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- Joy of Calvinism, The | Forster, Greg | – Reformers Bookshop
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- The Joy of Calvinism: Knowing God's Personal, Unconditional, Irresistible, Unbreakable Love
I wrote this book because I believe Calvinism points to the answer. It seems to me that Calvinists, myself included, have not been communicating well about our ideas. And we have tended to blame the audience for what are really our own failures in communicating. Our little daughter, Anya, has difficulty with language, and this has made it a challenge for us to teach her about God. God is actively working in every part of the service; we participate, of course, but we are receiving much more than we are giving—we are far more passive than active. So during each part of the service, I would tell Anya what God was doing.
During the call to worship I would tell her, God is saying hi to us! During the sermon I would tell her, God is telling us his Word! During the benediction I would say, God is blessing us! Needless to say, I changed my approach to communicating with Anya about God. Recently, she overheard a woman in a coffee shop misuse the name of Jesus as a swear word.
Anya understood nothing about what she was hearing except the name Jesus, but when she heard that name, she immediately piped up and said in a loud voice, Jesus loves me! The woman mumbled something about being more careful with what she said in front of children. It makes a big difference how you communicate your ideas. The bigger problem was on my end—I was presenting the information to her in a way that invited misunderstanding.
When I changed the way I communicated, she was able to understand me.
In this book, I use Calvinism to mean the soteriology—the understanding of how sinners are saved—that has developed over time in the faith tradition that traces its history back through Calvin. The Calvinistic faith tradition is really much more than that, of course; it has a distinctive approach to pretty much everything. But our understanding of how sinners get saved is what most needs clarifying.
The world misunderstands what Calvinists believe about salvation. Real Calvinism is all about joy. But for some time now, defenders of Calvinism have tended to communicate about it only in highly technical, formulaic, and especially negative terms. To take only the most obvious example, the notorious five points of Calvinism are now virtually the only terms in which Calvinism is formulated. But today, these five vague phrases abbreviated by a clever acronym TULIP have come to be completely identified with Calvinism.
What else could Calvinism possibly mean? Bafflingly, this has happened even though many Calvinist writers seem to agree that the five points are a lousy way to describe Calvinism! The five points use highly technical and idiosyncratic terms that invite misunderstanding. But when the subject is Calvinism itself—the distinctive theology that provides the underlying basis for all the other beautiful Calvinistic things they write so eloquently about—they suddenly shift gears and retreat to formulas and technicalities.
The trouble is that people outside the Calvinistic tradition only hear the formulas and technicalities. So while Calvinists produce reams and reams of positive, spontaneous, and devotional religious writings, the outside world never knows. Calvinism to the outside world means only the formulas, technicalities, and negations. As a result, the substantial reality of Calvinistic religion, the affirmative faith from which it draws all its energy and vitality and joy, is almost completely unknown to the outside world.
What would happen if we talked about other theological topics, such as the divinity of Christ, the way we usually talk about Calvinism? First, consider Thomas, falling to his knees or so we picture him before the resurrected Christ, crying out in that perfect combination of shock, joy, love, awe, repentance, self-abasement, and holy terror, My Lord and my God! John Now compare that confession with the early medieval priests rhythmically chanting the metered Latin of the Athanasian Creed: Although he is God and man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by assumption of the manhood into God; one altogether, not by confusion of essence, but by unity of person; for as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ.
Without the Athanasian Creed and other formulations like it, Christianity could not possibly have survived the relentless assaults against the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation in its first five centuries. You and I would not be Christians today. Yet there would have been nothing to protect—no Christianity for the Athanasian Creed to keep pure in the first place—if not for the sort of confession we get from Thomas.
Here, and only here, we have the spontaneous voice of living Christian faith, expressing what the believer really experiences in the presence of the living Christ. True, this faith could not have survived if it had not been protected by the shield of technical theology, but that shield was forged only to protect and nurture spontaneous, affirmative faith.
It has no other legitimate function. The Joy of Calvinism will show you how Calvinism can transform your everyday walk with God by unlocking the purpose of the Christian life, and how you can have the joy of God in spite of trials and suffering.
