The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Review: “Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition”

with 3 comments

Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition

Kenneth J. Stewart

IVP, 2011, 256pp., paperback, £14.99

ISBN 9781844745135

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.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 23 March 2012 at 11:08

Posted in Reviews

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3 Responses

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  1. Jeremy:
    Thanks you for this even-handed review. I think you have caught my intention fairly well in _Ten Myths_. We all need to walk the fine line between ‘fogeyism’ at one extreme (according to which the Calvinist future is nothing but a replay of the past) and capitulation to the current fashion, at the other extreme (according to which historic Reformed distinctives are swept away in an adulation of ‘hip culture’). There is a solid, broadly evangelical Reformed tradition, perfectly viable, which involves no such capitulation(s). Here in the USA, the pressure to go in one direction or the other is very strong.

    Ken Stewart
    Covenant College

    Ken Stewart

    Friday 23 March 2012 at 20:12

    • Hello, Ken. It is very kind of you to drop by and leave a comment. Thanks for your labours in writing this book, which – quite apart from my interaction above – I enjoyed reading. I am relieved to know that you think I have been fair; I can never promise a good review, but I always seek to give an honest one! May God help us to navigate the stream well, helped but not governed by the currents of history unless they guide us into the right channels.

      Jeremy Walker

      Saturday 24 March 2012 at 08:12

  2. […] Review: “Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition” ( […]

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