by Greg Dutcher
2012, 111 pages
We can thank God that many “young and the restless” Christians are turning to Calvinism to find the rest they are seeking; however, Greg Dutcher’s book warns us that being, or becoming, enthusiastically Reformed has its dangers.
What makes Dutcher’s cautions so effective is that he is humble enough to confess that he has not always been so humble in his embrace of Calvinist theology – something that we also can be guilty of. Like a former smoker, there is often no-one so obnoxious about his new life as the recent convert. Dutcher narrates how his own conversion to Christ humbled him, but his subsequent acceptance of Reformed theology, even as it increased his understanding (and even wonder), often did not increase his humility. Sadly, it is not only young Calvinists who lack humility. I know that I either personally have been guilty of some of the sins Dutcher identifies, or know of older members whose Calvinism leads to pride rather than humility. For instance, Dutcher describes how Calvinists often love Calvinism as an end in itself, identifying themselves as Calvinists before they identify themselves as Christians. We also need to guard against becoming theologians instead of disciples; we need to guard against mere head service instead of also heart service.
Another issue that Dutcher deals with has also been raised extensively in many Reformed churches recently: the need to renew our love for the lost. One problem that I have seen of late on Facebook and other social media is one of our approach to non-Calvinists – scoffing at their hangups with Calvinism rather than lovingly seeking to understand the reasons for their resistance and deal with them with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
The above challenges are only some of the ways Dutcher shows how Calvinists often discredit the Biblical truth of Reformed theology (or, as the book’s subtitle puts it, this is how we are destroying “a perfectly good theology from the inside”). He deals with others but you’ll need to check out the book to find out which ones! What makes each of the eight main chapters an even more winsome inspiration to self-examination is the fact that each ends with Calvin’s own method of ending his lectures – a prayer that God will work in our hearts a willingness to truly love our neighbour and glorify God in our Calvinism.
If you believe that a better presentation of the beauty of the TULIP would bring greater glory to God, and that this book will help you do that, you can get it at many an online retailer including the publisher, Cruciform Press.