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I have a confession to make

Sources close to me listened to an audio version of Love Wins and recommended sections of it so highly I broke down and bought the Kindle version. Of the handful of reviews/discussions I’ve read, a surprising number of them say something like “Rob Bell raises some important questions, questions mainstream conservative Christianity needs to answer.” Unfortunately I haven’t seen a list of these questions, so I’m not sure if they’ve already been answered.

Also, I recently downloaded the Kindle version of Arthur Pink’s 1918 Calvinist classic The Sovereignty of God. Well, maybe it’s a classic and maybe it’s not; and maybe it’s Calvinist and maybe it’s not. It’s been by turns a stumbling block and a stepping stone for people I think highly of for years, and I’ve been putting it off reading it.

So far I think it’s awful. Not necessarily wrong, just poorly argued and poorly reasoned. Pink’s big on straw men, excluded middles, and self-congratulation. There’s a lot of “the pulpits of today (i.e. 1918) are devoid of strong doctrine, etc.” which was undoubtedly true but irrelevant. And then of course there’s this sort of argumentation:

We do not forget the words of one long since passed away, namely, that “Denunciation is the last resort of a defeated opponent.” To dismiss this book with the contemptuous epithet — “Hyper-Calvinism!” will not be worthy of notice.

I’d pay a whole dollar to find the origin of that quote; nothing I’ve found on the Web suggests it originated with anyone other than Pink himself. I guess I’ll have to see if Pink really is a Hyper-Calvinist by any of its various definitions [link]; I do think it’s interesting to note that modern discussions of Calvinism don’t generally involve the terms “free offer of the Gospel” and “duty-faith.”

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