The Other Side of Calvinism. Revised Edition. By Laurence M. Vance. Pensacola, FL: Vance Publications, 1991, 1999. 788 pp. (Cloth), $27.95.
This book has ten major sections. The first half deals generally with Calvinism (Introduction, Origin of Calvinism, John Calvin, James Arminius, The Five Points). The second half deals point by point with the five points of Calvinism (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the Saints).
There are also seven appendixes dealing with various Calvinist (and Arminian) confessions including The Canons of Dort, The Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Second London Confession of Faith.
The book has a Scripture Index as well. By consulting it you can quickly discover the Calvinist position on many passages. Unfortunately for JOTGES readers, many of the key passages in the gospel debate are not referenced in the index. For example: Hebrews 6:4-8; James 2:14-26; John 8:30-32; 12:42-43; Galatians 5:21.
I found the chapter on perseverance to be very helpful. There Vance argues that “the New Testament is abundantly clear in its declaration that Christians may not persevere” (p. 574). “The fact that Christians may not persevere does not mean that they should not strive to do so. There are numerous exhortations in the Bible for believers to persevere…” (p. 575).
Within the section on perseverance is a nice discussion (i.e., refutation) of Lordship Salvation (pp. 577-86).
Vance does a good job of showing that the Reformed view of assurance of salvation is really no different than the Arminian position (pp. 595-96). Both look to works and perseverance to determine entrance into the kingdom.
While the book appears to be addressed for a fairly advanced audience, it is well written and easy to follow.
The main reservation I have with this book is its length, which is a bit intimidating. However, if it is used as a resource, the concern vanishes. In addition, it may be read one section at a time, since each stands alone.
I recommend this book as a super resource on the issue of Calvinism.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society