Saturday, November 07, 2009

Calvinism Resources

While I do not normally promote that I am a Calvinist like some kind of badge, or enjoy using labels that can bring confusion, I think some of the following resources would be helpful to any Christian thinking about the topic.

First, a great place to start is with J.I. Packer's introductory essay to John Owen's, "The Death of Death in The Death of Christ,". Not only will this give you an accurate account of the origins of the 5-points of Calvinism, but Packer makes a solid and winsome argument for Calvinism. I would not, however, recommend Owen's book for a beginner which is why I have provided a link to the introduction.

Next, after establishing the history and basic framework of Calvinism it would be good to read two well studied men debate the finer points of Calvinism. In the book, "Debating Calvinism," I found many of my knee jerk objections to Calvinism made by Dave Hunt and then promptly destroyed by Jame White. This is a fantastic read for people on both sides of the fence.

Now, by this point you are either going to be strongly against, leaning toward, or convinced. If you are either of the two latter then, "The Sovereignty of God," by A.W. Pink would be a great book to read next. Pink is exhaustive, scholarly, but very easy to understand. I suppose this would be good if you are still strongly against Calvinism but open to hearing one of the most lengthy arguments for its main foundation.

After this much reading you are either going to walk away from Calvinism or agree with it and want to know more. It is at this point I recommend J.I. Packer's, "Knowing God," due to its rich content and laymen level of reading. This was probably the most influential book in my life as it dealt with my ignorance and many questions about God. The book is not a treatise on Calvinism, however Packer's Calvinistic convictions are quite obvious throughout the pages of this wonderful book.

Now it is time to place all this information within a solid framework . The best book for this is, "Systematic Theology," by Wayne Grudem. This is yet another rich resource of scholarly information put into the language of the laymen. Grudem also has lectures available in the iTunes store podcast section to couple the reading of his book with lectures he has given on each chapter.

Finally, a shorter and less "classroom" like approach to the broad area of theology. John L. Dagg's, "Manual of Theology," is a wonderful resource for concise and readable chapters on theology. I describe Dagg's writing as more devotional or conversational than Grudem. Both, however, are very helpful in dealing with biblically defining and defending Calvinism and other theological issues.

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