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47 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Alternative
Laurence M. Vance has gone to considerable lengths to present a historically accurate, well documented account of the sustainers and retractors of Calvinism, the events that led up to its being accepted as the 'standard' it has become over the centuries, and his own understanding as to how this all plays out in the light of Scripture. Unlike most other works of its kind,...
Published on December 11, 2000 by Andrew C. Livengood, Sr.

versus
49 of 69 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars sometimes good, sometimes bad, often quirky
For several years now, I've grown increasingly discontent with Calvinist theology and have been looking for a good treatise to systematically present the alternative viewpoint. I was excited to hear about this book that is now in its second edition.
The book certainly is comprehensive and covers all the important material. Early on the book seems to put too much...
Published on May 10, 2003


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47 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Alternative, December 11, 2000
This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
Laurence M. Vance has gone to considerable lengths to present a historically accurate, well documented account of the sustainers and retractors of Calvinism, the events that led up to its being accepted as the 'standard' it has become over the centuries, and his own understanding as to how this all plays out in the light of Scripture. Unlike most other works of its kind, in 'The Other Side of Calvinism' Dr. Vance quotes a vast number of supporters of Calvinism - including John Calvin himself - and utilizes their own words to bolster and enforce his counter-points. To this end Dr. Vance also succeeds in conveying to the reader that there exists much confusion among the Calvinist rank and file. As noted within the book, this fact is not without its import.
A down-to-earth writing style, exhaustive endnotes, Scriptural references, and large appendices do much to secure the reader and encourages one to recognize that this is a work that expects personal conclusions to be based upon a process of reasoning and Biblical validation, not general presumption. Dr. Vance takes nothing for granted in presenting the comparison of his views to those of Calvinism and its supporters.
Whether one upholds the system or not, 'The Other Side of Calvinism' will undoubtedly leave the majority of its readers challenged and well informed.
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking God out of Calvin's Box, January 21, 2008
This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
Vance's book is a thorough refutation of the doctrinal system called Calvinism. If your authority is Scripture, not some one's man-made system, this book will show you without a doubt that the doctrines of limited atonement, irresistible grace, and total inability are simply incompatible with the Bible and turn Jesus Christ into a disingenuous speaker of Clintonian proportions.

The protestations by Calvinists that Vance and other authors "misrepresent Calvinism" are simply laughable. One of the reasons that Vance's book is such a massive tome is because he spends so much paper letting the Calvinists speak for themselves.

That we have enough different Calvinist apologetics books to create a new continent in the Pacific is evidence enough that something seriously lacks in the "logic box" of John Calvin's mind. Vance does an admirable job distilling Calvinist positions down to a readable quantity without distorting their positions. And I should know -- I was once a hard-line Calvinist.

Complaints that all refutations of Calvinism inherently distort Calvinism ring just as hollow as the same exact arguments by evolutionists who complain that anyone denying evolution doesn't understand it.

