Profile for Ian H. Clary > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Ian H. Clary
Top Reviewer Ranking: 496,077
Helpful Votes: 6

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Ian H. Clary (Toronto, Ontario Canada)
(REAL NAME)   

Page: 1
pixel
Chosen by God
Chosen by God
by R. C. Sproul
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.99
34 used & new from CDN$ 4.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A step in the right direction., July 1 2004
This review is from: Chosen by God (Paperback)
I've read this book, and given away copies of it to Arminian friends, and I've reread this book. It is very helpful in terms of learning about the basics of Calvinism. Dr. Sproul has done much in his lifetime towards the promulgation of Reformed theology in today's church.
His focus historically, is on the major players in Reformed thought - such as Calvin, Luther, Augustine and Edwards. I do have a problem with his listing Aquinas as a Calvinist on page 14, because that is simply not true. There may have been some similarities in Aquinas' views on predestination, but that would be credited to his use of language, not on the definitions of terms that Aquinas provided. Aquinas was a Roman Catholic and therefore betrays any notion or possibility of holding to Reformed views. It seems that Sproul has an affinity for Aquinas which is too bad. His contemporary list is accurate, including Francis Schaeffer who was undoubtedly a Calvinist as opposed to what one reviewer claims. Granted, some of Schaeffer's apologetic methodology didn't line up with his soteriology, he nonetheless was a Calvinist! He said so himself! And Sproul would know, the two were friends.
The book's strong points are its focus on God's sovereignty in salvation. He provides easy to understand examples from life and the Bible to show God's sovereignty. The section in chapter two called The Sovereignty of God should be read and reread until one comes to a full understanding of what is being said.
Sproul's explanation of mercy and justice is extremely helpful and is likely the point in the book where I just couldn't stop smiling being so impacted by the truth of it all. This provided an excellent seguay into the relationship between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. Here Sproul follows Packer's argument for antinomy which is surprising considering Sproul's love for Jonathan Edwards. It would have made more sense for him to refer to Edwards' view on the two wills of God as John Piper has done (see [...] Although antinomy is a good answer to this problem, it is not the best as Piper has shown.
Thankfully Sproul refers the reader to Edwards in chapter 3 on the issue of free will. I know of no other Christian theologian who dealt with this better than Edwards in his treatise On The Freedom of the Will. I believe Sproul handles it well. Especially with his explanation of natural verses moral inability.
The different charts and diagrams are helpful in visualizing what Sproul is saying. As well as his use of illustrations.
The weak point of the book is that he doesn't refer to the Bible as much. Granted, the Bible is being used, I think that it could have been used a bit more. Sometimes Sproul falls into using philosophy a little too much. I guess that is understandable considering philosophy is one of Sproul's primary interests.
I would heartily recommend this book.

Classical Apologetics
Classical Apologetics
by John H Gerstner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.15
17 used & new from CDN$ 10.60

1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, July 1 2004
This review is from: Classical Apologetics (Paperback)
In Bible college I was given this book as a text for a class on Apologetics. I was fairly new to the Reformed faith, and highly indebted to Dr. Sproul's works such as Chosen By God. He helped give me a proper view of predestination, reprobation, depravity, election, perseverance etc. During that time I also read his book Faith Alone that critiqued Roman Catholicism and enjoyed it immensely. But having read this book on apologetics, I came away from it sadly confused. It came across as Roman Catholic at worst and Arminian at best. Although the authors are Calvinistic in their approach to other areas of theology, in terms of their apologetics they are a strange hybrid of a variety of traditions.
Classical Apologetics is a tough read for someone who is just getting in to apologetics, there are better ones out there to be used as an introduction - for example Scott Oliphant's The Battle Belongs to the Lord, or Greg Bahnsen's Always Ready.
It is divided into three sections 1) sets forth their unreformed view of natural theology (for a critique of the natural theology of this ilk, see John Owen's Biblical Theology) 2) is a section on the "classical" theistic proofs, which are nothing more than a reassertion of Aquinas' theology and 3) a horrible critique of presuppositional apologetics a la Cornelius Van Til.
The scholarship in this book is poor. Whoever the publisher was, or the editor, they should have looked at it more closely. There are some glaring errors in terms of research. For example, when they cite Edwards on the noetic effects of sin (and try to make him out to be a rationalist) footnote nine on page 243 actually refers the readers to one of Dr. Gerstner's books! For a good review of Edwards' apologetical background, see Stephen Nichols' book An Absolute Sort of Certainty or Scott Oliphant's article Edwards the Reformed Apologist at [...]
The bulk of the book is set at critiquing Van Til. They label him a "fideist" - a horrible charge. One that Sproul denied in a debate with Greg Bahnsen ([...] yet stated categorically in this book!
Their attack on circular reasoning proves that they don't understand what Van Til was saying when he called it a "glorious circle." He did not mean that the fallacy of begging the question was glorious, rather he gloried in the fact that there is no higher standard with which to measure the claims of the Bible (otherwise that standard would be deemed more worthy than the Bible) so it is self-attesting and therefore its attestation of itself is in fact circular. Just as Christ's authority is based not on some outside source to measure it, rather it is attested to by His own authority.
For an indepth critique of this book I would suggest Oliphant's article, as well as the appendix of John Frame's Apologetics to the Glory of God and Bahnsen's response at cmfnow.com.
Don't buy this book, unless you have to for class. If you do, look at it critically and in light of what others have said about it. Sproul, Gerstner and Lindslay come out looking like Arminian rationalists, which is very sad to say the least.

