CALVINISM HYPER-CALVINISM AND ARMINIANISM
Authors TALBOT & CRAMPTON
Publisher THE APOLOGETICS GROUP
There is probably no doctrine more divisive in the last several hundred years than the Calvinism/Arminianism divide. This particular one hundred and fifty page book is presented as ‘a theological primer.’ I found the three appendices particularly interesting. One is a reprint of John Owen’s “A Display of Arminianism”, the second is “Calvinism in America” by Lorraine Boettner and the third an article on the Doctrine of Justification. Plenty of scripture quotations to buttress the Calvinistic position as being the Biblical position, something that will offend those who hold the opposite view. A helpful part of these short chapters is the way they reinforce the fact that what many nickname “Calvinism” is in fact hyper-calvinism, the extreme view that does away with all need of evangelistic work and human response to God’s call. Often I have noted that the arguments offered against Calvinism have in fact been aimed at a straw man which is in fact to be called ‘hyper-calvinism’ and this book confirms that thought. Doubtless the arguing will continue but it is vital to note how the weight of church history leans to a certain side in these arguments and how the emphasis on human responsibility that erodes God’s sovereignty is linked with enlightenment thinking and is only about five hundred years old. Some would rightly say that the more man has been ‘coming of age’ and God sidelined and no longer present, or scarcely acknowledged has only led to increasing chaos. The church is entering a time of great testing and a return to a thoroughly Biblical doctrine of God’s sovereignty is surely necessary to its well being in days of trial. God’s sovereignty is a world view, not only something dealing with salvation. This book is an effort to set forth the arguments succinctly but I doubt that it will go very far to causing the ongoing difficulties to cease. Maybe it may help to calm the argumentative spirit which defiles the church when discussions take place. The doctrine of the Sovereignty of God is a most precious one when held in and by the Holy Spirit. Nothing should be allowed to erode the wonder of His Being as Sovereign, Holy and Love.