Hoodwinked and Happy? Evangelicals, Calvinism, and Why No One’s Answering the Problem of Evil. By Daniel Gracely. np: Grandma’s Attic Press, 2006. 450 pp. Paper. $24.99.
Gracely’s book focuses on only one issue: how Calvinism fails to solve the problem of evil. Gracely shows through numerous quotes that a primary problem in Calvinism is the tendency to explain evil as both within the will of God, and therefore caused by God, but not within His perfect will, and therefore, not directly caused by God. Gracely shows in various ways that such an explanation does not work logically, theologically, or Biblically. The chapters which dealt with specific texts (Chap 6–Rom 9:22; Chap 8–Lam 3:37-38; Chap 9–Job 1–2) were some of the best in the book. If Gracely hadn’t occasionally mentioned his lack of seminary training and ignorance of Biblical languages, one never would have known.
Due to the strength and diversity of Calvinism, this is a good way to approach refuting some of its points. Books that try to deal with all the issues at once tend to be good introductions, but shallow in their ability to deal with any one subject. However, having said that, Gracely’s book did get somewhat repetitive and several of the chapters could have been cut. Also, there were some minor typesetting mistakes in the book.
Even though I don’t fully agree with his conclusions, I recommend this book as one that focuses on a main difficulty within Calvinism: the problem of evil.