It's time we rediscovered the joy of Calvinism. Related Products. Michael Horton , Roger E. Michael Horton. Kenneth J.
Joy of Calvinism, The | Forster, Greg | – Reformers Bookshop
James K. Have a question about this product? Ask us here. Ask a Question What would you like to know about this product? Connect With Us. Sign In Desktop Site. It forced me to think through some old beliefs in new ways, so it reinforced some core beliefs I hold. It left me very thankful to be a part of the Calvinistic tradition.
I heartily recommend it. Jun 11, Alex rated it liked it. This is more like a 3.
- The Joy of Calvinism: Knowing God's Personal, Unconditional, Irresistible, Unbreakable Love;
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For the most part I liked it, but throughout the read I felt like there was something missing. I would not suggest this book for someone who's just learning the doctrines of grace, but this is more for someone who is already settled in the truth. Not sure how Lewis an Arminian is helpful in a book about Calvinism May 31, Eli rated it liked it. I very interesting book. So many powerful gems intertwined with so many cringe-worthy moments.
I greatly appreciated Forster's plea for Calvinists to present the true, devotional side of Calvinism rather than the technicalities of Calvinism. People truly are confused about what Calvinism is, and Forster does a good job of encouraging moves in a new direction.
In keeping with that observation, however, I think the Appendix of the book was totally unnecessary and would best have been left out. Jun 21, Keifer Navey rated it it was ok. Jul 04, Todd Price rated it it was amazing Shelves: christian-life , favorites , theology , puritan-reformed , new-authors-i-am-trying. A must read! Wonderfully helpful. Mar 10, Scarlett Sims rated it really liked it Shelves: leisure , net-galley , nook , philosophical , non-fic , religious. This book isn't for Calvinists.
In that way, the title is a bit misleading. Really, Forster is writing to people who don't know much about Calvinism, perhaps even people who are opposed to it. Forster's mission with this book is to describe in simple language what Calvinism really espouses to people who are unfamiliar with it or perhaps only passingly familiar with it. He writes clearly and logically; his implicit argument being that Calvinism just makes more sense than other interpretations of This book isn't for Calvinists.
He writes clearly and logically; his implicit argument being that Calvinism just makes more sense than other interpretations of Christianity. Even as a reader who is familiar with Calvinist theology, I fount the book to be a good refresher, even though it was not exactly what I was expecting based on the title.
While Forster is trying to explain Calvinism to those who don't fully grasp it, he is speaking pretty much exclusively to believers. This isn't an academic study on the tenets of Calvinism but rather a believer speaking to believers. He includes a few anecdotes from his own personal journey as well, so while some of the writing is rather dry, it's overall a fast and pleasant read. Most of my closer friends probably already are familiar with and espouse the views described in this book. But for people who aren't really sure about Calvinism, I think this book does a better job explaining it than I could.
I received my copy free from NetGalley. Jun 27, David Rathel rated it liked it.
With this work Forster does not attempt to offer an exegetical or systematic defense of Calvinism. Rather, he intends to highlight the personal benefits that belief in Calvinism brings to one's life, namely the experience of joy. Though I disagreed with several of Forster's conclusions and wished he had further developed several others , I still found this book to be a worthwhile and interesting read. Forster's book will probably not sway those who are non-Calvinists a more exegetically based With this work Forster does not attempt to offer an exegetical or systematic defense of Calvinism.
Forster's book will probably not sway those who are non-Calvinists a more exegetically based work would no doubt be more appropriate. Quick notes hopefully they can help someone out there : 1 Forster argues for the truthfulness of particular redemption limited atonement in nearly the first chapter of the book.
Dec 08, Ryan rated it it was ok Shelves: theology , soteriology , suffering. I picked up this book because I thought it was going to be an encouragement for joy in the midst of Calvinism. But it fell flat on its face. The introduction starts with an admonishment to joy and the conclusion is filled with much the same. But as far as the everyday applications of Calvinistic doctrine in providing joy for the believer were sorely lacking. What was sandwiched in between was four extremely long chapters dealing with Calvinistic doctrines.