End Times  Fiction: A Biblical Consideration of the Left Behind Theology
End Times Fiction: A Biblical Consideration of the Left Behind Theology
by Gary DeMar
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read., July 1 2004
I first heard of Gary DeMar on The Bible Answer Man radio show a couple of years ago. At the time I held to the five points of Calvinism, but attended a dispensational church. To say the least, I was confused as to what to believe concerning the end times. By default, I held to a rapturist viewpoint, with premillennialism and the seven year tribulation to boot. But hearing DeMar blew my mind. I was driving home from church on a Sunday evening and had to keep driving to listen to the whole show - I was floored by his denials of all of the major tenets of what I was taught. And the fact that ole Hank endorsed him gave him credibility in my eyes (not that I agree with everything Hank says - ie his views on election etc).
The Bible Answer Man is rerun later in the week, so when it played again I was with my fiancee and we both listened to it. By this point DeMar had me questioning, but I left it at that. Oddly enough, I went to our local Christian bookstore a month or so later and saw End Times Fiction (which was surprising, cause it's not a good store!). I bought that, as well as Hoekema's The Bible and the Future and Riddlebarger's A Case for Amillennialism.
I read DeMar first and was struck by it. He's very readable and easy to understand and he made a great critique of much of what I believed.
The strenght of the book was his ability to tear down the dispensational arguments of Left Behind. It became easy to see that Biblically there is no secret rapture or any of the other unique distinctives that dispensationalism holds to.
The weakness, for me, was that DeMar didn't do the greatest job at constructing a new theology for me to consider. I was left without dispensationalism, but didn't really have anything to build in its stead. What he did provide was hard for me to believe - I have since rejected many of his preteristic and postmillennial views.
So, I rejoiced at DeMar having exposed the truth about Left Behind's theology, but was scared because I didn't really know what to believe. Trying to read Hoekema's book was horrible (although it is an EXCELLENT treatment of the subject) because I had no foundation to understand what he was talking about. I would recommend Riddlebarger as an intro to eschatology.
I also would recommend DeMar but with the caveat that you should read it alongside other books to help find a place to rest eschatologically (pardon the pun).

Case for Amillennialism, A: Understanding the End Times
Case for Amillennialism, A: Understanding the End Times
by Kim Riddlebarger
Edition: Paperback
9 used & new from CDN$ 7.57

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fair Treatment of the Subject, July 1 2004
After trudging through some of the harder texts on this subject, Riddlebarger's book became very helpful to me in understanding not only the Amillennial position but the others as well. I believe that he treats each position fairly and provides an informed critique of each one and his own. A Case for Amillennialism is a great introduction to the subject of eschatology.
Riddlebarger balances biblical, historical and systematic theology wonderfully to give the reader a full orbed view of his subject. This will provide the reader with the foundation to continue on to some harder, yet very good books, such as Vos' Pauline Eschatology as well as Hoekema's The Bible and the Future.
This book is highly recommended!

Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper
Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper
by Keith A. Mathison
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.94
18 used & new from CDN$ 13.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical theological look at the Lord's Supper, July 1 2004
I bought this book an a whim and was very glad that I did. Mathison has done contemporary Christianity a service buy publishing this work.
He gives the reader a solid background in the issues concerning the Reformation debate on the Eucharist. In it, I believe, he vindicates the three major players - Luther, Zwingli and Calvin - explaining how Calvin wasn't as far from Luther and how Zwingli eventually came over the Calvin's position. Thus almost unifying the magesterial reformers on such an important reformational topic.
Mathison also gives us a masterful look at post-reformation thought on the issue, citing all of the major confessions and catechisms from the Reformation to today - as well as looking at major theologians throughout church history.
The one drawback was his treatment of Jonathan Edwards - which is understandable considering the only published sermons of Edwards on the Supper make him appear Zwingliian. However there are a series of unpublished sermons on the Lord's Supper that clearly prove that Edwards was a Calvinist when it came to this means of grace. There is an excellent article in Pro Ecclesia - A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology (Vol. vii - No. 3 - Summer 98) by William J. Danaher, Jr. that exposes Edwards for the Calvinist that he is.
Also, it would be nice in a subsequent edition if Mathison would highlight the view of the early Particular Baptists which was undoubtedly Calvinistic - as opposed to some of the later one's who developed a memorialist view.
Mathison's exegesis of Old and New Testament texts enlighten the reader to see how Biblical Calvin's view is. We would do well to harken to Mathison's exhortation to return to this rich view of the Supper.

Fidelity: What It Means to Be a One-Woman Man
Fidelity: What It Means to Be a One-Woman Man
by Douglas Wilson
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST book on the subject., July 1 2004
I have read other books like this before, but none hold a candle to Wilson in this regard. Fidelity is a must read for every Christian man, married or not. Wilson is blunt, biblical and pastoral in how he treats topics such as fornication, masturbation, rape, adultery etc. He provides a balanced perspective that doesn't pull punches - he truly calls a spade a spade.
His use of contemporary jargon and slang to heighten the sense of obscenity in ungodly actions is excellent - and makes for a memorable and entertaining read.
Wilson uses solid exegesis that doesn't bend or twist the text. He hits the nail on the head every time.
Please buy this book and when you're done reading it, pass it around.

Reforming Marriage
Reforming Marriage
by Douglas Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.15
59 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone considering marriage!, July 1 2004
This review is from: Reforming Marriage (Paperback)
I highly recommend Douglas Wilson's book on Reforming Marriage. It will prove to be a great read for couples who have been married for 50 years and for those about to enter this wonderful covenant before God.
Wilson cuts through the garbage that the world and much of contemporary evangelicalism has left in the field of marriage counselling. His thorough exegesis of key biblical passages and his straightforward style make this book an easy, entertaining and informative read. It is a book that I and my wife will read again and again.
I also highly recommend any of the other books in Wilson's family series. Especially "Fidelity" which is the BEST book on the subject. ALL MEN should read this book, married or not.

Grace Abounding
Grace Abounding
by John Bunyan
Edition: Hardcover
8 used & new from CDN$ 6.22

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great theologian, Dec 7 2001
This review is from: Grace Abounding (Hardcover)
I can't say that I have read this book...yet, but what I can say is that anyone who endeavours to read any work of Dr. Haykin is in for a real treat. He was my prof. for Church History, and a man whom I am thoroughly impressed with. He is a humble, diplomatic, professional person with a strong heart for God and His glory.
His knowledge on Church History is incredible, especially his understanding of the Reformation, the Puritans, and the Particular Baptist movements. But he cannot be limited there even. I could literally listen to him speak for hours.
I strongly recommend anything by Dr. Haykin as you will become well informed on the topic that he writes about, whether it's Cromwell, Bunyon, Edwards or anyone else.
God bless and enjoy.

Chosen But Free
Chosen But Free
by Norman L. Geisler
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Fallacy of "divine rape" as purposed by 'Dr." Geisler, Nov. 29 2001
This review is from: Chosen But Free (Paperback)
(...) Dr. Geisler does a shabby job of exegeting Scripture in CBF, he uses ad hominem arguments, and apparently he has no concept of church history.
Not only has he referred to 'the calvinist God' as a 'divine rapist' (does that sound like heresy to me?), but he has obviously no idea that the 'calvinist God' is the God of the Bible.
Please, save your money and purchase Dr. James White's response entitled "The Potter's Freedom - A Defence of the Reformation and a Rebuttal to Norm Geisler's Chosen But Free", it is an educated, and honest look at the Bible and church history. White does not lower himself to Geisler's level, but instead he provides a refreshing view of what Christ and the Apostles taught, what we now have to call Calvinism.
note - there is no such thing as a 'moderate calvinist'. In reality, it is another word for Arminian. The 'moderate calvinist' is just trying to capitalise on the worth of Calvinism, without looking 'cold hearted'. Give me a break. (...)

Page: 1