Don't let the negative reviews persuade you to ignore this book. Read it.
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80 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Dr. Vance, May 20, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
I had some questions about predestination and got some books by RC Sproul from our church library. After reading them, I was fairly convinced of the rightness of Reformed theology when a Baptist friend loaned me this book by Dr. Vance.
There is simply no way I can express my thanks to Dr. Vance. I know now for certain that Calvinism is a man made doctrine. Dr. Vance not only analyzes Calvinism from a Biblical perspective, but also from a historic perspective. It comes up short in both areas.
Another reviewer said that Dr. Vance doesn't know theology. I don't know about that, but he sure knows the Bible! This book is saturated with Biblical references. Every argument is supported by scripture upon scripture. I often thought Sproul took some leaps in logic when he discussed scripture such as "whosoever will" and the like. Dr. Vance, on the other hand, seems content to "let God be true, and every man a liar."
I have a Ph.D. in history and I was pleased to find Dr. Vance so careful and meticulous in his references. I only wish he could have taken the time to provide an annotated bibliography rather than just a cursory list of references which goes on for page after page.
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98 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Calvinism Exposed as an Unbiblical System, March 3, 2002
By 
Michael T. (Charlotte, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
Dr. Vance gets 5 stars for this important work.
I was once an ardent Calvinist -- supralapsarian, no air, die-hard John Gill-style predestinarian. I heard the logic of the 5 points over and over again and was ready for any objection from the irrational fool who would dare challenge the system. Eventually I saw some cracks in the system not only when held up to the light of Scripture but also as I observed that members of the 5-point community displayed some of the most intolerant and rancorous behavior one could imagine as they attacked one another in various media - especially the Internet.
I frequently participated in food fights among the Calvinistic "brethren" over the web which included charges of "antinomian," "heretic," "apostate," "romanist," as reconstructionists, covenantors, various reformed groups, sovereign gracers, Amyraldians(the real heretics) lashed out to defend the purity of their own calvinistic stances. Almost all arguments boiled down to "my interpretation of the Doctrines of Grace is better than yours,"...believe it, the level of ego casualty in the 5-point clique is beyond measure.
Later, I came across this book titled "The Other Side of Calvinism" and decided to investigate it so I could blast the heretic who would dare challenge the citadel of Calvinism. The book is sourced from thousands of statements by Calvinists as the author examines the validity of the teachers and tenents of this philosophical system. In a thorough and convincing manner, this book shows the the conclusion is a resounding "unbiblical" and it has the Calvinist community hopping mad. I see lots of "poison the well" comments and name calling in the book reviews from my old fraternity but they cannot escape the facts.
As Dr. Vance puts it "Calvinists have one thing in common: God, by a sovereign, eternal decree, has determined before the foundation of the world who shall be saved and who shall be lost. To obscure the real issue, a vocabulary has been invented to confuse and confound the Christian. The arguments about supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism, total depravity and total inability reprobation and peterition, synergism and monergism, free will and free agency, common grace and special grace, general calling and effectual calling.....are all immaterial. The stumbling block for the Calvinist is the SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION (emphasis mine), so upon rejecting this, a SYSTEM (emphasis mine) has to be constructed whereby salvation is made a mysterious, arcane, incomprehensible decree of God. Thus, the basic error of Calvinism is confounding election and predestination with salvation, which they never are in the Bible but only in the philosophical speculations....of calvinism."
I guess my problem with Calvinism today is the fact that one has to be TAUGHT it as a system. Its main tenets do not readily appear from a plain reading of Scripture. Calvinistic soteriology of the extreme variety where intensive interpretation of the 5 points is hammered into a system takes lots of INFERENCE from different passages collected together and presented as a product of inductive reasoning -- this is what the Bible teaches about: SALVATION.
Unfortunately the problem with inductive reasoning is that unless you complete the induction and collect ALL that the Bible says about a topic, you are likely to arrive at a false conclusion. Calvinists do this very thing for they select their favorite verses and repeat them over and over (Acts 13:48, John 6:37,44) and throw them together out of context and IGNORE the verses that teach against their system like 1 Tim 2:4, 2 Pet 3:9 and others. They also enter theories into their system that are not taught in the Bible. As A.W. Tozer once said, "the essence of idolatry is to imagine things about God and then preach them as truth" and Calvinism is guilty of this very charge.
Therefore, Calvinists spin out abstruse and academic theories like Covenant of Redemption, the Covenant of Grace, Supra-infra-sub-lapsarianism, -- theories that are typically not arrived at by the typical believing student of the Bible. No, it takes theological eggheads the like late Augustine, John Gill, or Beza to develop and teach theories like these and teach them as biblical soteriology. The result is a loss of Biblical truth for some vain and extreme traditions of men.
The author is no Arminian either. He holds to holds to assurance but disputes the intensive interpretations of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Irresistible Grace, or Limited Atonement. His Biblical conclusions are then railed out by the theological elites of Calvinism to be arminian and heretical.
I find it interesting that these 5-pointers are constantly lamenting that their system is misunderstood -- let alone the fact we are flooded with materials about how the system works. It is much more likely that more and more people are seeing that it is impossible to live consistently within the strict and extreme framework of 5-point Calvinism for it would be impossible to communicate the Gospel to anyone and God would be misrepresented as a grotesque, sadistic, and capricious monster -- all just and no love. The attributes of God, however, cannot be logically separated so the system of extreme calvinism skews God's justice over His omnibenevolence and thus misrepresents God in the worst way.
Everyone Christian should read this book -- especially Baptists. Buy it, study and highlight it, and then go share the Gospel with "whosoever will." I also recommend "Chosen But Free" by Norman Geisler.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellenct and definative work on Calvinism, October 14, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
This is the most thorough and exacting work on Calvinism I have ever read. It is complete with the Historical origin of Calvinism, modern views and teachings of Calvinism, and examines the scriptures used to prove and disprove this belief. It is a must for any Library.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out Calvinists, here comes Vance!, September 7, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
Vance has written the best book on Calvinism to date by a Baptist author. He explores every argument of the Calvinist and leaves no stone unturned. Vance shows clearly from the Bible that Jesus died for every single person in the world, and each person has the free will to accept or reject God's offer of salvation. Vance defends eternal security and yet shows how the Calvinists misapply the doctrine to fit into their TULIP system. With the onslaught of Calvinism into Southern Baptist ranks, every SBC member should get this book!
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38 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catching the greased pig, August 17, 2009
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This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
I have pretty close to every book on this subject.
And this work by Dr. Vance tops them all.
It is sweet reading!!

