Letters to a Young Calvinist
Who would have guessed that something as austere as Calvinism would become a hot topic in today's postmodern culture? At the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth, new generations have discovered and embraced a "New Calvinism," finding in...
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Who would have guessed that something as austere as Calvinism would become a hot topic in today's postmodern culture?
At the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth, new generations have discovered and embraced a "New Calvinism," finding in the Reformed tradition a rich theological vision. In fact, Time cited New Calvinism as one of "10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now." This book provides pastoral and theological counsel, inviting converts to this tradition to find in Calvin a vision that's even bigger than the New Calvinism might suggest. Offering wisdom at the intersection of theology and culture, noted Reformed philosopher James K. A. Smith also provides pastoral caution about pride and maturity.
The creative letter format invites young Calvinists into a faithful conversation that reaches back to Paul and Augustine, through Calvin and Edwards, extending to Kuyper and Wolterstorff. Together they sketch a comprehensive vision of Calvinism that is generous, winsome, and imaginative.^
"My friend Jamie Smith is never boring. Most of the time I cheered 'Amen!' as I read these letters, but even when I disagreed, I appreciated Jamie's model of charity and humility as well as conviction. In the midst of all the encouraging energy of the 'New Calvinism' movement, it is also important to say that being Reformed is more than TULIP. These are rewarding and creatively written letters for all of us."--Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Theology, Westminster Seminary California"I wish there had been a Jamie Smith to write letters like these to me when I was a young Calvinist. But, hey, I'm glad to get them today! This is a wise and delightfully written portrayal of a robust Calvinism for the twenty-first century."--Richard J. Mouw, president and professor of Christian philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary"Letters to a Young Calvinist is a splendid book that speaks to both head and heart, counseling the 'young, restless, and Reformed' toward growth into a wider and deeper Reformed tradition. . . . [T]he journey with Smith into the spacious and expansive Reformed tradition is well worth the ride. This wise and witty book is a delight to read!"--J. Todd Billings, associate professor of Reformed theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan"Although Letters to a Young Calvinist may not please everyone in the Reformed camp (it is a big and diverse family after all), Jamie Smith has done a fabulous job articulating a winsome and engaging account of the depth, splendor, and joy of the Reformed tradition. I found much of what I hold dear about Calvinism reaffirmed in these interesting letters and at the same time was delighted to learn new insights that got me excited about the tradition all over again. I hope this book introduces a whole new generation to the richness of the Reformed understanding of the faith."--Jim Belcher, author, Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional"James K. A. Smith winsomely steps into one of the most fascinating conversations in contemporary evangelicalism--the surprising resurgence of Calvinism among younger Christians. Letters to a Young Calvinist is thoughtful, nuanced, provocative, relational, and informed. No one will agree with everything here, but what I appreciated most was Smith's careful insistence that there's much more to being theologically Reformed than believing in the famous (and fabulous!) five points of Calvinism. He shows that the Reformed tradition is covenantal and cosmic in scope, big and bright in scale, doctrinal and devotional in spirit. A thoroughly engaging read!"--Tullian Tchividjian, pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.; author, Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels
James K. A. Smith (Ph.D., University of Villanova) is associate professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Previously he taught at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. He is editor of In the Twilight of Western Thought in the Collected Works of Herman Dooyeweerd, and he has written numerous articles on philosophy and religion, and has a remarkable grasp of Post-modern hermeneutics and interpretation.
This is reflected in his publications Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Church and Postmodern Culture Series: Baker Academic, 2006); Jacques Derrida: Live Theory (Continuum, 2005), Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Post-Secular Theology (Baker Academic Press, 2004). Speech and Theology: Language and the Logic of Incarnation (Radical Orthodoxy Series: Routledge, 2002); Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition (Bakerbooks, 2010) and The Fall of Interpretation: Philosophical Foundations for a Creational Hermeneutic (InterVarsity Press, 2000).
He is preparing four volumes The Violence of Finitude: Derrida and the Logic of Determination; Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Learning and the Formation of Radical Disciples; The Devil Reads Derrida - and Other Essays on the University, the Church, Politics, and the Arts and Thinking in Tongues: Elements of a Pentecostal Worldview (Pentecostal Manifestos Series; Eerdmans, 2008).
Koorong -Editorial Review.
- Introduction<br>letter 1 - Welcome To The Family<br>letter 2 - On Religious Pride<br>letter 3 - Proud To Be A Calvinist?<br>letter 4 - Grace All The Way Down<br>letter 5 - God Owes Us Nothing<br>letter 6 - God Doesn't Even Owe Us An Answer<br>letter 7 - <i>semper Reformanda<br>postcard From Geneva<br></i>letter 8 - A Historical Tour Of Reformed Theology<br>letter 9 - Augustine, Patron Saint Of The Reformers<br><i>postcard From Princeton<br></i>letter 10 - To Be Reformed Is To Be Catholic<br>letter 11 - On Being "confessional"<br>letter 12 - Beyond Westminster<br>letter 13 - God's "social" Gospel<br>letter 14 - Our Promise-keeping God<br><i>postcard From Amsterdam<br></i>letter 15 - Elected To Love<br>letter 16 - Church Matters<br>letter 17 - Too Reformed For Church?<br><i>postcard From Seoul<br></i>letter 18 - On Grumpy Speculations<br>letter 19 - Wide-angle Calvinism<br>letter 20 - Far As The Curse Is Found<br>letter 21 - What Are We Saved For? <br>letter 22 - Bibliographical Providence<br>letter 23 - Enjoying God By Enjoying Creation