Review of YOUNG, RESTLESS, NO LONGER REFORMED by Austin Fischer
Title: Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed
Author: Austin Fischer
Publisher: Cascade Books
What It's About: Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed is an honest look at one person's journey in and out of Calvinism and what led him to believe that Calvinism gets much about God's character wrong.
Why I Read It: I've studied Calvinism thoroughly, and though I think they have some good logical arguments, I've never been able to buy into it because I believe the Bible reveals things as a little more complex than Calvinist doctrine teaches. When I heard about this book, with a title that plays on the title of another book called Young, Restless, and Reformed, I decided to check it out.
What I Liked About It: I love Fischer's honesty. It's not so much a book that tries to make careful and complex arguments against Calvinism as it is a book that honestly follows Fisher's journey from believing Calvinism to be true to finding it to be inconsistent with what the Bible actually teaches. Along the way, he shares what led him to believe Calvinists have it all wrong.
Fischer sees Calvinism as making the Bible impossible, which I agree with. Calvinists seem to take a stance that treats God as someone who needs to be defended because his glory is always in danger of being taken away. Of course, that's not how they see it, but all the talk about glory makes many Calvinists sound extremely paranoid that non-Calvinists will up and steal God's glory with their proclamations of libertarian free will and claiming of responsibility for their salvation.
Toward the end of the book, Fischer argues how silly it sounds for someone to accept a gift and then claim that they should be merited for receiving the gift. God's glory is in no danger, and I think non-Calvinists actually believe that more than Calvinists do. One argument that Calvinists often make concerning the elect is illustrated by comparing a husband's love for his wife as unique above his love for any other woman. I've always been frustrated by this argument. Fischer easily reverses this argument that even though a husband has a unique love for his wife, he doesn't treat all other women terribly. It would be ridiculous to claim God loves some people uniquely, so his love for the others leads him to send the others to hell for all eternity. Therefore, the comparison to a husband's love for his wife to illustrate limited atonement just doesn't work.
I'm with Fischer in believing that there are many great Calvinists that we can learn much from, but Calvinism itself paints God all wrong. For anyone struggling with Calvinism, this is a book I would recommend above many others.