Item description for Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today's World by Richard J. Mouw...
Overview A friendly, conversational look at what Calvinism has to say to the 21st century world, this book clears up some misconceptions about Calvinism and shows Calvinists how to live gently and respectfully with Christians who disagree as well as with non-Christians who have no clue what TULIP means.
Publishers Description What do the Canons of Dordt mean to people in the Las Vegas airport---and does anyone there even care? In the movie Hardcore, a pious Calvinist elder tries unsuccessfully to explain the TULIP theology of his Dutch Reformed faith to a prostitute in the Las Vegas airport. This incongruous conversation demonstrates how Calvinism is often perceived today: irrelevant, harsh, even disrespectful. Beginning with this movie scene, Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport addresses the weaknesses of Calvinism and points to its strengths. How does Calvinism shed light on today? Instead of reciting the Canons of Dordt, what s a more compassionate way to relate to nonbelievers? What might it look like to live out the doctrines of TULIP with gentleness and respect? This conversational book provides answers and shatters some stereotypes. Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport encourages you to live every aspect of life---business, family, education, politics, activities, and more---before the face of a generous, sovereign God. Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike will find this an enjoyable read. You will discover that Reformed theology can speak relevantly and compellingly today, both to you and to people in the Las Vegas airport. Does Calvinism Have Anything to Do with the 21st Century? What do you think about Calvinism? Do you view it positively or negatively? Or has its day passed? Let s face it, many non-Calvinists hold a less-than-positive view, sometimes due to caricatures. This friendly, conversational book helps clear up some misconceptions and distorted views. If you re not a Calvinist, here is an engaging inside look. And if you are a Calvinist, Richard Mouw shows how to live gently and respectfully with others---Christians and non-Christians---who hold different perspectives. Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport focuses not on what Calvinists believe but on how they live. From a movie scene to the author s personal experiences in Las Vegas, you are invited to travel with Mouw and see the Reformed faith in a new light. Yes, it still does travel well "
Citations And Professional Reviews Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today's World by Richard J. Mouw has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christianity Today - 02/01/2005 page 88
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2004
Publisher Zondervan Publishing
ISBN 0310231973 ISBN13 9780310231974 UPC 025986231972
Availability 0 units.
More About Richard J. Mouw
Richard J. Mouw is Professor of Faith and Public Life and former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. His other books include Abraham Kuyper: A Short and Personal Introduction and Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World.
Richard J. Mouw currently resides in the state of California.
Reviews - What do customers think about Calvinism In The Las Vegas Airport?
Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today's World Nov 9, 2006
Richard Mouw writes in a personable and likable style, but his defense of Calvinism left me unconvinced. He seemed concerned to persuade the reader that Calvinists are nice people (and most are),but he didn't provide much in the way of a scriptural basis for Calvinism itself. This was an easy and pleasant read, but when the book was finished I was still hungry for evidence that Calvinism is grounded in reality.
A Simple, Straightforward Read Aug 9, 2006
This is a good book to get an overview of the basics of Calvinism, and how to discuss them rationally and civilly with people who don't see things the same way. It's a little overly simplistic at times, particularly when Mouw chooses not to defend his belief in the "Limited Atonement" part of TULIP on the grounds that he just can't. Still, I would recommend this book not only to Calvinists, but to Arminians, and possibly even nonbelievers looking for some clarity on the issue. Mouw's style is more conversational than confrontational, and it's a relatively easy read, given the subject matter.
Calvinism for the Rest of Us Apr 4, 2006
I grew up in a Reformed family, in a Reformed church, in a Reformed school. I was eating TULIP before I was drinking milk! So, its somewhat an enigma for those who know me that I have such reservations about Calvinism. I have tried talking on blogs about these reservations but mostly get responses that don't further endear me to a Calvinist mindset.
But Mouw's book is different. Richard Mouw accomplishes exactly what he sets out to do in this book - a description of how best to be a Calvinist in the 21st century. I could almost entirely embrace Mouw's form and approach to Calvinism - which is no small statement for me to make!!
