Feb 25, 2010
Interview With David Allen on the Forthcoming Book Whosoever Will
One book that I am looking forward to reading is Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Calvinism edited by professors David Allen and Steve Lemke. The publisher is Broadman & Holman. Whosoever Will contains revised versions of papers originally presented at the John 3:16 conference, which was held November 2008 at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia.
In anticipation of the forthcoming release, David Allen one of the editors of, and contributors to, Whosoever Will graciously agreed to be interviewed for this blog.
1. How did Whosoever Will come about?
This book is the result of a conference held at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, GA, in November, 2008, entitled “The John 3:16 Conference.” The purpose of this conference was to provide a biblical and theological evaluation and critique of Calvinism by non-Calvinists. Not a single speaker at this conference is an Arminian. Many today wrongly assume that there are only two theological positions on these issues: Calvinism and Arminianism. In fact, there are varieties within both camps. Most Southern Baptists are neither Calvinists nor Arminians, but would better be called “Calminians,” in that they affirm some aspects of each theological tradition. The book critiques Calvinism beginning with a critique of each of the so called “five points” in the TULIP acronym, followed by chapters addressing key issues such as whether Calvin himself affirmed limited atonement, the validity of the public altar call, the role of “determinism” in Calvinism, and how Calvinism handles the question of evil in the world.
2. Why did you write Whosoever Will?
We wrote the book to address the growing resurgence of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention, especially among students on college and seminary campuses. As a result, this issue has been on the front burner for the past few years among Baptists. Often there is confusion and caricature on both sides of this issue. We felt the time had come for a scholarly presentation, irenic in spirit, that would critique the key elements of Calvinism. We have been asked by numerous students and pastors over the years to write such a book.
3. What is the main thesis of the book?
The main thesis of this book is to provide a scholarly critique of the five points of Calvinistic soteriology and then to address key issues in the debate between Calvinists and non-Calvinists.
4. Who should read this book?
Anyone interested in this issue should read this book, especially pastors, church staff members, lay leaders and teachers in local churches, along with current college and seminary students. Regardless of which side of the issue one may fall, this book should be helpful.
5. What do you hope to accomplish through this book?
My goal would be four-fold: 1) to assist all with a greater understanding of the differences between Calvinism and non-Calvinism; 2) to provide non-Calvinists with an understanding of the problems with Calvinism from a non-Calvinist perspective; and 3) to promote the overall edification of the church; and 4) to bring glory to God by attempting to fulfill that part of the Great Commandment which says “to love God with all of your mind.”
For further information see this interview from Broadman & Holman which includes both Allen and Lemke.