Offsite Review: Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher

Critiquing someone that you mostly agree with is one of the hardest things to do well.  But I think it is important that groups (of whatever sort) try to challenge people they mostly agree with.

Killing Calvinism by Greg DutcherFor instance, it is easy to see the problems in an argument of a person that you do not agree with.  But if the point is to help grow a person (or strengthen a movement) then you need to challenge them in a way that they can hear and understand.

So I really respect someone like Tim Challies helping to publish and then enthusiastically reviewing a book that challenges some of the problems within the Calvinist movement.  Someone inside the movement can do a lot more to shape and strengthen Calvinism than an outsider like Roger Olsen can.  From the review, it looks like Greg Dutcher in his new book, Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology From the Inside, has managed to find the balance to a loving critique that is actually intended to strengthen, not harm.

I am often asked to comment on Calvinistic theology and its impact on my life. I was raised in the Reformed tradition and continue to hold fast to the tenets of Calvinism, but always try to distinguish between Calvinism as a kind of theological shorthand, a means of summarizing a lot of theology under a single word, and Calvinism as a banner to rally around. I advocate the former and shy away from the latter.

Greg Dutcher is a Calvinist pastor who is concerned about some of what he sees in today’s New Calvinism. Calvinism is “in” today; this is a cause for joy for those who, like me, believe that Reformed theology is a pure and accurate expression of New Testament theology, but with Calvinism’s trendiness come certain dangers and challenges. Some time back Dutcher approached me to ask if Cruciform Press would be interested in publishing a book that would look at a series of ways that we, today’s Calvinists, might destroy what the Lord appears to be doing. His proposal was intriguing and I passed it to the decision-makers. Cruciform went on to publish Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside. Though I looked at the initial proposal I deliberately chose not to read it until several months after publication. In fact, I only read it in full yesterday. (A long-delayed flight gave me a lot of time.)

continue reading the rest of the review at Challies.com

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