PP Book Review: Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Response to Five-Point Calvinism

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  1. DA Armstrong says:

    I’ll be buying a copy of this on my next Amazon order, probably in a few weeks or so. My Senior Pastor and I were discussing this issue a few weeks ago. This would be a good book to add some more information and insight into the problem.

  2. Shaun Sells says:

    I would enjoy borrowing that book Michael – I promise to pass it on to someone else when I am done.

    I have often thought of writing something on the subject myself – really for my own benefit to hash the ideas out more consistently in my own mind. Now, maybe I won’t have too!

  3. Michael says:


    Email me your snail mail address and I’ll send it out today.

  4. Rob Murphy says:

    Does it have pictures? Not graphs, but pictures. I need pictures. Some diagrams are okay, I would prefer a multi-colored pie chart, but there should be at least one cartoon dog in every book of theology. I’m pretty sure it would up the readership.
    I was just hashing through some of my Arminian and Wesleyan stuff. I can’t get behind the Annihilation of Sin angle . . . but I knew some old ladies who really bought into the concept, said they had the proof, but I never saw it.
    I consider myself a pretty prolific reader, but Michael, your reading resume makes me look like I can barely get through ‘Fox in Socks’. Where do you find time to catch up on the back episodes of ‘Oprah’?
    Seriously, you have some monstrous reading retention. Did you ever see “Three Days of the Condor”?

  5. Michael says:


    The only movies I’ve seen had Batman in them…or Monty Python. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reading is the only thing I do well, so I do it a lot…keeps me from losing what mind I have left.

  6. Rob Murphy says:

    Yes, but if I went around saying I was an Emperor just because some moistened tart lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away, sure

  7. Another Voice says:

    The rest of the book deals with the (negative) effect of Calvinism on ecclesiology and altar calls
    That is an interesting pairing. I could argue the (negative) effect of altar calls on ecclesiology.

  8. papias says:

    Shaun, I would be interested in reading this book when you are done with it.

    Good review Michael. Attending a SBC church myself, I am sure that reading this will give me a better understanding to the mindset.

  9. Shaun Sells says:

    send me an address papias and I will get the book to you as soon as possible.

    here is my email


  10. brian says:

    I always found this hard to believe, as it was drilled into my head, basically from our conception, I E when we were even a two cell organism we loathed God, from eternity past, we hated Him and his Holiness. From before eternity past, most if not all of us were either outright God haters or false convert devious God haters. I could never wrap my mind around a zygot being a God hater but apparently it is true. Well actually its not, but it was the loud roar from the cheering section. I cant even imagine a baby or even the two year old playing with the watch, some paster said was a sign of original sin. I mean for goodness sakes how can God think like this?

  11. Another Voice says:

    Can you wrap your mind around a zygote being a God lover?

    Can you imagine a baby or two year old actively seeking God? If you’ve ever had kids, you will notice one word that descibes them so well – and that word is “self.” I love kids, especially babies, but it is hard to deny that they are not self-focused, which is really the issue in a nutshell.

    My will..not Thy will be done.

  12. Rob Murphy says:

    “Can you imagine a baby or two year old actively seeking God? If youโ€™ve ever had kids, you will notice one word that descibes them so well โ€“ and that word is โ€œself.โ€ ”

    Paul used one word to describe them:
    1 Cor 7. 14
    For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

    Just stirring the theology stew a little. It adds flavor! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Shaun Sells says:

    I have always had two question on total depravity. I accept it because I see it in scripture, but I see a few interesting things in scripture relating to the Adam and Eve story.
    1. If we are made in the image of God how can we be totally depraved.
    2. The tree Eve ate from is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so even though evil was introduced, by default so would good.

    I have a Calvinist friend who says I am misunderstanding the concept – he says we are as bad off as we could be, but not as bad as we can be. Seems like that isn’t what the concept of “total” depravity trys to express. “Total” implies complete.

  14. centorian says:

    This book is in my order cart at Amazon. Might be fun to have another thread on this book once some of us has read it.

    serious question for you. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil; didn’t Adam and Eve actually know good before they ate? But then again, what does the name of the tree suggest?

  15. Rob Murphy says:

    Shaun – maybe Miracle Max from “Princess Bride” was right: we’re only “mostly dead”.
    That’s not far from the point on the 1 Cor 7 passage – does this mean that all children of believing parents will be / have been saved? Does it mean that children of saved parents occupy a sanctified position of opportunity? How does that position relate to their (the kid’s) salvation? Seems Paul’s phraseology painted himself into a theological corner on that one.

    To your point, I don’t understand what “total” is supposed to mean, either. Which is a bummer, because you’re way smarter than this here knuckle dragger. What hope do I have?

  16. Rob Murphy says:

    Cent – I’d say they only knew good. The tree offered them a “fair and balanced” view of Creation.

  17. Michael says:

    I have almost…emphasis on almost, decided to stop debating these issues because of a number of reasons.
    First, to try and boil any theological system down to “five points”, especially one as nuanced as Calvins is to do great damage to the structure and content of that theology.

    Second, we do theology ass backwards on blogs and websites.

    Before you can understand the soteriology of Wesley or Calvin you need to understand their doctrines of both God and anthropology.

    That’s a lot of work and who wants to work when you get to have an opinion anyway?

  18. Michael says:

    Total depravity is a misnomer.
    The better phrase would be total inability.

  19. Rob Murphy says:

    Michael – it’s ‘bass ackwards’.

    Hee. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Michael says:


    My bad… ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. puzzletop says:


    Can you send me the book when you finish with it please?

