Book Review: Debating Calvinism

“Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views”, by Dave Hunt and James White

The premise of this book is interesting: Two prominent Christian authors, who have very different theological views, publishing a book together in an attempt to clearly articulate the opposing sides of the age old debate about the system of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) known as “Calvinism”. The book is presented as a written-word formal debate, where each author writes half the book. Each point is presented, followed by a response, a defense, and closing remarks from each writer. The debate was over what Calvinists call the “doctrines of grace”, known by the acronym TULIP: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints.

White presents the Calvinist viewpoint, while Hunt represents an (though certainly not the only) opposing view. From a debating standpoint, the two were not a good match. White is by far the stronger debater, as Hunt rarely (if ever) responds directly to White’s points. Regardless of one’s personal views of Calvinism, I believe an objective judge of debates would have to award the “win” to White.

That being said, my personal views on soteriology were neither changed nor strengthened by this debate. I can’t say that I recommend the book, though White’s explanations of the five points of Calvinism are a good introduction to the doctrines of grace for someone who may never have given them consideration. Buy it here.

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