Book Review: Calvinism

Calvinism (cover)It has been a while since I’ve posted a book review, but since I was asked by a couple of people for a review of this book, I decided I would post it here. I will try to post other reviews from time to time.

The book under consideration is Calvinism: Built on a Foundation of Sand by Kevin Micuch. Below is the description of the book on Amazon:

Have you ever felt like Calvinist believers used a different dictionary when using words like “justification” and “sanctification” and other good, biblical words? So whose definitions are right?

Kevin Micuch takes his years of experience and interaction with advocates of Calvinism, and makes their often-confusing wordings easy to understand. Then he shines the light of Scripture on them, and lets the word of God reveal whether these beliefs are from the Lord, or from man.

Full disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book from the author. However, it was not in exchange for writing a review. It was because I designed the cover.

This book is a little different from other materials I’ve read on the subject. Typically, when brethren address the errors of Calvinism, they will begin with the “TULIP” acronym and address the five major tenets of this doctrine in order (total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints). I have used this approach myself and believe it is helpful in explaining the basics of Calvinism.

Rather than taking this approach (laying out the fundamentals of Calvinism for those who are unfamiliar with it), the author discussed the subject based upon his conversations with Calvinists. I believe this is what makes the book so valuable. Realistically, when we discuss a topic like this with others – particularly those who subscribe to all or most of what John Calvin taught – the discussion is not going to follow a lineal course through the “TULIP” doctrine. Instead, the discussion will revolve around topics like the sovereignty of God, the corruption of man, the work of the Spirit, and so on. If we want to have helpful conversations with those who believe in Calvinism, it is helpful to understand how such a discussion might progress.

One point that jumped out at me – and I have since used this point at least a couple of times during the class I have been teaching on Calvinism – was this: “Ultimately, Reformers’ authority is their philosophy, not Scripture” (p. 96). Why do Calvinists misinterpret so many plain passages of Scripture? It is because they begin with their philosophical beliefs about God, sin, man, and so on; then they project those beliefs onto the Bible.

If you would like to have a better understanding of how to discuss the Bible with Calvinists, I would recommend this book.

This book is available from Amazon – Calvinism: Built on a Foundation of Sand (affiliate link)

Here is a video of the author’s interview on Making the Hedge:

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