Saturday, 13 December 2014

New Calvinism Book Review

Title of book: The New Calvinists Changing the Gospel
Author: E.S. Williams
Publisher: Wakeman and Belmont House Publishing
Publisher’s Address or address where book may be obtained: “Spirit of 88” Dorchester House, Old Shire Road, Choreywood, WD 3 5PW
Year of publication: 2014
Number of Pages: 74
Hdbk or pbk: Paperback
Price: £3.50
ISBN: 978 1 908919 32 8

The title effectively says it all: This is a serious critique of the movement known as “New Calvinism”. To change the gospel is to leave sinners in their estate of sin and misery, without God and therefore without hope. The book is short and to the point, giving us short accounts  of the serious theological shortfalls of the leading lights in the New Calvinist camp. This goes beyond mere style or difference of taste as we are introduced to Catholic mysticism, Charismatic dreams, pornographic language, blatant worldliness and the thumping beat and flashing lights of a modern day disco, all wrapped up in Calvinistic doctrine. After some words of introduction, we are immediately introduced to Tim Keller who is described as the “Intellectual Populist” of the group. Next, we move on to John Piper whose “Theological Flexibility” is exposed before the “Cultural Relevance” philosophy of Mark Driscoll continues to flame the fires of alarm. EW Williams is a British Christian and shows how New Calvinism is not an isolated American phenomenon, but has come already to our shores through the work of the Proclamation Trust and the Porterbrook Network. The British connection, like the American proponents, each receive their own chapter. The last chapter is entitled “A voice from the past” commencing with a quote from Puritan, Jonathan Edwards against worldly Christianity and lamenting the devastating effect which the New Calvinist movement has on the growth in grace of young Christians.

The book is populist rather than definitive. If this book doesn’t warn, then nothing will. There is plenty of room for the book to be improved. Having been entirely negative about the New Calvinism, it would have been more cheering and helpful had the author written a positive chapter or even two about the glories of the old Calvinism also. This could replace or enlarge upon the mere two and a half pages centred around the Jonathan Edwards quote.

Notwithstanding this criticism, the book is worth buying and is very keenly priced at £3.50 to be within everyone’s budget.

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