Monday, September 5, 2011

Books on Calvinism, Predestination

Calvinism is sometimes referred to as Doctrines of Grace, Reformed Doctrines, Reformed Baptists, etc. Calvinism is becoming more prevalent in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Most Southern Baptists are not 5-point Calvinists, but they need to brush up on this issue.

Many non-Calvinist (or Moderate Calvinist) Baptist churches are being asked to consider 5-point Calvinists as pastor. Pastor Search Committees (Pulpit Committees) need to know what they believe and why they believe it.

For the record, if a Baptist church wants to knowingly call a Calvinist as pastor, that is their business and they are perfectly free to do so. The problem is when a church calls a Calvinist as pastor and doesn’t have a clue as to what he believes and what he plans to do in their church. I hear about such cases on a regular basis. In contrast, you can be assured that a Calvinist or Reformed Baptist church will be doubly sure the new pastor they call will be a strict Calvinist.

Some, not all, Calvinists have strangely been very critical when non-Calvinists present their beliefs about these issues. For example, some strongly attacked Jerry Vines’ John 3:16 Conference. But just as Calvinists have a right to present their beliefs in books and conferences, so does the other side. Non-Calvinists need to know solid reasons why so many reject 5-point Calvinism.

The books below will give pastors and laymen a good understanding of Calvinism from the viewpoint of a non-Calvinist. It’s great to read completely through them, but you may also want to skip around in them and keep them for future reference. If you get bogged down, just move to the next section. Have a pencil or pen ready and mark pages that answer questions you may have.

Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of God’s Sovereignty and Free Will by Norman L. Geisler; 2010.
Very good, easy to understand book by a well-known and respected conservative Christian apologist.

Whosoever Will by David L. Allen and Steve W. Lemke, B&H (Broadman & Holman); 2010.
Compiled messages presented at a Jerry Vines’ John 3:16 Conference. Scholarly defense of the large majority of Baptists who are not 5-point Calvinists. Scholarly, yet for the most part easy for most to understand. Includes messages by Jerry Vines, Paige Patterson, Richard Land, David Allen, Steve Lemke, Kevin Kennedy, R. Alan Streett… Includes a chapter on The Public Invitation and Calvinism.

Salvation and Sovereignty by Kenneth Keathley, B&H.
Another good, scholarly book on Calvinism and free will. Foreword by Paige Patterson, president of SWBTS. Keathley is professor at SEBTS.

Trouble With the Tulip by Frank Page.
Good, brief, easy to understand book. Frank Page has been pastor, SBC president, and is now Executive Director of the SBC Executive Committee.

An Examination of Tulip: The Five Points of Calvinism by R. L. Sumner, Biblical Evangelism Press, 5718 Pine Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606. $2.50 each, postpaid. Order multiple copies. 
Good booklet to give members of Pastor Search Committee. Good brief booklet to give anyone interested in the subject. Sumner is editor of The Biblical Evangelist ( 47,000 copies of this booklet in print.
Adrian Rogers ordered hundreds of copies of Sumner's book for his church. 

Predestined for Hell? Absolutely Not! by Adrian Rogers, Love Worth Finding, P.O. Box 38800, Memphis, TN 38183-0300, (; 1999. $2 each.
Sermon booklet. Another good pamphlet to give a Pastor Search Committee (Pulpit Committee) or anyone else. Adrian Rogers was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tennessee, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a leader of the SBC Conservative Resurgence that brought Southern Baptists back to their historic belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.

Calvinism: A Baptist and His Election by Jerry Vines, CD (under “Baptist Battles”) at
Vines is the retired pastor of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida and former SBC president. He is a prolific author and one of the leaders in the SBC Conservative Resurgence.

Update:  What is Calvinism? by Peter Lumpkins, Free Church Press.  Brief overview of the issue.  Another good book to give church leaders and those with questions on this subject.  . 


The above books can be ordered at your local bookstore, or on the internet at places like or A couple of them may need to be ordered directly at the addresses given.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 5, AD 2011.

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  1. David,

    Thanks for this post. I am currently reading Whosoever Will, which you mentioned above. Some of my favorite books on this matter include What Love is This? by Dave Hunt; God's Strategy in Human History by Forster and Marsden; The Dark Side of Calvinism by George Bryson; and Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom by Sam Fisk.

    I am gratified to see many voices rising up to oppose the damnable heresy of Calvinism.


  2. Let me suggest "By His Grace and for His Glory" by Dr. Tom Nettles of SBTS. It is a wonderful examination and defense of Calvinism, especially in the SBC. Also, Dr. James White's "The Potter's Freedom" is a great book written in response to Dr. Geisler's "Chosen But Free." Geisler received much criticism from evangelical scholars for his "Chosen But Free." White's book addresses and corrects the numerous errors in Geisler's work as well giving thorough exegesis of the biblical text, something Geisler fails to do.

    All of the books suggested on this blog are written by non-Calvinists. It is beneficial to learn about Calvinism from actual Calvinists. Nettles' and White's books are great places to start.

    1. You are suggesting that people read books that are in favor of Calvinism. That is very misleading, since the book recommendation list if specifically for books which expose the heresy in Calvinism. Please don't recommend books which will deceive believers and seekers.

    2. Actually it is very deceptive to recommend books which are heretical in this book list.

    3. Like Joshua I expected to see books from actual Calvinists given the title of the article. James White’s book is very good. If you are going to debate a Calvinist you need to understand what they believe. You can only learn this from a Calvinist. You shouldn’t be afraid of books that will challenge you especially if you have the truth.

