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Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today's World Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

What do the Canons of Dordt mean to people in the Las Vegas airport—and does anyone there even care? In the movie Hardcore, a pious Calvinist elder tries unsuccessfully to explain the TULIP theology of his Dutch Reformed faith to a prostitute in the Las Vegas airport. This incongruous conversation demonstrates how Calvinism is often perceived today: irrelevant, harsh, even disrespectful.

Beginning with this movie scene, Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport addresses the weaknesses of Calvinism and points to its strengths. How does Calvinism shed light on today? Instead of reciting the Canons of Dordt, what’s a more compassionate way to relate to nonbelievers? What might it look like to live out the doctrines of TULIP with gentleness and respect? This conversational book provides answers and shatters some stereotypes.

Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport encourages you to live every aspect of life—business, family, education, politics, activities, and more—before the face of a generous, sovereign God. Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike will find this an enjoyable read. You will discover that Reformed theology can speak relevantly and compellingly today, both to you and to people in the Las Vegas airport.

Does Calvinism Have Anything to Do with the 21st Century?

What do you think about Calvinism? Do you view it positively or negatively? Or has its day passed?

Let’s face it, many non-Calvinists hold a less-than-positive view, sometimes due to caricatures. This friendly, conversational book helps clear up some misconceptions and distorted views. If you’re not a Calvinist, here is an engaging inside look. And if you are a Calvinist, Richard Mouw shows how to live gently and respectfully with others—Christians and non-Christians—who hold different perspectives.

Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport focuses not on what Calvinists believe but on how they live. From a movie scene to the author’s personal experiences in Las Vegas, you are invited to travel with Mouw and see the Reformed faith in a new light. Yes, it still does travel well!

About the Author

Richard J. Mouw (PhD, University of Chicago) is president and professor of Christian philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is a columnist and the author of numerous books.

Product Details

  • File Size: 264 KB
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (December 21, 2010)
  • Publication Date: December 21, 2010
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004BA51EA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,618 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Richard J. Mouw (PhD, University of Chicago) is president and professor of Christian philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is a columnist and the author of numerous books.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Robert G. Leroe VINE VOICE on January 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
With some trepidation and the consent of my Diaconal board, I am about to do a sermon series on the 5 Points of Calvinism, something I never dared in my collective Protestant military chaplain days. Since the doctrines of grace are an integral part of our theology, they should be preached. But how does one relate "heavy" theology to the person in the pew? How can I keep it from becoming an intellectual exercise? Just as I was preparing and pondering, Fuller Seminary President Richard J. Mouw's book hit the market, with what has to be the religious book "title of the year". Mouw takes a scene from a movie in which a Reformed layman explains TULIP to a non-religious young woman. He summarized the points, but they failed to hit the mark. She left bewildered by what seemed an imponderable system. Mouw wants to help Calvinism into the 21st Century by making it relevant to life, and by examining how we may best convey its teachings. He wants considers how to reach that woman in the airport. He covers the 5 points, deals briefly with the problem of pain, confesses his own struggles, and calls for pluralistic dialogue with charity and tolerance. Calvinism is an intellectually stimulating approach, so it's important that we stress the closeness of our walk with Christ along with the rightness of our doctrine. I recommend this to fellow Calvinists who want a fresh look at our beloved system of thought.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By PhilThreeten on April 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I grew up in a Reformed family, in a Reformed church, in a Reformed school. I was eating TULIP before I was drinking milk! So, its somewhat an enigma for those who know me that I have such reservations about Calvinism. I have tried talking on blogs about these reservations but mostly get responses that don't further endear me to a Calvinist mindset.

But Mouw's book is different. Richard Mouw accomplishes exactly what he sets out to do in this book - a description of how best to be a Calvinist in the 21st century. I could almost entirely embrace Mouw's form and approach to Calvinism - which is no small statement for me to make!!

He does not spend a tremendous amount of time discussing the intricacies of the doctrine which will upset some. He is open to the fact that there may be other believers who have some mixed up doctrine but will still be saved - and he is open to hearing their concerns about where his doctrine might be mixed up. That will upset others. He admits that Scripture, taken at face value, says things that are in tension with his theology. He accepts these tensions rather than trying to twist Scripture to fit his theology. Some will gnash their teeth over this.

I get the sense that Mouw is the type of person that I could sit down with and I would be impressed with his humility, spiritual maturity, humor, and flexibility. That would not only make me willing to listen to what he has to say about Calvinism - I might even be drawn to it!

Ignore the comments that say this is not a book worth buying. The book is not designed to teach people the basic beliefs of Calvinism. However, it would be very helpful to those who recognize that there is great good in Calvinism but can't completely wade their way through it.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Roger N. Overton on September 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
If there's one thing that Calvinists are especially not good at, it's explaining themselves in a way in which non-Calvinists could possibly understand them. This is one reason why it took me some time to become a Calvinist- none that I'd talk to bothered to articulate the "Doctrines of Grace" in a way that made sense to my Arminianist ears. Richard Mouw cites an example of this played out in the movie Hardcore. A pious Calvinist, Jack, is waiting in the Las Vegas airport with Niki, a pagan prostitute. They begin to discuss what Jack's beliefs are and he expounds on the great truths of the Canons of Dort summed up in TULIP. Niki is bewildered and Jack simply says, "Well, I admit it's a little confusing when you look at it from the outside. You have to try to look at it from the inside."

This scene in the Las Vegas airport sets the stage for Richard Mouw's book. There are at least two problems with the way Calvinists represent themselves to the world, including other Christians, according to Dr. Mouw. The first is the expression of doctrine and the general inability to explain Calvinist theology. "I believe that TULIP, properly understood, captures something very central to the gospel. And I want to bring that gospel to Niki and her kind." (14) The second problem is more along the lines of character. "I must also say up front that it isn't just in our conversations with unbelievers that I find many Calvinists lacking in gentleness and respect. I even find these qualities missing in Calvinists' interactions with other Christians. Indeed, Calvinists are often not very gentle and respectful when debating fine points of doctrine with fellow Calvinists." (15)

Dr. Mouw first sets the stage by noting why he considers himself a "Calvinist" and how he became one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Trevin Wax on October 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Richard Mouw's Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport (Zondervan, 2004) should be read by every Reformed-leaning Southern Baptist. No, he does not dot his "i's" and cross his "t's" like strict Calvinists. Neither does he offer much of a biblical defense for his Calvinist heritage. But we could all learn from the gentle tone of Mouw's writing. Mouw exemplifies in this book the humble spirit that is often missing among Calvinists.

Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport begins with the scene from the movie Hardcore, in which a man tries to explain the TULIP to a prostitute. Mouw, of course, sees the humor in the film's stark presentation of Calvinist doctrines to someone who needs salvation before a theological treatise. But Mouw unapologetically comes down on the side of Calvinism all throughout the book. What the book becomes is a gentle apologetic for Calvinism that avoids the sterile theological debates in which Arminians and Calvinisms shout out Scripture passages to one another.

Mouw's chapter "Mere Calvinism" is a very helpful summation of Calvinist soteriology, and his willingness to avoid hang-ups over "Limited Atonement" is a breath of fresh air. I also found helpful his description of Kuyper and that stream of Calvinism.

Two problems, however, surface in the book. The first is found in the basis of Mouw's apologetic. Thankfully, he does not engage in the endless battle of Scriptural prooftexts used to justify one position over another. But his alternative is no better. The basis for his apologetic turns out to be personal experience. Several times, he mentions how he feels that Total Depravity is true. He grounds his Calvinist apologetic in experience, and that actually serves to undercut his arguments.
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