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I think this post is a good one, I`m always attracted to the Calvinst- non Calvinist debate.

As I see it, the only way the scripture can reconcile both views is that Gods time is not our time, just as Gods ways are not our ways.

In my opinion Goodwin was not only correct, he was Chrasimatically correct.

Debbie Kaufman

Goodwin went the way of James Arminius, Charles Finney and others who began Calvinist yet turned from it. I of course disagree with him(as you predicted Peter) but today I would certainly not turn him away from a seat at the table.


I am a Calvinist at least a 4-point one (still struggle with limited atonement). I am also a historian and must correct error when I see it.

"Goodwin went the way of James Arminius, Charles Finney and others ..." is an incorrect statement as it implies that the contributions of these individuals was negated by their abandonment of Calvinism.

While I do not personally believe it was either Great or an Awakening, Charles Finney is remembered as the leader of the 2nd Great Awakening. James Arminius is still held in great esteem by various pentecostal denominations. And so "went the way" is not an accurate or historical statement.

Now as to Peter -- you make me laugh but I disagree with you on the Calvinistic issues. But you know what ... that is okay and should be encouraged.

Debbie Kaufman

That is not what I meant Amy, but I'll accept the correction. It was more an observation than to say why his contribution was noteworthy.

Benji Ramsaur


Interesting stuff indeed.

It will me interesting if he has some angles on the issue that are not already widely known.

For example, the mention of "world" and "all" passages is very familiar and has already been responded to by Calvinists [whether one agrees or disagrees with their response is another story].



peter lumpkins


Thank you David. Sometimes the 'mystery' comes through in contemplating such lofty subjects as these...


I appreciate your input and your own appreciation for history. In addition, we are in full agreement about your honest dissent, which happily constitutes a decided nonimpact on our acceptance of one another in Christ.


I trust your week well. And you are correct: Goodwin does rehearse many passages that may for us appear an old worn shoe. For me, this reveals much:

1) The display of Scriptures contra Calvinism--Limited Atonement particularly here--is both deep and wide.

Moreover, the questions raised were raised by some of the keenest minds of theology, not hokey, uneducated yahoos who wanted a 'simple' 'more understandable' message. Goodwin is a direct hit here.

2) Calvinist dissenters raised primarily 'Scriptural' issues contra Calvinism--particularly Limited Atonement.

Goodwin, while not devoid of his own brand of logical overlay, nonetheless makes it clear in his volume he aims to raze Limited Atonement by Scripture alone. For me, he does not disappoint, I assure.

3) While it could be reasonably argued that NonCalvinist objections were readily countered by Calvinist apologists, it must equally be noted that the answers Calvinists offered to their critics were apparently weak--too weak, in fact to appease the conscience of a multitude of Conservative believers. Calvinism did not win the day with their rejoinders; rather NonCalvinism spread wider still.

Goodwin's questions, at least to much of the general populace, were preferred over Calvinist answers.

In addition, it is similarly interesting that just as you rightly point out that Goodwin's Scriptural corpus possesses a familiar sound to today's NonCalvinist dissenters, to read through Goodwin's book, at many places, reveals somewhat of a creepy de ja vue feeling that Goodwin sallied from the latest Founders Conference.

For example, Calvinists forever mention 'Christ died sufficiently but not efficiently for all people's sin', continuing to milk that cow bone dry. To one's amazement, Goodwin smashes that statue like Dagon's head (p.75ff). Who would have thought it?

4) Goodwin's treatment of some of these passages are, as I noted in the main post, painfully exhaustive. He spent a whopping 30+ pages (p.23-56) on just why it cannot be that 'world' can be interpreted 'calvinistically'.

Thanks, Benji, again for your input. With that, I am...




this is indeed very interesting stuff. thanks for sharing it with us. you have shown me many, many things that were never brought up by a certain history prof. that i had in seminary who was a staunch, founders type calvinist. it's refreshing to hear these historical tidbits.


peter lumpkins


Hope you are well. And, thanks for the kudos. For me, I think it must always be a balancing act. Dr. Yarnell, at the BB Conference, rightly pointed out that Calvinist interpreters' historiography poorly reflected on balanced approach.

