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Why I Am Not a Calvinist

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2004

    A D*mned Good Read!

    Walls and Dongell, with this book, make a sharp and welcome contribution to the growing interest in the debate over Calvinism. Their approach is polite enough, but readers take warning - this book touches a nerve. 'Why I Am Not a Calvinist' aims to equip the reader with the philosophical terminology surrounding the issues, while also guiding us through central passages in scripture. Half of the book, Dongell's half, focuses on scripture, but many may be dissatisfied that the book doesn't spend ALL its time on scripture. Part of the tension underlying the Calvinist/Arminian debate is the way that scripture is used. Walls and Dongell take scripture no less seriously (in my thinking) - they simply deal with it in a different way. One critique of the book I've read elsewhere stems from Walls and Dongell's mention of Openness Theism. The authors shouldn't be surprised at the snappish responses, by mentioning Openness Theism they plant a firm, quick kick into the Reformed beehive. Better understood within a Wesleyan, Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox theology, Openness seems anathema to many Protestants. Yet it is not - whatever others may say - heretical. In Walls and Dongell's book, it should be noted, the authors do not even advocate it. They use it, rather, to make a point about sovereignty: namely, that sovereignty can still make sense even under a view like Openness - with its somewhat circumscribed view of the divine attributes. 'Why I Am Not a Calvinist' is a careful, studied work by two academics in full. It's accessible for college students and older, but not for the timid. Walls and Dongell are well-mannered but take no prisoners in the end. It's a good book, but not tame.

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