I have long noted that Augustinian/Calvinist theology is unpopular among Christian philosophers, though many, like me, go through a Calvinist phase (when I was a sophomore and junior in college), before seeing its problems to be hopeless. Walls concisely and fairly sums up what Calvinism is all about, and then shows it to be profoundly problematic, focusing on philosophical problem rather than biblical ones.
I would add that many of us – many Christians who’ve studied analytic philosophy – are persuaded by the Consequence Argument that compatibilism about human freedom is false, and also that if compatibilism about human freedom were true, then J.L. Mackie would have a sound argument for atheism. Christians need to make the free will defense against that argument, and to do that, you must believe in libertarian freedom. (But, that’s the kind of freedom we all, or almost all, believe in anyway.)
Mysterianism, as Walls points out, is very important to being a Calvinist. They think that “The Bible teaches X” is an answer to any difficulty. But it isn’t – in particular, objections to the effect that the Bible doesn’t actually teach X, and/or that X seems to be a contradiction.
Judging just by a few things he says here, I assume that Walls is a “social” trinitarian; but I don’t think that detracts from his case. And note that God is a “he” throughout.
Note to young professors and grad students – this is how you give a presentation. Note what Walls does.
- Simple but relevant slides. Not too many. No distractions.
- Talks loudly, to the audience, moving around.
- Touch of humor.
- Knows what