Roger Forster studied mathematics and theology at St John's College Cambridge. After a period in the Royal Air Force, he worked as an itinerant evangelist before starting Ichthus in 1974. Roger was one of the founders of March for Jesus, was on the board of the AD2000 Movement and the Council of the Evangelical Missionary Alliance for many years. He has been involved with the Evangelical Alliance since the early 1970s as a member of the Council, and has served on a number of EA committees.Among his many responsibilities he is Chairman of the Council for the UK Evangelical Alliance and honorary Vice President of Tearfund, and is honoured to be on the Council of Reference for Aglow International (Britain), and together with Faith is a patron of Springs Dance Company. In 1974 Faith and Roger Forster founded the Ichthus Christian Fellowship, which they co-lead, and currently comprises 15 London congregations, a network of 80 UK link churches and workers overseas in approximately 16 nations. Roger has authored and co-authored several books, including God's Strategy in Human History, Reason Science and Faith, Christianity Evidence and Truth, The Kingdom of Jesus, Prayer, Trinity and Suffering and the Love of God.
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Refuting Calvinistic points Apr 29, 2007
This is one of the finest books I have read that attempts to give a biblical diagnosis of the extremes of some of TULIP Calvinism. These authors exegete the Scriptures to show that some of Calvinism's assertions against free-will don't stack up with the Bible.
A sample from the word study on "Chosen and Elect" explains some of their perspective: "Although God, in his foreknowledge, doubtless knew which individuals would repent and so be joined by him to Christ's body, this is not at all the same thing as picking them out to make them repent. God's choice is not an individual one of who should repent; it is a corporate choice of the church in Christ. . . Those in the early church seem to have grasped much more readily than ourselves the concept of being chosen in Christ."
I have been troubled for years by the Calvinistic autocratic determinism that leads to a predestination that seems to drag people into the Kingdom of God. This is a scholarly and readable biblical understanding that refutes the Reformed view of election/predestination.
A Wonderful Treatise on Freewill and God's Plan for Humanity Apr 15, 2007
A very well written book on the freewill of mankind and how God interacts with him and works his plan for salvation, while yet allowing man the freedom of choice and freedom. If you have ever had difficulty harmonizing God's foreknowledge and freewill, this book will provide you with tremendous insight and knowledge. This book does a wonderful job of addressing the heresies of Calvinism. I highly recommend this book for any one seeking answers.
It is accurate and true!!! Jan 4, 2005
See: Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Baker Book House, 1950), p. 371. to see for yourself that that John (the heretic) Calvin said, "If he [Servetus] comes [to Geneva], I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight." And this was said seven years before Servetus was put to death. Calvin had seven years to think this over, but he didn't change his mind.
This book will help the reader to see that not only does The Bible not teach Calvinism, but it condemns it, and that there were those that thought like a Calvinist even in the day of Job!! Get this book now while it's still available.
I really must point this out... Feb 15, 2004
...as this is absolutely untrue and historically inaccurate.
"Any serious student of scripture knows that the tenants of Calvin's doctrine are heretical. From start to finish, his teaching has lead men and women into spiritual ruin for the last sixteen hundred odd years. Ask the Spanish physician, Michael Servetus, if Calvinism was a reflection of God's love and mercy for sinful mankind. Burned at the stake in Geneva on Oct27, 1553 by John Calvin himself, for 'doctrinal heresies', he suffered a most horrid death, as Calvin prolonged his execution by using 'green wood'."
Although I am not a Calvinist, this statement is nothing short of purest slander. In reality, Calvin pleaded for Servetus' life, asking originally that he simply be banned from Geneva rather than be executed. Then, when the city council proved determined to put Servetus to death, Calvin asked that the sentence be carried out by some means other than burning.
Thanks...just needed to clear that up.
As far as the book is concerned, this is excellent material from the founding pastor and one of the elders of London's Ichthus Christian Fellowship. It tries to take a 'middle knowledge' approach to the subject of Divine foreknowledge. Although that is a position which I myself do not agree with, I do believe that the author's have done an outstanding job in summarizing their arguments and present a cogent defense of their position. Well worth reading by all those interested in this timely and crucial debate within evangelical circles.
