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Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views Kindle Edition

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Length: 433 pages

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About the Author

Dave Hunt

Dave Hunt is an internationally-known author and lecturer. His bestselling books have been translated into more than forty languages and have sold more than 4 million copies. Mr. Hunt co-hosts his own weekly radio program Search the Scriptures Daily which is broadcast to over 100 stations in the US and worldwide. He and his wife, Ruth, have four children and live in central Oregon.

James White

James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, which is dedicated to defending the historic Protestant position on the sufficiency of Scripture and Salvation. The author of Letters to a Mormon Elder and The King James Only Controversy, and the coauthor of The Same Sex Controversy, White and his wife, Kelli, have two children and live in Phoenix, AZ.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

176 of 222 people found the following review helpful By John Brooks on March 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Here is what you'll get, if you purchase this book:
James White writes a concise, clear summarization of Calvinism, with very little of his usual condescension or sarcasm. He provides small, digestible slices of Greek hermeneutics, grammar analysis, and history. This is a better book than "The Potter's Freedom" to give to a newcomer on the Calvinism/Arminianism debate, because it is not as technical or philosophically heavy.
Dave Hunt's chapters will give you a definite feeling for the typical argument of non-Methodist Arminians.
However, here is why it's also a poor book: Dave Hunt is so illogical, so non-linear, and so invincibly stubborn, that he is just a poor opponant for White. Even after writing his pro-Arminian book "What Love Is This?", Hunt still shows that he has no concept of what Calvinism actually teaches.
In his first positive chapter, meant to affirm what he believes, he chooses to spend the entire chapter smearing John Calvin, still playing the guilt-by-association game by making Calvin out to have been a closet Roman Catholic. It never occurs to Dave Hunt that this book was supposed to be about the generally-Reformed doctrine of salvation, not the Presbyterian view of church and the sacraments. But Hunt's goal is to make you just hate Calvin as a person so much that you will automatically reject Calvin's ideas. The principle that an idea can be true standing on its own, and isn't proven by whether one of its advocates was a nice guy, never seems to occur to Hunt.
Hunt wastes all kinds of time kvetching about Calvin's views of the sacraments.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By William Turner on July 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Other solid reviews have been made of the ill-fated choice of Dave Hunt to represent the Arminian views on the so-called 'Five Points of Calvinism'. As another reviewer stated, I find James White a good selection here and, unlike his normal writings, he is well-controlled and even-handed in his presentation and dialogue with Hunt (for the most part). I think James White gives a clear exposition on consistent, Reformed Calvinism. For this alone the book is worth the buy.

White is consistent in his Reformed exposition of scripture, as well as his responses to Dave Hunt. Though I do not essentially agree with White, I find him clear in what he is saying as he is not putting up a smoke and mirrors routine. This is true, consistent Reformed teaching, not the so-called 'Moderate Calvinism' which then attempts to be played off as a true expression of Calvinism. Post-Reformation Calvinism was explained in clarity by the Westminster Divines and solidified in the Westminster Confession of Faith. This Confession would not agree with the 'Moderate Calvinism' of recent history for it essentially is not Calvinism. I applaud White for his clarity on this area.

Dave Hunt, on the other hand, raises the common theological disagreements with Calvinistic theology and exegesis, and more importantly, the philosophical problems with Calvinism. However, I certainly wish Hunt would have spent more time on each area just mentioned, especially the philosophical dynamic. Hunt is not thorough enough in any of these areas. He engages more in the historical issues of the lives and legacies of Augustine and Calvin than essentially responding to White. Hunt spends too much time with emotional arguments that lack stronger substance. Though not a Calvinist, I feel these criticisms of Hunt are justified.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John Gardner on May 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
The premise of this book is interesting: Two prominent Christian authors, who have very different theological views, publishing a book together in an attempt to clearly articulate the opposing sides of the age old debate about the system of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) known as "Calvinism". The book is presented as a written-word formal debate, where each author writes half the book. Each point is presented, followed by a response, a defense, and closing remarks from each writer. The debate was over what Calvinists call the "doctrines of grace", known by the acronym TULIP: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints.

White presents the Calvinist viewpoint, while Hunt represents an (though certainly not the only) opposing view. From a debating standpoint, the two were not a good match. White is by far the stronger debater, as Hunt rarely (if ever) responds directly to White's points. Regardless of one's personal views of Calvinism, I believe an objective judge of debates would have to award the "win" to White.

That being said, my personal views on soteriology were neither changed nor strengthened by this debate. I can't say that I recommend the book, though White's explanations of the five points of Calvinism are a good introduction to the doctrines of grace for someone who may never have given them consideration.
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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
White offers a narrow but deep argument for his position and careful rebuttle of select points. Hunt offers a more shallow argument but in doing so touches on many points. It's my opinion that Hunt entered into this debate with a preconception of Calvinism which is inaccurate and as a result spends much of his time striking at charictatures. White draws attention to this but time and again the Arminian perspective attacks points that never emerge from the Calvinist camp.
Regardless, Hunt and White have produced a work that is entertaining and yet informative. Hunt's view on freewill is interesting though he does not, in my opinion make a very strong case for it. White presents the classical Calvinist doctrins with equal zeal.
Unintended is that this book gives you a debate to study. Argumentation developes, is struck down, rebuilt and the reader appealed to directly to consider the argumentation methods of the opponent. This synergy of the two authors gives this book unique appeal in my eyes.
Of course, everyone want's to know "who won," to which I believe it is White. I think that Hunt's breadth of argumentation robbed him of any depth and so if there was a solid argument to be established, it was never realized. While Hunt's rehtoric might be more appealing it does not contain White who repeatedly topples core arguments of his opponent and is allowed to retain most/all of his own core arguments.
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