible tomes represnted by Dave Hunt's What Love is This?
The Gospel as Taught by Calvin, by R.C. Reed, is published by the Banner of Truth Trust and retails at £ 5.50. It is available from your local Christian bookshop. If you really can't get it at your local bookshop, it is available direct from Banner of Truth.

1 comment:

William Wilson said...

Dear Gervase i must say that it is a good book review on The Gospel as Taught by Calvin And i like it.So i here that you are going to stoke what is the name of the church please that you will review over July and September i take it is Baptist.Have not heard from you in a while and have sent you lots of emails.So when you have time as i know that you are very busy with pastoral duitys and preaching would love to hear from you.
I know that i am a sinner and that christ is a great Saviour. John Newton.
So hopefuly hear from you soon.