In this inaugural debate to the “Essential Christian Debates” series, Christopher M. Date and Gil VanOrder Jr. examine the biblical teaching and philosophical implications of individual predestination to salvation. Does the Calvinistic position, as taught, render God a moral monster? Conversely, would the Arminian position logically lead one to pray like the Pharisee, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men?” A Calvinist and an Arminian tackle these pressing questions, among others, and explore a number of key biblical teachings, taking us beyond the caricatures of each position. This debate is for both beginning and experienced students of Scripture and provides an indispensible resource on a controversial topic hotly debated within the church for centuries.
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“. . . this book is of such interest to me. In it, we have two passionate debaters, both deeply committed to their positions, both making strong arguments, and both willing to push and challenge without being disrespectful. They touch on key scriptural texts, discuss major theological disagreements, and review Church history. But they also point to the practical ramifications of their beliefs: What we believe about God, about His activity in the world, about the order of salvation has a very real effect on how we live our lives before Him.”
—from the Foreword by Michael L. Brown, PhD
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Endorsements & Reviews
“If you are sincerely trying to figure out the truth about an important and highly controversial question, I find there’s hardly a better help than a good formal debate with each side arguing their best case. The Calvinist view of individual predestination sure fits the bill: Does God predetermine the eternal destiny of every individual human being? Chris Date and Gil VanOrder Jr. give us an enjoyable, accessible, relatively short, but packed exchange. It helpfully features many interactions on the main arguments to be weighed on this important question with theological, philosophical, and highly practical ramifications. In such a direct confrontation of ideas, one must respond to objections, or dodge and be seen as unable to provide a defense. It makes it clear which arguments are most potent, and I trust you will find it helpful in weighing the issues for yourself.”
—Guillaume Bignon, philosopher and apologist with Association Axiome. Author of Excusing Sinners and Blaming God: A Calvinist Assessment of Determinism, Moral Responsibility, and Divine Involvement in Evil (Pickwick, 2018).
“Why another book on this debate? Well, there are several reasons. First, this one is mercifully short and to the point. Second, Date and VanOrder are direct, but friendly. Third, each side does, thankfully, bring some fresh insights to otherwise heavily traveled ground. Finally, while appropriately rigorous, it is one of the more readable works on a subject that is often too bogged down with academic blather to be of value to interested laypersons. I highly recommend this one to everyone.”
—Johnathan Pritchett, Vice President for Academics at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary
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