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Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed: Black Holes, Love, and a Journey In and Out of Calvinism Paperback – January 13, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


'''Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed' fills a gap in contemporary literature about Calvinism. Here is a young, dynamic, evangelical pastor, well-educated theologically, who discovered the fatal flaws in Calvinism and reluctantly shook it off. This is his story, including his well-articulated reasons for that transformation. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially to people interested in the 'new Calvinism' and why a biblically committed young Christian might bid it adieu.''
--Roger E. Olson, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

''By sharing his own journey in and out of Calvinism, Fischer provides readers with an honest, interesting, insightful, and very compelling critique of the self-absorbed 'black-hole God' of Calvinism. With a disarmingly laid-back style, Fischer crafts a series of clear and astute arguments that demonstrate the unbiblical and irrational nature of each of the central claims of Calvinism. Just as importantly, however, Fischer helps readers discover the humble, other-oriented, self-sacrificial God revealed in Jesus Christ . . .''
--Greg Boyd, Princeton Theological Seminary

''This book tells Austin Fischer's story, and I hope you read it, and I hope you get a bunch of friends to read it together. Talk about it and ask [the] question, . . . ''Is the Calvinist God the God we discover when we look into the face of Jesus, the incarnation of God?'' Austin tells his answers to [this question] at the age many need to begin answering [that] question.''
--Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary
With this book, Austin Fischer brings fresh insights to a very old conversation with a perspective that is at times piercing, at times deeply personal, and always thoughtful and rooted in scripture. He invites readers to wrestle along with him with some tough questions--questions that, no matter where your theological journey takes you, are worth asking with this kind of humility and care.''
--Rachel Held-Evans, Author of Evolving in Monkey Town --Wipf and Stock Publishers

About the Author

Austin Fischer is Teaching Pastor at Vista Community Church. He and his wife, Allison, live in Temple, Texas. He speaks and writes and you can follow him on Twitter @austintfischer or online at

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Cascade Books (January 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1625641516
  • ISBN-13: 978-1625641519
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Austin Fischer is the Teaching Pastor at Vista Community Church in Temple, TX. He is a graduate of Truett Seminary at Baylor University. His first book, "Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed" was published by Wipf and Stock in January 2014. He writes and speaks and you can follow him online at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Joel Perritte on January 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's true, I don't agree with Austin's argument and this book did not change my mind. However, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book would highly recommend it to Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike. In my opinion one thing sorely lacking from the Calvinist vs. free-will theist debate is grace and truth spoken in love. That's unfortunate since the Christ which we all claim to treasure is full of grace and truth (John 1:14,17).

Austin has taken great care to write this book in that spirit. He has also sought to avoid merely seeking to tear down a perspective with which he disagrees without offering something compelling in its place. As a Calvinist, this strikes me as a compelling argument even in disagreement. How can I grow as a Christ-follower if I only subject myself to materials which further confirm my own "confirmation bias?" How can I be gracious in arguing against something I have never taken the time to thoughtfully consider?

Spoiler Alert: Austin's primary argument in this book is to allow the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to give us understanding of what God is like. Jesus himself invited us to do the same (John 1:18) therefore, the centrality of Christ is something about which we can all agree.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By David M Roberts on January 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was biased when I ordered this book and biased when I read it. I definitely did not pick it up intending to be persuaded one way or another. My own theological journey has taken me into depths of what is commonly called the Neo-Calvinist (neo-reformed/neo puritan) movement and now, more recently, has taken me in another direction. And yet I remain indebted to my Calvinist roots in many ways and still find myself challenged and blessed by many of the movement's most prominent voices.

Perhaps that is why Austin Fischer's book resonated with me so well. Not only did I see my own journey in and out of Calvinism reflected in his words, but I also appreciated the irenic tone he takes as he engages with and moves away from his theological past. Make no mistake, Fischer is making an argument in this book. He thinks there is a better reading of the Bible than the one favored by Calvinism (as do I), but he takes care to present the Calvinist position accurately and dialogues with some of the best of both traditional and contemporary Calvinist scholarship, including Edwards, Piper, and one of my personal favorite Calvinist voices, Bruce Ware.

And yet ultimately this book is a polemic over and against a Calvinist reading of scripture. To that end, Fischer provides a host of voices ranging from Greg Boyd and NT Wright, to Jurgen Moltmann and Karl Barth. I especially enjoyed the Barth sections as I feel it's high time that Barth received engagement on a popular level. That said, perhaps the most fitting outside voice, at least for me, is the forward written by Scot McKnight as it was McKnight's recounting of his own journey out of Calvinism on his blog that initiated my pilgrimage out of the Neo-Reformed camp.

Who is this book for? Anyone really.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Khang Duong on January 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
If you're tired of polarizing diatribes and hatchet-jobs about the issues surrounding Calvinism and free-will theism, you will really like this book.

Instead of working through a laundry list of propositions and counter-propositions, this book puts flesh on the whole struggle, telling the story of someone who lived it with a candor and honesty you don't find in books about tendentious theological issues.

The book starts by describing Fischer's "conversion" into Calvinism and I suspect many young, conservative evangelicals will read it and think, "Yea...that's why I became a Calvinist too." In fact, after the first couple of chapters, you wonder how or why he would have changed his mind. He doesn't set up straw men to be burned later. That's why his journey away from Calvinism is so interesting. It doesn't come in one fell swoop but was a process. I won't spoil things, but Fischer's move away from Calvinism wasn't caused by philosophizing but (in a nutshell) Jesus and the Bible. You read it and think, "Yea...I understand why he walked away."

Since Fischer tells the story of why he walked away from Calvinism, it certainly includes criticisms, but I appreciated his attempt to be equally constructive. Ultimately, the book is about Fischer's belief that free-will theism is a better way to tell the Christian story than Calvinism.

It's also well-written. It covers some complex ideas, but is very readable, funny, and moves along at a brisk pace.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rachel1234 on July 12, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book has been so healing for me. I was struggling with Calvinism ... struggling with who my church (calvinist), pastor (calvinist), family (calvinist), friends (calvinist) and every Bible Study group I've attended all say God is. They all seem fine with a God who "creates people to damn them". They chalk it up to God's ways being higher than ours and who are we to question. Well, I'll tell you who we are ..... God says we are the object of His love. And that He desires for us to love Him in return. But someone cannot truly love another if they don't really know them. If God loves me, then He would want me to search for Him and know Him. He would want me to love Him for Who He is ... not for who others say He is. So yes, I will most definitely question other people's opinions about who the God I love is. Especially when they (because of calvinism) make Him out to be a monster. I'm not just going to believe something like that without question because everyone else says so .... it doesn't matter what everyone else says. It only matters what GOD says. Who does God say He is? Calvin is not the gospel. Jesus is.

Having said all that, my journey has so closely paralleled the journey taken by the author of this book that it seemed like on page after page this author has seen into my head and heart, and spoken out loud all my struggles. I'm not going to lie ... I was in a bad place .... angry at God ... furious at Him for what I perceived was His betrayal of me. I had loved Jesus, Who was my Shepherd and loved me back. Then I was confronted with the god of calvinism who only cares about himself and is routinely cruel to his people... an unloving, hateful monster really - who asks us to be more moral than himself. I was brokenhearted. Crushed.
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