Humble Calvinism - J. A. Medders


I came home from my first year at university a different man – and it was no improvement. I should’ve been wearing a ‘Doctrine Police’ badge.

At uni, the truths of the Bible had come alive: I’m a helpless sinner (Ephesians 2:1). God alone draws his chosen people to Jesus (John 14:6). And he will bring us home (Philippians 1:6).

You’d think understanding that I couldn’t help myself would humble me – instead, I’d become a proud Calvinist.

And as it turns out, I wasn’t alone.


Jeff Medders’ book Humble Calvinism revolves around TULIP. But this isn’t something you’ll find in a Dutch florist; it stands for the Bible’s teaching about God’s salvation:

Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace and Perseverance of the saints are the terms which give TULIP its petals.

But if you’d choose the flower over all these theological terms, you should read the book.

Medders explains and provides a heart-warming case for each biblical truth. But he also explains why they should lead to humility and wonder at the glory of God.

Speaking about our ‘total depravity’, he writes:    

“When [this] is something in our hearts, we become the “loser” – the one who prays, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’”

And that’s a far cry from many young Calvinists – those who are more ready to see the speck in their brother’s eye than the timber hanging from their own faces (Matthew 7:5).

Better than a flower

One review calls this book ‘laugh-out-loud theology.’ That’s spot on – it’s a hilarious page-turner which will stir your affections for Jesus more than any sweet-smelling tulip.

It’s for people who haven’t heard of Calvinism. It’s for people who dislike Calvinism because of arrogant Calvinists.

But above all, Humble Calvinism is for arrogant Calvinists. I wish my parents had a copy to give me back in 2007.