I really loved the way the author argue I picked up this book because I thought it was going to be an encouragement for joy in the midst of Calvinism. I really loved the way the author argued for the Calvinistic position. Instead of using biblical texts because there's already a lot of good books out there that have done it better he argued from rational thought and reasoning.
Though any defense of any theology should be based on the Bible, Forster assumed the Bible stands behind his thesis and argued from rational thought. That made some things click for me because it really makes sense when you carry certain beliefs to their logical conclusions. The section where he relates joy and suffering was valuable as well. I felt like the chapters could have been divided up much better, making the material easier to follow and also bit shorter. But perhaps his points were made because he made them so many times. Aug 15, Brett rated it liked it Shelves: theology.
Calvinism is often seen as a joyless and cold theological tradition. Forester, however, believes that this is a gross misunderstanding. On the other hand, however, Forester does his readers a huge disservice by way of his mischaracterization of non-Calvinistic theologies esp. While Forester rightfully seeks to compare and contrast, he both misinforms his readers and steals away from the otherwise joyful tone of his work.
Mar 07, Ken rated it liked it Shelves: read-christian-theology. I enjoyed this book - I appreciated the emphasis on how Calvinism brings joy rather than just on a defense of the doctrine. This seems like a popular teaching but is very difficult to defend from scripture. He equates love with sacrifice but the love chapter I Cor 13 says "If I give my body to be burned and have not love One other interesting point I thought was that Forster maintains that man has free will.
He distinguishes between how we understand the term today as opposed to Calvin and Luther's day. I thought he did a decent job explaining what he meant by the term, I just don't think it is the best term to describe someone who is a slave to sin. Will yes, free will even using today's understanding not so much. Still overall it is a good study in Calvinism and would give food for thought to the convinced Calvinist and a good introduction to the teaching for someone looking to understand or study Calvinism.
View 1 comment. Dec 24, Andrew Mcneill rated it it was ok. A good book which summarises classic Calvinism. Although the writer explains that he will deliberately steer away from a discussion of Biblical texts since other books do that I really found this hard to stomach. At numerous points he takes other views to task because they do not fit into his understanding of how God works. But if he wants to do this he really needs to deal with the Biblical text and be careful to avoid knocking down straw-men. I found that he particularly butchered non-limite A good book which summarises classic Calvinism.
I found that he particularly butchered non-limited views of the atonement. A view such as Bruce Ware's multiple intentions view actually gets around the issues that Forster raises and more adequately embraces the Biblical text. I also felt that, despite the title of the book, a more doxological rather than polemic emphasis would have transformed the book. So what's my overall verdict?
The Joy of Calvinism: Knowing God's Personal, Unconditional, Irresistible, Unbreakable Love
A good book that summarises Calvinism well and explains how joy can be found in it. But it needs to be more doxological to achieve that goal. It will fail to convince any non-Calvinists because it attacks strawmen and fails to grapple with the text. Dec 11, Lawson Hembree rated it really liked it Shelves: theology , top , my-library-physical. Calvinism often gets a bad rap for being overly-intellectual, harsh, emotionless, and cold.
Forster's Joy of Calvinism explores the entirety of Scripture to show that this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the Reformed doctrines of God's grace are a source of immense comfort, motivation, and joy. Forster clearly explains how Calvinism stems from the character of God as loving Father and merciful Judge, framing his discussion around four aspects of God's love as opposed to arguing fro Calvinism often gets a bad rap for being overly-intellectual, harsh, emotionless, and cold.
Forster clearly explains how Calvinism stems from the character of God as loving Father and merciful Judge, framing his discussion around four aspects of God's love as opposed to arguing from the five points of Calvinism aka TULIP. Overall, a short and deep explanation of Reformed theology ideal for Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike. This book is different from what I expected, as it's intended for Christians who want to understand how some other Christians find Calvinism plausible, even "drenched with joy.