[Special Addendum: A note to C. E. Core above] - No. It is NOT accurate and it is NOT true. It is nothing more or less than slander disguised as church history. Schaff-Herzog got it W-R-O-N-G. Do your homework. Schaff-Herzog was published in 1950. We've obtained a LOT of additonal historical material in the intervening 56 years, including source documents. All modern and revised church histories now acknowledge that Calvin's role was MUCH different than it was portrayed in Schaff-Herzog. At first, Calvin pleaded with Servetus to leave Geneva and seek asylum in some city more amenable to his theological novelties. But Servetus would have none of it. Failing all efforts to convince Servetus to either leave Geneva or recant his views, Calvin still interceded on Servetus' behalf...even at the eleventh hour. To wit the following quote from Banner Of Truth: "And now at last one man alone stands forth to plead for a mitigation of the sentence, namely, that another form of death be substituted for the stake. That one man was John Calvin. He interceded most earnestly with the judges for this, but in vain. Both Farel, who came to Geneva for the purpose, and Calvin, prayed with the unhappy man, and expressed themselves tenderly towards him. Both of them pleaded with the Council for the substitution of a milder mode of death; but the syndics were inflexible. The historian Paul Henry writes of this matter: Calvin here appears in his real character; and a nearer consideration of the proceeding, examined from the point of view furnished by the age in which he lived, will completely exonerate him from all blame. His conduct was not determined by personal feeling; it was the consequence of a struggle which this great man had carried on for years against tendencies to a corruption of doctrine which threatened the church with ruin. Every age must be judged according to its prevailing laws; and Calvin cannot be fairly accused of any greater offence than that with which we may be charged in our own day for punishing certain crimes with death." Trust me on this one Mr. Core. I teach Church History.
One of my favorite books! Jan 4, 2004
Forster and Marston have delivered a stellar book that attempts to present an exegetical and Scriptural framework for the content presented in the book. Instead of beginning from a set of deductive theological assumptions and then attempting to support that system from Scripture, Forster and Marston examine Scripture and attempt to build their case directly from the text. The authors unabashedly admit that their views are very similar to those of Arminian and Weslyan traditions, but they state in the beginning of the book that they do not want to be labeled with these names, but want to construct a theology that is in line with the teachings of the first 300 years of Christianity. Anyone who reads their appendix will come to understand that the teachings presented in this book were the orthodox consensus of the early Church for the first 300 years, and that it was Augustine who introduced serious deviations into the mainstream orthodox Christianity of his time.
Forster and Marston begin by describing the battle that is being waged between God and the spiritual forces that oppose Him. They examine the book of Job and see how this relates to the overall struggle. Then the authors examine the 9th chapter of Romans to see if this book is dealing with election and individual destinies, or God's actions within human history. The authors do an excellent job of arguing for their opinion that this chapter is speaking about God's involvement in human history and it deals with God's choosing of one nation or individual over another nation or individual to accomplish His purpose. Other sections of interest in this book are the sections on foreknowledge and predestination and the chapters on faith and works. The section on faith and works was particularly interesting because it relies on much of the teaching of the new perspective which has shed much light on how a 1st century Palestinian Jew would have approached Scriptural issues. The research, argumenation, and exegesis in this book are solid so every chapter is excellent, but the ones mentioned above were two of my favorites.
There really aren't too many weaknesses I could find in this book. There were a lot of little printing mistakes so that was a bit annoying. Furthermore, there were times when the authors dealt with the teachings and writings of Open Theist's and seemed to be a bit sympathetic with them, but never said they agreed wholeheartedly with them. This group of scholars has come under attack from people from every perspective within the Christian Church, so it would have been nice to know definitively where the authors stand. Also, some of the arguments against Reformed teaching were too emotional, but that does not detract from the fact that there are also many biblical arguments against their teachings. Anyone interested in reading a scholarly study that defends free-will, God's love and desire for all to be saved, and explains how God interacts in the affairs of men, then this is the book to read. The Appendix with quotes from the early Church Fathers defending free will, and illustrating how Augustine's teaching was a 5th century invention is also invaluable. Without a doubt this is one of the best books available that discusses such issues.