I've known for years how Plato's doctrine of divine immutability was embraced into the church and the theological repercussions of it.
But I also know from personal experience that to catch a calvi in his labyrinth of 5-point-gesis is like catching a greased pig.

In MHO Dr. Vance catches the pig good!
If you've looked over the myriad of spider-web arguments used to twist scripture into this man-made, man-glorifying theology which morphs the character of God and satan together, you'll love this book.
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tirade Against Calvinism, March 16, 2009
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This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
This book is a must for any student of Scripture whose theological leanings do not include the tenets of Calvinism. In an exhaustive fashion, Vance's 788 page magnum opus, "The Other Side of Calvinism" not only demonstrates Calvinism's flaws from a scriptural standpoint but also uses Calvinistic primary sources and refutes those philosophically-based arguments.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Alternative, December 11, 2000
This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
Laurence M. Vance has gone to considerable lengths to present a historically accurate, well documented account of the sustainers and retractors of Calvinism, the events that led up to its being accepted as the 'standard' it has become over the centuries, and his own understanding as to how this all plays out in the light of Scripture. Unlike most other works of its kind, in 'The Other Side of Calvinism' Dr. Vance quotes a vast number of supporters of Calvinism - including John Calvin himself - and utilizes their own words to bolster and enforce his counter-points. To this end Dr. Vance also succeeds in conveying to the reader that there exists much confusion among the Calvinist rank and file. As noted within the book, this fact is not without its import.
A down-to-earth writing style, exhaustive endnotes, Scriptural references, and large appendices do much to secure the reader and encourages one to recognize that this is a work that expects personal conclusions to be based upon a process of reasoning and Biblical validation, not general presumption. Dr. Vance takes nothing for granted in presenting the comparison of his views to those of Calvinism and its supporters.
Whether one upholds the system or not, 'The Other Side of Calvinism' will undoubtedly leave the majority of its readers challenged and well informed.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PERHAPS THE MOST EXTENSIVE MODERN CRITIQUE OF CALVINISM, May 23, 2012
This review is from: The Other Side of Calvinism (Hardcover)
Laurence M. Vance is an director of the Francis Wayland Institute, as well as a prolific author of books such as Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this revised 1999 edition, "The doctrines of Calvinism... are detrimental to evangelism, personal soul winning, prayer, preaching, and practical Christianity in general..." After commending the Calvinist for his insistence on the complete ruin of man in the Fall, and salvation by grace as the only hope for a depraved sinner, Vance adds, "What we reject is the other side of Calvinism: the philosophical speculations of Total Depravity and theological implications of Total Inability." (Pg. 239)

He suggests that "this arbitrary division of men into either Calvinists or Arminians is the strength of the Calvinistic system." (Pg. 9) He notes that since even Calvinistic Baptists agree that Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Edwards were wrong about infant baptism, "Does it not stand to reason that they could correspondingly be wrong on predestination as well?" (Pg. 15) Later, he asks, "if there exists even the slightest possibility that a man could believe, the doctrine of Total Depravity falls by the wayside." (Pg. 238)

He calls the confounding of election and predestination with salvation the "basic error of Calvinism" (pg. 245), and charges that by "arbitrary capriciousness," the Calvinist God condemns men to eternal punishment "for no other reason than his sovereign good pleasure." (Pg. 258) In contrast, even though election is supposed to be sovereign and unconditional, "Calvinists as a rule would insist that all children who die in infancy are part of the 'elect.'" (Pg. 397)

He asserts that Calvinists "talk out of both sides of their mouth when they try to uphold Calvinism and the importance of preaching the Gospel." (Pg. 541) He suggests that the more consistently a man practices Calvinism, "the less evangelistic he becomes." (Pg. 550)

This strong critique---which heavily quotes Calvinist sources---is essential reading for anyone wanting to learn more about the counter-arguments to Calvinism.
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The Other Side of Calvinism
The Other Side of Calvinism by Laurence M. Vance (Hardcover - August 5, 1999)
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