- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Cruciform Press (April 18, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1936760533
- ISBN-13: 978-1936760534
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #902,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside Paperback – April 18, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"This book blew me away! Greg Dutcher skillfully diagnosed how I kill the very truth I love by my hypocrisy, pride, anger, and judgmental attitude. This book will serve a young generation of Calvinists. But the older generation had better heed it, too. There's medicine here for all our hearts... -- Thabiti Anyabwile, Author; Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman; Council Member, The Go "www.cruciformpress.com"
About the Author
Greg Dutcher (M.Div., Biblical Theological Seminary) pastored an Evangelical Free Church in Catonsville, Maryland for six years before sensing a call to plant Christ Fellowship Church in Harford County, Maryland. He has served as Senior Minister of Christ Fellowship since its inception in 2003. He is the author of You Are the Treasure That I Seek: But There's a Lot of Cool Stuff Out There, Lord (2009), and Living Free in Enemy Territory: Christ's Triumph over Satan (2011). Greg and his wife, Lisa, have four children.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Greg Dutcher, is for it. Yet, he also warns that Calvinists could easily destroy this good theology from the inside. In his book, Killing Calvinism, Dutcher gives eight ways that Calvinists can throw on the brakes to this resurgence and kill a perfectly good theology. Here are his eight ways that Calvinists can destroy Calvinism
By loving Calvinism as an end in itself
By becoming theologians instead of disciples
By loving God's sovereignty more than God himself
By losing an urgency in evangelism
By refusing to learn from non-Calvinists
By tidying up the Bible's "loose ends"
By being a bunch of arrogant know-it-alls
By scoffing at the emotional hang-ups others have with Calvinism
These eight points serve as the eight chapters and fill the 120 pages of this little book. Dutcher argues each point forcefully and yet graciously. He writes as a former "caged-Calvinists" that has been re-captured by the sovereign grace that he adopted theologically.
Honestly, I did not anticipate being deeply challenged by this book. Not that I'm not a Calvinist and not that I did not expect to agree with the book. Problem is I assumed that I would just nod my head with everything Dutcher said, promote it to a few newer Calvinists I know, and move on.
You see I too was once a caged-Calvinist but the Lord has mightily worked in my heart to humble me and help me to live and proclaim the sovereign grace that I theologically affirm. So, I've already been through the fire and I don't struggle with being a bad Calvinist anymore.
At least I thought I didn't.
Reading through Dutcher's work exposed a few vestiges of both pride and inconsistency in my walk with Christ. There were a few moments in the book where I found myself soundly rebuked. Funny thing is I think I had even taught some of these points myself, but the way that Dutcher worded them and proclaimed them brought conviction to my soul.
Here is a helpful sample for you to see how Dutcher is passionate, forceful, and yet very gracious:
A disciple is a student of Christ--someone who spends time with the Savior in order to come to know him better and resemble him more closely. As a pastor, I have found that many Christians simply assume that learning more and more about the Bible and theology--Reformed theology in particular--is the same thing as growing as a disciple. It isn't. Robust theology can be a powerful catalyst in this process, but like anything else, we can turn it into an idol. The danger is that, while we may begin with Reformed theology as the framework by which we more coherently understand and appreciate our faith, over time it can become the substance of our faith. At that point, daily living is more about mastering Reformed doctrine than being mastered by Jesus and his total claim over every area of life.
Should You Buy It?
Every Calvinist needs to read this book, whether you're a new member to club Calvin or you've been a Calvinist longer than Charlton Heston has been Moses. Even those that are non-Calvinist ought to read this book and see the heart of many within the Reformed/Calvinistic movement. We truly do want to live out the doctrines of grace as Greg Dutcher describes in this book. When we don't it's not a fault of the "system" but of our own hearts.
I found an insider's critique refreshing. Dutcher is one of us. I found his admonition fatherly. Almost like Solomon giving his son final instructions. For instance, Dutcher admonishes,
I sometimes fear that if we all just stay holed up in our bunkers, we will end up killing the revival of Calvinism in our midst. . . . We must not give current and future generations plausible reasons to reject the very essence of Christianity that we believe Calvinism represents.
That is, if we don't live our Calvinism, we might just kill it. (Kindle Locations 129-135)
If I could sum up the book in one sentence it would be this: "But we cross a line when we are more focused on mastering theology than on being mastered by Christ" (Kindle Location 302). Yes! We must be mastered by Christ.
I heartily amened all eight points but I found some of his illustrations unhelpful which in some instances lessened the impact of the point. Two examples. First, he argues we should learn from other theological traditions (amen! Count me as a Calvinist who loves the Wesley's). He tells a story about hearing an interview with Bill Hybles on the radio and feeling encouraged by something he said. This idea is great but we need to develop it more. Just because its good to learn from others does necessitate that I should read every Hybles book to fish for the pearl amongst the mud.
Or for instance I won't waste my time reading Charles Finney just because I'm sure he has said something right. However, I will gladly read the Wesley's and Fred Sanders who are Arminians. Reformed theology has a robust doctrine of common grace which acknowledges that all truth is God's truth. Dutcher actually has some helpful clarifications on his blog "How Essential Is Calvinism in Our Unity with Other Christians?"
One other example worth noting was the story he told in chapter six ("By Tidying Up the Bible's Loose Ends"). He retells the story of a small group discussion which focused on 2 Peter 2:1 where Peter talks about false teachers and says "denying the Master who bought them." He contrasts a few people who expressed puzzlement and the one who says, "[I]t doesn't matter because we know that Jesus died only for the elect" (Kindle Locations 946-947). Granted it does matter but this example is poor.
Outside of the "it doesn't matter" because it does, his general interpretation is right. Good exegesis interprets the unclear by the clear and single passages in light of all the bible. So while the guy's answer is certainly flippant it's right to argue that we know Jesus died for only the elect so that rules out x interpretation. Also, we know people make false professions where they claim Christ but do not possess saving faith. In the OT, many Israelites were within the covenant community who was redeemed out Egypt and it rightly could have been said of them that they denied the Lord who bought them. A better example in my opinion might be the lapsarianism debate.
Just two example where clarification and a better example might have proved helpful in making a stronger case. I'm nitpicking here but those were my only two concerns (if you can even call it that).
The meat of the book is USDA prime. For a group of elders who are seeking to preach and minister within the reformed faith Killing Calvinism would be fantastic read. It might also provide a loving kick in the pants for that recovering in-your-face Calvinist in your life. The chapters are concise and to the point. Each chapter offers one main thought and moves the argument along without losing focus. And at the end of each chapter Dutcher offers a prayer. I loved this feature and prayed these prayers. It's really a devotional styled book.