Ten Myths About Calvinism
June 1, 2011
Kenneth Stewart’s Ten Myths About Calvinism looks like a good book to pass along to those who have an internet-assembled comprehension of Reformed theology or for those who have had the misfortune of reading anything by Loraine Boettner. You can listen to an interview with Professor Stewart here.
Some of Stewart’s criticisms line-up with neo-orthodox criticisms, namely the overemphasis on predestination, especially the TULIP pattern that was/is popular in the 20th century and today. Like Richard Muller, he sees this corruption as a more recent phenomenon and not the product of 17th century scholasticism. Also, he stresses that Calvin is just one figure in the constellation of Reformed luminaries who shaped the broader tradition, a tradition that does differ from Calvin. In the interview, Stewart rightly notes that later confessional theology (Dort, Westminster) was the result of developments across a broad range of theologians and controversies, and, as such, these documents do not reflect Calvin’s own thinking exactly. Stewart doesn’t claim that they contradict Calvin, but simply that they are not the same thing. He is not trying to pit “Calvin against the Calvinists” but, rather, to broaden the Reformed tradition, to include and go beyond Calvin.
Other issues covered in the book include revivalism, theocracy, and missions. He is pro-revival (with proper Reformed qualifications), sympathetic to Reformation theocracy (as an appropriate measure historically), and reveals the missionary impulse of Reformed thinking. The last chapters of the book cover the arts and social issues (gender and race).
Professor Stewart teaches at Covenant College, the college of the PCA.