I believe that there are times in all of our lives when we lash out without thought or care. Especially in the world of digital media, putting something in print quickly and never revisiting the issue can be an easy thing to fall into. But it can also be a dangerous and, sometimes, painful thing to do for those who have to read what we write. Especially if what we write is about them or their work.
When I wrote my original review of 40 Questions About Arminianism this is exactly what happened. I read the book as a Calvinist reading about Calvinism and the “enemy” on the other side of the Soteriological fence. I was not reading it as someone who truly wanted to learn more about my Arminian friends. And, with that mindset, I wrote a scathing review of the book.
It was not long after the original review was published that two individuals reached out to me questioning my review. They were not attacking me, though, admittedly, that was how I read their comments at first. They were genuinely wondering how I came to the conclusions about Dr. Pinson’s book that I had.
Shortly thereafter, I decided to reach out to Dr. Pinson. I wrote to him about my thoughts on the book and some of the concerns that I had. His response was kind and gracious and I prayed about what to do next. I decided that maybe there was something I had missed. The next day I informed Dr. Pinson I would re-read the book.
As I re-read the book, I tried to keep an open mind and my “Calvinist Glasses” off. As I did this, I found that my new conclusions about the book were very different than my initial feelings.
With that being said, I also had to decide whether or not to take down my original review. I have decided against this. I have made very clear in my old review that it is no longer my thoughts on the book but I think that people need to see my faults as well as my redeeming qualities.
So here is my new review of the book.
40 Questions About Arminianism is a must-read for anyone who takes part in the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism. Yes, both sides of the fence need to read this book.
Dr. Pinson does an excellent job of laying at the history of Arminian belief as well as showing different “sects” of Arminianism. I greatly appreciated his handling of prominent Arminians, such as John Wesley, and how they viewed different doctrines. Questions 10 and 11 are particularly good reads with regards to the atonement and justification.
Throughout the book, Dr. Pinson provides great documentation for the various positions and history of Arminianism. He goes into great detail to explain concepts as well as giving a fair treatment of the Calvinist position on various topics.
While I do not agree with everything in the book, Dr. Pinson is fair but unashamedly Arminian.
For the Arminian reading this book, you will learn more about the storied history of your theological position. For the Calvinist reading this book, you will learn some things that may surprise you and find that we have much more in common with Arminius than you might think. You will also learn that many Arminians throughout history were not really representative of Arminius at all.
The book, while academic in nature, is an easy read. It is an accessible, useful, and relevant resource that any Christian would be wise to have in their library.
I congratulate Dr. Pinson on his thorough work, and thank him for the thoughtful and friendly exchanges we have enjoyed over the last few weeks.
I am happy to commend this book to you with four out of five stars.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.