Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport
by Richard J. Mouw
Review by Jacob B. Mansfield
I’m not a very good historian but Richard Mouw had made me feel as though I were walking in the footsteps of some of the great men of Christendom. In this relational book, Mouw attempts to debunk the common negative conceptions of Calvinism by relating the Doctrines to the historical contexts of Dutch Reformed traditions like the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort, and giving them a modern day language for the lay person to communicate with.
To make connections with people today, Mouw argues that Calvinists must shift their focus from what they believe to how they live. He is not concerned with producing another 500 + page book over each doctrine of the TULIP, they have plenty of those already. Rather he is focused on using those doctrines to shape the relationships of our lives.
I enjoyed this book because it brings a softer side to what is commonly misunderstood as a stoic understanding of scripture. Mouw does a good job of attempting to bridge that gap between the theologian at his desk and the 20 something college students returning home from a weekend of debauchery in Las Vegas.
Mouw tends to be a little wishy-washy with his exegesis. There are a few areas where I questioned his ability to take life lessons from the Bible or take life lessons from experiences. Mouw tends to err on the side of life experiences and it comes out in this book. He uses terms like, “spiritual hunch”, to describe the salvation of his friends who currently do not claim Christ as their savior but may change their minds once they die and meet Christ, reference bottom of page 87. These statement alone make me question other areas of this book and his theology.
Overall, I would not suggest this book to anyone who is a babe in the faith, I don’t think it would help at them grow at all. However, I might suggest this book to someone who has a clear understanding of Total Human Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and the Perseverance of the Saints, but needs a reminder of God’s grace in relating to us when we were sinners.
– J. Mansfield