  22. Shaun Sells says:

    Cent – I believe they knew good before they ate because they knew God. The only thing they could gain was a knowledge of evil (my interpretation). The question I guess should be did their knowledge of evil eradicate their knowledge or ability (thanks Michael) to do good? It certainly skewed it, but I still get hung up on the word total. I don’t reject that all have sinned and fallen short . . . if not for that we would not need Jesus. Anyway – not really interested in debating, if I was I would have started with limited atonement.

  23. centorian says:

    not looking for a debate either, Shaun. I was just curious by what you meant by “.., by default so would good.”. Thanks.

  24. Michael says:

    Historically total inability has been the position of the church.

    We solve the problem differently (as with prevenient grace or particular redemption), but have pretty much understood that man cannot respond to God without divine intervention.

  25. Another Voice says:


    One of the best things you wrote this week is something I will remember. I think the direct quote (without trying to find it) was:

    ‘They have not studied enough to have earned the right to an opinion”

    I find this is so right on, but of course it flies in the face of those today who thinks ‘everyone is entitled to an opinion’ is the same as ‘everyone is entitled to have their opinion respected and debated, no matter how much of another’s (more studied) time it might waste’

  26. Michael says:


    It’s hard to express that without sounding elitist and arrogant, but it’s true.

    Theology is a scholastic discipline like any other and it takes a lot of years, a LOT of money, and a lot of work to become proficient in it.

    Then, the minute you think you’re getting proficient you find out how much you really don’t know… ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Another Voice says:


    Isn’t it amazing that if I try to express my views about evolution, I will be first challenged with ‘you aren’t a scientist, biologist, anthropologist etc.’

    But what happens if someone gives their two cents on issues concerning God and I say ‘Excuse me, are you a theologian?”

    It truly is a double standard.

    I would also add that securing both a Masters and a Doctorate degree in theology takes far more hours/years than in other academic fields. This is by design, because you are purporting to represent God with such degrees.

  28. Shaun Sells says:

    Well, I guess I haven’t earned the right to an opinion. I’ll just shut up.

  29. Michael says:


    Nobody was directing that to you.


    Your book will be there early next week.

  30. Shaun Sells says:

    AV’s comment is clearly aimed at anyone who does not have a masters and doctorate in Theology. That’s me.

  31. Michael says:

    No, he’s simply stating how rigorous the training is for those degrees.

  32. Michael says:

    I have neither degree, but I know what it takes to even earn a Masters from a good seminary.

  33. Another Voice says:

    Shaun, you need to read far more carefully, especially before being offended. I don’t seek to offend people, and over time I hope the benefit of the doubt might come my way before jumpiing to offense.

    My 11:39 spoke of the double standard in our world. Read it again.

    Those years of study MUST be put in, but they do not have to be at a formal academic level. I hope to God you have spent years of study of the Word, and I’m sure you have.

    Obviously, I have never seriously said to anyone ‘Are you a theologian?’ The truth does not need such tactics, whereas those who wish to silence dissent (like many evolutionists I encounter), or seek to diminish the messenger, when the message is too strong, will state ‘you aren’t a scientist’

    My then obvious point (so I thought) was to show that even in the academic world, MORE (not less) is expected of those who do in fact seek such degrees. And I stated why.

    Come on brother….

  34. Another Voice says:

    For the record too..

    My first post in the thread at 11:22, was in response to Michael’s 9:57.

    That led to one more by Michael, and then my ‘offensive’ post.

    Thought I would add the context…since we all know how important that is.

  35. Shaun Sells says:

    Benefit of the doubt granted.

    Good night all.

  36. Concerned says:

    Most of the CC Pastors I knew had no seminary training at all. (Except for listening to Chuck mith tapes-does that count?)

    When I brought up some of my questions on election, it was soon after that I realized I was treading on dangerous territory.

    Having read all the above posts, there are still 2 different camps on the subject and seminaries to support both views..so I am not understanding how seminary makes a difference.

  37. Another Voice says:

    I’m gone most of the day and fear what my comments about seminary might spawn so I will repeat clearly.

    My ONLY point there, was to note that the world academic system allows one to be a MASTER by earning a Master’s degree, in almost every field, by putting in two years of study beyond undergraduate.

    A Master of Theology degree is a FOUR year degree. Even the Master of Divinity (a lesser degree) is a THREE year degree.

    In trying to add to Michael’s point about theology being an academic field like any other – it actually is unlike the others, because it is harder.

    Now…if anyone wants to argue the need or value of seminary to preach, or a variety of other points not related to my words….that is the choice of the forum.

  38. Em says:

    God chose the ‘foolishness’ of preaching to save some [of us]

    somebody’s got to say it ๐Ÿ™‚

    now then the study of the doctrines of the faith and the teaching of same is another thing altogether, of which i’m not qualified to make an observation… except i love the privilege of listening to a good, sound teacher of the Word.

  39. Matt says:

    I actually thought that Jeremy Evans article on freedom and determinism was the best chapter. Very thought provoking.

  40. corker says:

    Hi Michael,

    I enjoyed your review of the book. I feel overall you were fair-minded.

    I am however curious to know, in respects to your thoughts on Dr. Allen, which conclusions of his did you find silly?

    Thank you in advance for your time in answering.

  41. John Jones says:

    I have not read the entire book yet, but agree with several points. The congruent election is just insane. However it would be wonderful for most church goers, because you could explain it to them and they would have no idea what it meant, but would leave feeling good about themselves. The sermon on John 3:16 lacks exegetical prowess. The chapter on limited atonement was done well. This will never turn anyone currently reformed into a psuedo-arminian SBC, however it will be enough amo for those who are not of the reformed persuasion to give them something to rest on.

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