He does not spend a tremendous amount of time discussing the intricacies of the doctrine which will upset some. He is open to the fact that there may be other believers who have some mixed up doctrine but will still be saved - and he is open to hearing their concerns about where his doctrine might be mixed up. That will upset others. He admits that Scripture, taken at face value, says things that are in tension with his theology. He accepts these tensions rather than trying to twist Scripture to fit his theology. Some will gnash their teeth over this.
I get the sense that Mouw is the type of person that I could sit down with and I would be impressed with his humility, spiritual maturity, humor, and flexibility. That would not only make me willing to listen to what he has to say about Calvinism - I might even be drawn to it!
Ignore the comments that say this is not a book worth buying. The book is not designed to teach people the basic beliefs of Calvinism. However, it would be very helpful to those who recognize that there is great good in Calvinism but can't completely wade their way through it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone desiring to figure out a more embracing approach to Calvinism.
For a more complete review, go to the blog in my screen name and click on either the Readings or Reforming categories.
Not Calvinism Dec 22, 2005
Generally a disappointment. A fundamental concept of Reformed - i.e. Calvinist - theology is that God is sovereign and His breathed word is the norm and standard of our thought and behavior. Mouw does a reasonable job of that for a portion of his book, but delves into a whole section of discourse about his experiential and, really, preferential, ideas about God's "generosity" in salvation. Specifically, he describes a rabbi friend of his of whom he says, "I have a spiritual hunch about how things are going to end up for this rabbi. I would not be surprised if, in the final encounter comes with his Maker and he sees the face of Jesus, he will bow in worship, acknowledging that Jesus is the One whom he should have named all along as the Promised One of Israel - and that the Savior will welcome him into the eternal kingdom." Umm, which translation are you reading from? Which orthodox church confession are you reading from? Oh, I remember! This is from the book of Second Opinions.
Later on in the book, he refers to Niki, a fictional prostitute in the movie from which the book derives its name. He says about her, "or maybe she would even become a devout Roman Catholic. I want to say this clearly: that would be okay with me as a Calvinist." What kind of Calvinist is that? Which part of Roman Catholicism would John Calvin be "okay" with, the Marian doctrines, the works-based salvation, or the continual recrucifiction of Christ on the altar of transubstantiation?
These are two examples of how this book failed to live up to my expectations, but clearly lived up to its subtitle about "making connections in today's world." Obviously, making connection today is about being relative, watering down moral purity, dispensing with the Reformed doctrines of election and predestination and allowing that God's stated standards really are just as malleable as everyone in the marketplace would like to think. I was desperately hoping that Mouw would give me clear examples of how to apply the difficult, sometimes troubling doctrines of Reformed theology - doctrines that are clearly found in Scripture and that led the reformers to create a vision of pure godly thinking and living - to my everyday situations and encounters with unbelievers. He failed. Instead he took the easy way out and abandoned historic Protestant orthodoxy.
Don't buy this book. Don't waste your money. If you find something that fits the bill that this book promised to pay, please let me know.
A Must Read for Calvinists, and a Good Read for Others Sep 9, 2005
If there's one thing that Calvinists are especially not good at, it's explaining themselves in a way in which non-Calvinists could possibly understand them. This is one reason why it took me some time to become a Calvinist- none that I'd talk to bothered to articulate the "Doctrines of Grace" in a way that made sense to my Arminianist ears. Richard Mouw cites an example of this played out in the movie Hardcore. A pious Calvinist, Jack, is waiting in the Las Vegas airport with Niki, a pagan prostitute. They begin to discuss what Jack's beliefs are and he expounds on the great truths of the Canons of Dort summed up in TULIP. Niki is bewildered and Jack simply says, "Well, I admit it's a little confusing when you look at it from the outside. You have to try to look at it from the inside."
