Review of The Gospel as Taught by Calvin by R. C. Reed

The Gospel As Taught By Calvin by R. C. Reed, Grand Rapids: Baker, Reprinted 1979, 159 pp.

Contrary to what one might think based on the title, this book is not a analysis of Calvin’s written comments on the Gospel. While the author’s understanding of Calvinism is on display, he almost never actually quotes from Calvin’s writings. Essentially the book has Calvinism contrasted with Pelagianism and especially Arminianism to repeatedly show it to be Biblically superior.

Yet, while the book is a defense of Calvinism, the reader might be surprised to find the following statement by Reed:

“For many years Calvinism and Arminianism were at deadly strife. They could not speak peaceably to one another. Experience has proven conclusively that Christ can live at peace with both. He can use both for his glory and for the saving of men. He has at length ‘broken down the middle wall of partition,’ and abolished the enmity between them. They exchange civilities, stand in each other’s pulpits, and join hands in concerted warfare against the common enemy. This is as it should be, and it is far from our purpose to store the embers of old strife.” (p. 20-21)

Perhaps even more surprising is that this old book (the original date of publication however not noted) has a modern “publisher’s preface” written by Morton Smith in which he says Reed was “fully committed to the historic position of his Presbyterian heritage.” I, however, know of no Presbyterians heritage that advocates exchanging pulpits with Arminians.

Far over and above Reed’s book, on the topic at hand I recommend David Steele’s The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented.


About douglasdouma

I am a husband to beautiful wife, an ordained minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church - Hanover Presbytery, and founder of Sola - Appalachian Christian Retreat ( In addition to blogging at this site I am the author of The Presbyterian Philosopher - The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark (Wipf&Stock, 2017) and compiling editor of Clark and His Correspondents: Selected Letters of Gordon H. Clark (Trinity Foundation, 2017). I have a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering (University of Michigan), a master's in business administration (Wake Forest University) and a master of divinity (Sangre de Cristo Seminary). I'm an avid hiker, having completed a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian trail in 2013 and the first 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016.
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1 Response to Review of The Gospel as Taught by Calvin by R. C. Reed

  1. Scott Gordon says:

    A slight change of subject but fascinating study nonetheless, is What Pure Eyes Could See: Calvin’s Doctrine of Faith in Its Exegetical Context by Barbara Pitkin!

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