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Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition Paperback – November 1, 2010
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From the Back Cover
"I wish there had been a Jamie Smith to write letters like these to me when I was a young Calvinist. This is a wise and delightfully written portrayal of a robust Calvinism for the twenty-first century."--Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary
"James K. A. Smith winsomely steps into one of the most fascinating conversations in contemporary evangelicalism--the surprising resurgence of Calvinism among younger Christians. Letters to a Young Calvinist is thoughtful, nuanced, provocative, relational, and informed. No one will agree with everything here, but what I appreciated most was Smith's careful insistence that there's much more to being theologically Reformed than believing in the famous (and fabulous!) five points of Calvinism. A thoroughly engaging read!"--Tullian Tchividjian, author, Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels
"Jamie Smith has done a fabulous job articulating a winsome and engaging account of the depth, splendor, and joy of the Reformed tradition. I found much of what I hold dear about Calvinism reaffirmed in these interesting letters and at the same time was delighted to learn new insights that got me excited about the tradition all over again. I hope this book introduces a whole new generation to the richness of the Reformed understanding of the faith."--Jim Belcher, author, Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional
"Most of the time I cheered 'Amen!' as I read these letters, but even when I disagreed, I appreciated Jamie's model of charity and humility as well as conviction. In the midst of all the encouraging energy of the 'New Calvinism' movement, it is also important to say that being Reformed is more than TULIP. These are rewarding and creatively written letters for all of us."--Michael Horton, Westminster Seminary California
"A splendid book that speaks to both head and heart, counseling the 'young, restless, and Reformed' toward growth into a wider and deeper Reformed tradition. . . . This wise and witty book is a delight to read!"--J. Todd Billings, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan
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Top Customer Reviews
Younger Calvinists will receive some sage advice from a seasoned mentor.Read more ›
He has traveled from Plymouth Brethren to Pentecostal and Reformed. He knows popular evangelicalism. This book provides, in part, insights from the journey. As one who has traveled to neocalvinism from traditional anglicanism to free church to house church charismatics I appreciated Smith's helpful advice. As one unfamiliar with the different streams of Reformed in the US I found this a helpful and insightful guide. I particularly appreciated his comments on the different 'Reformed confessions' (Letters XX-XII). He also has some useful comments about the justification 'debate' and Tom Wright.
Thankfully Smith doesn't focus on TULIP, election and predestination - not that they aren't important issues - but there are other issues: 'I have a hard time believing that the denial of limited atonement is the most pressing matter of discipleship right now. We should be more worried about Walmat' (p. 91).
He draws upon Augustine, Calvin and Kuyper and makes an excellent case for the virtues and strengths of the Calvinist position. Calvinism he sees as: 'a lens that magnifies a persistent theme in the narrative of God;s self-revelation: that everything depends on God (p. 14); as an 'Augustinian renewal movement within the church catholic' (p. 40); as a '"region" of Reformed theology' (p. 44); as a counter to 'the rampant gnosticism that characterises North American evangelicalism' (p.Read more ›
"I tried my best to work hard [at the Law], yet God at last turned my course in another direction by the secret rein of his providence. What happened first was that by an unexpected conversion he tamed to receptivity a mind too stubborn for its years--for I was so strongly devoted to the superstitions of the Papacy that nothing less could draw me from such depths of mire. And so this mere taste of true godliness that I received set me on fire with such a desire to progress that I pursued the rest of my studies more coolly, although I did not give them up altogether. Before a year had slipped by anybody who longed for a purer doctrine kept on coming to learn from me..."
And in "Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition" James K.A. Smith (yes many Calvinists enjoy having single letters/initials embedded in their name) provides a winsome and witty volume that provides a very readable outline of many important features of Calvinism. Smith aims at young adults but this work is fine for non-students as well.
Herein Smith discusses:
- Salvation and entrance into the visible church
- Grace alone
- Semper Reformanda
- The importance and delight of being confessional
- "Wide-angle Calvinism"
- Augustine's influence on Reformed thought
- and more.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
James K. A. Smith has written an incredible introduction to a complex theological system. I eagerly commend it to anyone seeking to further understand Reformed faith.Published 5 months ago by Joshua Wester
“Grace all the way down”
Smith avoids the stereotypes of Reformed theology by beginning with creation. Creation is radically dependent on God’s existence (Col. Read more
A friend loaned me his copy, but it was so interesting that I wanted to highlight and dog-ear pages, so I bought one of my own and returned his.Published 14 months ago by Jody H
It is part of my naivetÃ© that I was aware of Letters to a Young Calvinist before I was aware of Hitchenâ€™s or Weigelâ€™s book. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Adam Shields
This an accessible introduction to Reformed faith. Its succinct chapters are ideal for those wondering about how a Reformed theology and worldview is both distinctive and... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Timotheos
Smith's book is so concise. It essentially walked me through my 2 years of exploration into Calvinism through the ministry of John Piper, and my last 2 years of exploration into... Read morePublished on May 13, 2014 by FrankFollower
The author explains Calvinism in a conversational style that believers and unbelievers can easily comprehend. Read morePublished on April 21, 2014 by Duane Sj
Indulge me in a bit of personal background.
During my ministry with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) at Stanford, I became convinced of what is commonly called... Read more
I read this book in one sitting. It was extremely refreshing to dig into the reformed tradition. I thoroughly enjoyed the way it framed the Reformed tradition as a world view that... Read morePublished on April 17, 2014 by EaronJames