Humble Calvinism by J. A. Medders
In the area I live, just the title of this book could set people off. I’m not sure many people wouldn’t even give it a chance, but I gladly write this review saying that this is a book that every single person needs to read. In Humble Calvinism, I think J. A. Medders has written a work that can serve to ease the tension between Calvinists and Arminians or Traditionalists. Calvinism has been given a bad wrap due to the actions and attitudes of many of its proponents. Known as the “cage-stage”, they get so excited that they need to be locked up until they can cool down. “Many of us who love to love the ‘doctrines of grace’ have not grown in showing grace,’” writes Medders. He goes on to say, “Calvinism in the head will puff you up. Calvinism in the heart will build others up.” In this book, Medders sets out to challenge his fellow Calvinists to humility and grace, to right the wrongs many have experienced from passionate Calvinists lacking grace, and to educate those who may be unfamiliar with Calvinism even is—a lofty goal indeed.
J. A. Medders is the lead pastor of Redeemer Church in Tomball, Texas. He runs a podcast on writing called Home Row and is a blogger. This was my first introduction to Medders and his writing style is fantastic! He’s a story teller and has witty humor that anyone can appreciate—which really helps when you’re writing on a polarizing topic. Medders exudes great humility himself in the writing of this book; he is honest about his failures and short comings. Hopefully, for those who have been victims of arrogant Calvinism, Medders is very disarming.
In the book, Medders takes the reader through the TULIP acronym showing how each point should fuel humility and action. In my opinion, this is a major strength of the book. Theology in the head leads to pride. Theology in the heart moves us to look like our Savior. Medders constantly points to Calvinism being not about a man, but all about Jesus. “The greater God’s grace in Jesus becomes to us, the more humble we become,” says Medders. He calls us as Christians to not divide over theology, but to love one another and realize that we are all in Christ—a much needed message for both Calvinists and Arminians. “When you question the salvation of an Arminian (or anyone else) because they aren’t a Calvinist, you are adding to faith alone in Christ alone. It’s a deniall of the Reformation’s battle cry: Christ alone,” Medders says. Medders call for unity is a message for all Christians today.
My hope and belief is that Humble Calvinism will serve as a much needed resource to create unity among those who differ theologically, but trust in Christ alone for their salvation. I believe this book should be handed to every person who has felt burned by a Calvinist, every person learning about the doctrines of grace, and to many who seemed more wrapped up in their theology than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Medders has written an excellent work and I would encourage you to read it.
You can pick up Humble Calvinism on Amazon.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.