That is, they seemed suspiciously addicted to 'Calvinists' history, 'Calvinists' exposition, 'Calvinists' theologies, 'Calvinists' philosophies, etc, all the time neutering any scholarly contributions from NonCalvinist sources. That sounds similar to what you experienced at MAS.

Grace, David. With that, I am...


Richard Coords

Hello Peter,

Thanks for posting such a terrific review of Goodwin's blockbuster.

I, too, found Goodwin to be verbose. He knew how to beat a dead horse, and then a little while later, come back and give it some more, just for good measure.

This was a book about exegesis. He knew how to really dig into a verse, and examine it from many angles. He provided a number of excellent quotes for my website, and I was especially pleased to see his exegesis on John 6:37, 6:44, as it supports the argument that I had made, when debating Jim from oldtruth.com. Gene had insisted that I had nothing more than a few modern works to site for support (see below, quoted after Goodwin), so I was delighted to be able to cite Goodwin:

John Goodwin writes: “They are said to have been the Father’s i.e. as it were, the Father’s disciples, or persons ‘taught by the Father,’ John vi. 45, and so, after a sort, appropriable unto the Father, (as those that believe and are taught of Christ are said to be Christ’s, or to belong to Christ) before they became Christ’s apostles, or were chosen by him upon this account; and are said to have been given unto him out of the world by the Father, because they were peculiarly qualified, and as it were, characterized and marked out by the Father to be formed into apostles by his Son.” (Redemption Redeemed, p.80)

Walls and Dongell explain: “Had they received Moses fully, thereby coming to know the Father to the degree possible at that time, they would have belonged to the Father’s flock, and the Father would have drawn them to the Son. But in rejecting Jesus, they demonstrated that they never surrendered to God in the first place, that they had set their faces like flint against all of his continued overtures. Since they did not belong to the Father’s own flock, they wouldn’t be part of the transfer of sheep already trusting the Father into the fold of the Son (Jn 6:37, 39).” (Why I am Not a Calvinist, p.75)

Laurence Vance explains: “…we have here the separation of the Jewish sheep from the goats and the drawing of them to the Messiah. The ones given are Jewish disciples. They are said to be his sheep. (John 10:27). John baptized that Christ should be manifest to Israel (John 1:31). Although Israel as a whole received him not (John 1:11), he was known of his sheep (John 10:14), the epitome of which can be seen in Simeon, who was ‘just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him’ (Luke 2:25). … The error of the Calvinists on John 6:44 is two-fold. First and foremost is the misapplication of a verse with a decidedly Jewish context as a doctrinal statement on salvation in this age. And secondly, in a spiritual sense, there is the fallacy of making the drawing of God irresistible and equating it with salvation.” (The Other Side of Calvinism, pp.510, 511)

Robert Hamilton comments: “The crux of my argument will be that the set of individuals who are said by Jesus to ‘belong’ to God as Christ’s ‘sheep,’ to ‘listen to the Father and learn from him,’ and to be ‘given’ by the Father to the Son, refers not to a pretemporally determined set of elect persons as conceived of in the Calvinist Reformed view, but instead primarily to the faithful sons of Abraham who were God’s children under the covenant as it was revealed in the Old Testament, and who were already prepared by their voluntary faith and repentance to embrace the promised Messiah at the time of his long-awaited appearance to the nation of Israel. These included the ones whom God had nurtured to repentance under the ministry of John the Baptist, who was appointed to ‘prepare the way for the Lord’ (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:3).” (The Order of Faith and Election in John's Gospel: You Do Not Believe Because You Are Not My Sheep)

Again, thanks Peter for the great review of Goodwin's work.

Luke Gowdy


As a Baptist and a recovering Calvinist, I’m not sure whether to accuse you of having caused me to sin or accuse you of having pricked my conscience. On the one hand I covet your reading of the book and greatly wish I had that opportunity instead of you. On the other hand, I’m even more greatly motivated to read the copy I’ve had for quite a while.

Curses! Blessings!
Luke Gowdy

peter lumpkins


If the post prompted you to take up Goodwin again, it was a good post :^) I trust your Christmastide well.

With that, I am...


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