      Maybe we should read the Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin. One will spend hours and hours reading stuff we all agree on and very little time on what is called “Calvinism” today. I have a great respect for the reformers. We wouldn’t have Protestant Churches today if it were not for God raising up these men and they all had similar beliefs. Martin Luther came before Calvin and he wrote The Bondage of the Will which is also a good read. It is actually somewhat comical to see how they reasoned with one another back then. I am a Christian who understands the Bible like the reformers did. Were they perfect, no. However, we can learn a lot from them.

  3. Joshua,
    You said, “It is beneficial to learn about Calvinism from actual Calvinists.” And I would say the opposite is also true. If you want to learn about those who reject 5-point Calvinism, then read those who are non-Calvinists or Moderate Calvinists, like the ones I listed above. One thing that may be learned is that Geisler’s book is not filled with errors; sometimes it is more that someone just disagrees with him.

    Years ago I had Dr. Tom Nettles in a course in Baptist History. Loved his class, his teaching, and his sense of humor. Loved “Baptists and the Bible” by Bush & Nettles. But we part ways on Calvinism.
    David R. Brumbelow

  4. David,

    You said:
    "Geisler’s book is not filled with errors; sometimes it is more that someone just disagrees with him. "

    Have you read "The Potter's Freedom"? White clearly explains the doctrinal and exegetical errors in Geisler's work. It is not a matter of disagreement but a matter of non-exegesis, poor exegesis, and outright error. I highly recommend "The Potter's Freedom".

    Also, when Roger Olson refuses to read a certain non-Calvinist author's book on free-will, a non-Calvinist should probably likewise go elsewhere to learn about "disagreeing" with Calvinism.

  5. David,
    Thanks for your article and the resources that your have posted. Geisler's (second edition)of Chosen But Free addresses James White's extreme Calvinism.

    Another source is a book entitled: Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism by Michael Cox. He is the pastor of FBC Pryor, Oklahoma. It's a good read and only 100 pages.

    Blessings, Ron F. Hale

  6. Gary,
    I’m familiar with Samuel Fisk and have his book, Calvinist Paths Retraced. A good, informative book.

    No I haven’t read White’s book. I have ordered Nettles’ book. Have you read Geisler’s book?

    I actually have two editions of Geisler’s book, Chosen But Free; the second edition you mention and his most recent 2010 edition. It’s a great book.
    Just ordered the book you recommend, Not One Little Child, so it better be good! :-)
    David R. Brumbelow

  7. David,
    I think you will like Cox's book.

    Do you have ... The Darkside of Calvinism by Bryson?

    Another book to show the intent of the Calvinist Resurgence movement is-- A Quiet Revolution: A Chronicle of Beginnings of Reformation in The Southern Baptist Convention by Ernest C. Reisinger and D. Matthew Allen. An online edition is on the Founders website. Pay close attention to the chapter entitled: Walk Without Slipping, Instructions for Local Reformation. It gives instructions in how to get called to a Southern Baptist Church (undercover) then unfold your plan to Calvinize the church. Interesting, very interesting.

    <><Ron F. Hale

  8. Ron,
    Very interesting. Thanks.
    David R. Brumbelow

  9. Ron,
    You mean like the following quote?

    “Avoid terms such as Calvinism, reformed, doctrines of grace, particular redemption, etc. Most people will not know what you are talking about. Many that do will become inflamed against you.” -Ernest C. Reisinger & D. Matthe Allen, A Quiet Revolution, Founders Press; 2000.
    A book telling Calvinist pastors how to go into a non-Calvinist church and reform it to 5-point Calvinist views.

    As I said before, very interesting.
    David R. Brumbelow

  10. David,
    That is exactly what I'm talking about!
    Ron Hale

  11. On my blog I have written a critique of Sumner's booklet -

  12. Dave, do you have a problem with 5 point calvinist in the SBC as pastor, seminary profs etc...?

  13. No, my primary concern is some Calvinist pastors who come into a church to radically change it when the church had no idea what they believe or what they intend to do. Moving from a non-Calvinist or Moderate Calvinist church to a Strict Calvinist church involves some radical changes. If the church wants to do so fine. But they need to know what is going on.

    That is why churches, pulpit committees, deacons, need to know the details of Moderate and Strict Calvinism. One way for them to do so is to become familiar with the books I mentioned above.
    David R. Brumbelow

  14. David,
    Did you ever get that book entitled: Not One Little Child ... by Cox?


  15. Ron,
    Yes, I got the book "Not One Little Child" in the mail last Thursday from I'm one of their best customers :-). Thanks for recommending it.

    I haven't read it all, but I've read a good bit of it. You are right. It costs a little more than some, but it's worth it.

    I can now officially recommend "Not One Little Child" by Michael Cox, Crossbooks; 2009. I also like the Baptist flavor and references in it. Everybody out there - this is another good, solid book to get from the non-Calvinist or Moderate Calvinist viewpoint.
    David R. Brumbelow

  16. May I mention Brian Abasciano's two recent works "Paul's Use of the Old Testament in Romans 9.1-9" "Paul's Use of the Old Testament in Romans 9.10-18." These two works are by far, the most comprehensive and up to date on this important chapter. It interacts with Piper, Moo, and others, yet offers a compelling case for an alternate understanding. Go here for more information:


What do you think?