The Bible's command to "rejoice continually" seems impossible and, frankly, unreasonable. Yet despite the apparent difficulty in fulfilling this commandment, Gregory Forster argues that Calvinism holds the key--namely that "real Calvinism is all about joy."
Forster passionately holds to this belief, and systematically demonstrates it by addressing popular misconceptions of what Calvinism is and is not. Dismantling negative expressions of Calvinist theology, Forster positively reiterates its fundamental tenents, showing how God's love is the driving force behind every facet of Calvin's doctrine of salvation.
Written accessibly, The Joy of Calvinism is an important addition to the conversation surrounding Calvinism and its advocates. Skeptics and those who have had negative perceptions of Calvinism, as well as Calvinists themselves, will find this a helpful resource for clearing up the controversies and grasping the winsomeness of the doctrines of grace.
An Interview with the Author:
Greg Forster on The Joy of Calvinism - An Interview by Justin Taylor from Crossway on Vimeo.
Published February 2012
About the Author
Greg Forster (PhD, Yale University) is the author of five books and numerous print articles, and a regular contributor to First Thoughts, The Public Discourse, and Jay P. Greene’s Blog. His writing covers theology, economics, political philosophy and education policy. He is also a program director at the Kern Family Foundation and a senior fellow at the Friedman Foundation.
Publisher: Crossway/Good News Publishers
Publication Date: February 2012
ISBN 10: 1433528347
ISBN 13: 9781433528347
“Concerned that some of the negative press which Calvinism receives is actually provoked by Calvinists themselves, Forster here offers a refreshing restatement of the Reformed faith. In the tradition of the personal, pastoral confidence and joy one finds in the Heidelberg Catechism, he presents an account of the Reformed understanding of salvation that is accessible, reliable, and delightful. A super book to read for oneself or to give to Christian friends who may never have understood the joy that lies at the heart of Calvinism.”
- Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
“Why read another introduction to the doctrine of salvation broadly defined as Calvinism? Because the Joy of Calvinism is different. Forster is convinced that Calvinists tend to use abstract, esoteric terms when we speak about the doctrines of grace. His aim is to clear away the resulting confusion, and, at the same time, to bring to the forefront the heartfelt devotion that is built into the fabric of a biblical understanding of God’s sovereign grace. So instead of fueling the intellectual fires of budding Calvinists, it gives a stern and sustained rebuke to those whose primary obsession, it seems, is to shove the five points down as many throats as possible. It points the budding Calvinist to the joy that is to be found in the Christ of their salvation. Instead of attempting to convince the doubting Calvinist or the convinced Arminian by way of guilt, false dichotomies, or surveys of church history, Forster gives us a picture of what it means to live, not merely think, as a Calvinist. Out of all the recent introductions to Calvinism, this book should be the first that we give to both the overzealous convert and doubting skeptic. It also deserves to be digested by those who have embraced these doctrines but have, for one reason or another, failed to see or forgotten how they impact the life of the Christian."
- Benjamin Dahlvang, wtsbooks.com Staff
“Forster does a wonderful, twofold service for God’s people in this book—he retrieves Calvinism from portrayal as a dark and distasteful version of Christianity and, instead, presents it as an attractive and beautiful expression of biblical religion. Forster speaks with deep wisdom rooted not only in a well-informed theology, but also in his own experience as he wrestled with the sufferings of life and ultimately found comfort in the God who is profoundly merciful and sovereign in Christ. I highly recommend this book for all who seek godly encouragement and joy in the midst of life’s trials.”
- David VanDrunen, Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics, Westminster Seminary California; author of Bioethics and the Christian Life
“A refreshing, clearly-written, thought-provoking, truly enjoyable book that will help overcome many misconceptions and deepen people’s faith and joy in God each day.”
- Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Bible and Theology, Phoenix Seminary
“Calvinism gets a lot of bad press because of its joyless believers. Yet joyless Calvinism is an oxymoron. Forster has helped reframe this beautiful understanding of God in the Scriptures in a way that is attractive and compelling.”
- Darrin Patrick, Lead Pastor, The Journey, St. Louis, MO; author of For the City and Church Planter
“Forster pulls few punches with his critiques both for Calvinists and also their opponents—this vigor is what makes this exploration of joyous Calvinism so welcome and challenging.”
- Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition; author of Young, Restless, and Reformed
“Calvinism has been the target of countless caricatures, but none so misguided as the notion that it is the enemy of joy. Forster insists rightly that Calvinism is ‘drenched with joy,’ and has done a masterful job of accounting for the beauty and delight intrinsic to biblical Calvinism. I pray this book gets a wide reading.”
- Sam Storms, Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; author of The Hope of Glory