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Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport

January 16, 2013

“What does Calvinism have to say to our present world? What do the Canons of Dort mean to people who hang around the Las Vegas airport?”(P.15) The attempt to answer these questions is the driving heart beat of CALVINISM in the LAS VEGAS AIRPORT: Making Connections in Today’s World by Richard W. Mouw (Zondervan, 2004) The book highlights in a conversational but theologically nuanced way how Calvinism has been characterized in popular culture and challenges both the “haters” and heavy-handed proponents to the system of Theology that stresses God’s sovereignty to step back and reenter in to dialog and relationship. Dr. Mouw relies heavily on C.H. Spurgeon’s timeless sermon A Defense of Calvinism to set the emotional tone for the discussion. Stalwart theologians like Jonathan Edwards Louis Berkhof, B.B Warfiels and Abraham Kuyper feature prominently in the discussion which focuses on the doctrines of grace and how they are to be lived and winsome strategies for sharing them verbally. Dr Mouw argues convincingly for an over arching spirit of humility (P. 115) which allows for “A Desire to Learn From Others”;
“While I love the TULIP doctrines, I know they don’t make many puzzles go away. But they do help me discern the mysteries of how a sovereign God draws rebel sinners to Himself, restoring them to the purposes for which they were originally created. I try to keep a primary focus on that set of mysteries. But I have to realize that I also need a lot of Theological help from Christians who have cultivated rather different Theological specializations”
Over all the book articulated by putting into words better that I ever could conclusions and formulations that have been stirring within my mind and heart in recent years. Where ever you stand in relationship with Calvinism as a Theological system, read this book and give it another look, you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

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One Comment
  1. David Gaskins permalink

    What I enjoyed most about this book was Dr. Mouw’s ability to convey his vast wealth of knowledge and wisdom in a simple read- designed in many ways for the laymen. No matter what perspective the reader comes at, whether they be a staunch Calvinist, a ‘Calminian”, Arminianist, or a hater of Theology and deep discussion, it seems as if they will be able to take away some bit of wisdom or thought to chew on. As a young and arrogant (I’m sure) Theology student in training, Dr. Mouw’s book was a good reminder for me to learn how to listen to all spectrums/Theologies of the body of Christ that may not fit into my tunnel-vision-Calvinism lenses.

    I’m reminded of what the great Charles Spurgeon once said: “I love the pure doctrine of unadulterated Calvinism. But if that be wrong – if there be anything in it which is false – I for one say, ‘Let that perish too, and let Christ’s name last forever. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Crown Him Lord of all!’ ”

    May we, as Calvinist, strive for humility in all our words and thoughts- never forgetting that above all else our first priority is to preach Christ crucified to a broken world.

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