This scene in the Las Vegas airport sets the stage for Richard Mouw's book. There are at least two problems with the way Calvinists represent themselves to the world, including other Christians, according to Dr. Mouw. The first is the expression of doctrine and the general inability to explain Calvinist theology. "I believe that TULIP, properly understood, captures something very central to the gospel. And I want to bring that gospel to Niki and her kind." (14) The second problem is more along the lines of character. "I must also say up front that it isn't just in our conversations with unbelievers that I find many Calvinists lacking in gentleness and respect. I even find these qualities missing in Calvinists' interactions with other Christians. Indeed, Calvinists are often not very gentle and respectful when debating fine points of doctrine with fellow Calvinists." (15)
Dr. Mouw first sets the stage by noting why he considers himself a "Calvinist" and how he became one. In chapter 3, "Mere Calvinism," he summarizes the famous five points so as to show exactly what Calvinism teaches. In the following chapter Dr. Mouw zeros in on "L"- limited, or particular, atonement. He explains why this doctrine, though he believes it, is left on his "theological shelf," only to be utilized when necessary.
Chapter 6 deals with the problem of God's sovereignty and evil. Dr. Mouw's solution is that while "God ordains/permits everything that comes to pass, we don't simply have to accept that fact. We can complain to God rather vigorously about the things we have a hard time accepting." (51) Following this he makes the case that we aren't simply elected; we are elected to something- to be agents of God's sovereign rule. He saw this played out in his life as he recognized Christ as Savior, Lord, and King through different stages in his life.
The teachings of Abraham Kuyper are the focus of chapter 7. Dr. Mouw argues here that we are to be public Calvinists. While we will not succeed in "Christianizing" the world, we should adhere to the Christian worldview and seek to transform our culture according to it. He then deals with the commons accusation that the God of Calvinism is stingy about whom He saves. In Chapter 9, Dr. Mouw shares a number of encounters he had on his own journey through the Las Vegas airport. In reflecting on how he might have responded in one of his encounters, he envisions his Dutch grandmother quoting the First Question and Answer of the Heidelberg Catechism.
Jake's mistake, according to Dr. Mouw, is that he quoted from the Canons of Dordt instead of Heidelberg. His reasoning echoes a lecture he attending by Louis Berkhof who said that Heidelberg asks us to speak existentially. In speaking of our only comfort it speaks of man personally instead of generally. Dr. Mouw concludes in chapter 11 with some reflections on where Calvinists can learn from others on improving their character.
The questions this book raise are central to many of the issues surrounding why I left an RCA church earlier this year. The questions are the right ones to ask, like, "what does Calvinism have to say to our present world?" However, the church answered these questions by "shelving" all of their Calvinist and Reformed theology with the exception of infant baptism. As this is an issue close to my heart, I was encouraged to find some helpful suggestions for interacting in our world without shelving my Reformed theology in Dr. Mouw's book.
I do take exception with the idea that we should shelve limited/particular atonement. Perhaps we should shelf some of our terminology, but the doctrine itself is so key to the Gospel that I cannot imagine shelving it without feeling that I've compromised the entire message in some way. I also had trouble, though less so, with the idea that we should complain before the throne of God. If I had a child who complained in the way Dr. Mouw describes, I would discipline him immediately. These ideas, as Dr. Mouw would put it, make me nervous.
There were far more things in the book, however, that I found insightful and enjoyable. I went to my first catechism service last Sunday (no other church I've attended has ever offered one) and I'm already hooked on the Heidelberg. I think the perspective it takes, in as much of it that I've studied, is much more helpful in articulating Reformed beliefs in a common vernacular than the often misunderstood TULIP of Dordt.
Overall I found Richard Mouw's personal engagement of the issues to be heartening. His repeated quotes from men like Spurgeon, Kuyper, and Warfield added richness to his already insightful points. In general, Dr. Mouw's suggestions for communicating Calvinism in contemporary culture with gentleness and respect are much needed within the Reformed community. Unfortunately, those who need to read this book the most will likely prematurely dismiss it as watered-down theology. This is a loss not just to them, but to those they interact with, as they'll miss out on the many positive insights offered here. Regardless, my hope is that it will be taken seriously and be read by Calvinists as well as those who've been offended by them.