Review: “Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition”
Kenneth J. Stewart
IVP, 2011, 256pp., paperback, £14.99
I had expected to disagree with this book more than I did, for it is not the sustained plea for latitude that I had expected. It is divided into two parts: four myths that Calvinists circulate about themselves, and six circulated about them by non-Calvinists. Surveying the historical data, Stewart seeks to demonstrate the excessive narrowness of some Calvinists (defining Calvinism more by our own distinctive expression of it) and the empty caricature painted by some non-Calvinists (confusing association with Calvinism with origination in Calvinism, and sometimes even getting the first wrong). Stewart also suggests that – while there are ebbs and flows, springtides and neap tides – there is a sustained Calvinistic undercurrent in the Christian church (demonstrated here from the late Georgian period on). While we might contend for particular accretions to the Calvinist core, Stewart reminds us that the river is broader than we might imagine, and in doing so stimulates us to consider our own heritage and our attitude to it more intelligently.