by Arnold A. Dallimore, Crossway Books
I have just finished this most excellent biography! Being a G.W. fan, I have read several other works concerning his life and his work. This stands head and shoulders above all of the others. We are of course given a chronicle of his life and preaching, but we are also provided insight into his connection to the Church of England, the Methodist church, as well as a glimpse into his personal relationships, particularly John and Charles Wesley. The book also recounts instances of tremendous opposition, to his ministry, both private and public, Lest I play the spoiler, I’ll just give you a small portion of a tribute to Mr. Whitefield, penned by John Greenleaf Whittier.
Under the church of Federal Street,
Under the tread of its Sabbath feet,
Walled about by its basement stones,
Lie the marvelous preacher’s bones.
No saintly honors to them are shown,
No sign nor miracle have they known;
But he who passes the ancient church
Stops in the shade of its belfry-porch,
And ponders the wonderful life of him
Who lies at rest in that charnel dim.
Long shall the traveller strain his eye
From the railroad car, as it plunges by,
And the vanishing town behind him search
For the slender spire of the Whitefield Church;
And feel for one moment the ghosts of trade,
And fashion, and folly, and pleasure laid,
By the thought of that life of pure intent,
That voice of warning yet eloquent,
Of one on the errands of angels sent.
And if where he labored the flood of sin
Like a tide from the harbor-bar sets in,
And over a life of time and sense
The church-spires lift their vain defence,
As if to scatter the bolts of God
With the points of Calvin’s thunder-rod,–
Still, as the gem of its civic crown,
Precious beyond the world’s renown,
His memory hallows the ancient town!
“Why I Am Not an Arminian”, by Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams was written as a response to “Why I Am Not a Calvinist, by Jerry Walls. My understanding is that the authors would really have liked to call it “Why I am a Calvinist”, but went with the above title at the request of those who wanted to highlight the contrast with the previously written Jerry Walls book.
Nevertheless, I now have the book and have finished reading it. It might be the best and most gracious explanation of the differences between both theological systems. I’ve read and collected a lot of material discussing both systems and this might be the most thoughtful and easy to understand source I have come across to date!
Here is the Amazon summary and a short review:
“Arminian theology is sweeping through the evangelical churches of North America. While most Arminians are good, sincere, orthodox Christians, authors Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams contend that aspects of Arminian thought are troubling both biblically and theologically. In particular, they argue, Arminians have too lofty a view of human nature and an inadequate understanding of God’s sovereign love in Christ.
‘Why I Am Not an Arminian’ explores the biblical, theological and historical background to the Calvinist-Arminian debate. The irenic nature and keen insight of this book will be appreciated by lay people, pastors and scholars alike.”
Another review offered:
“Peterson and Williams write with a grace which goes far deeper than their commendable style. The authors’ Arminian conversants are fairly represented from their best literature and answered with impeccable arguments which are scripturally compelling, philosophically and historically exacting, and gracefully irenic. ‘Why I Am Not an Arminian’ is a book that you can get your head and your heart around–and be graced!”
The authors, Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams are both on the faculty at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO.