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A Review of Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

This two-disc DVD series brings together a host of articulate men, committed to Biblical exegesis and knowledgeable in church history.

  • Byron Snapp,
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How are sinners saved? Christians have debated this question for centuries. This two-disc DVD series brings together a host of articulate men, committed to Biblical exegesis and knowledgeable in church history, who compassionately and clearly communicate the answer to this question.

The presentation is divided into three segments. The first part looks to church history for the answer, beginning with Augustine’s answers to Pelagius. Pelagian doctrine is clearly explained, as are Augustine’s answers. Attention next shifts to Luther’s answers to Erasmus’s emphasis on free will and then to the Synod of Dordt’s reply to Arminius.

The second segment examines the testimony of Scripture in light of what is commonly known as the five points of Calvinism. Supporting texts are given, and the questions raised in opposition by Arminians are answered in their contextual setting. This segment concludes with the different applications of Calvinism compared with a belief in the Arminian view of man’s free will. This is one of the most thought-provoking, insightful points in the presentation. The speakers show how our theology works itself out in all of life.

The concluding segment examines the role of God’s law in evangelism. In fact, many of the great preachers and evangelists throughout history have been Calvinists. This portion includes careful instruction on Biblical evangelism.

The audiovisual flow of the material is superior in quality. Graphics, dramatic vignettes, and superb historical research make this series useful in our churches and culture. The musical score is pleasing to the ear and provides an appropriate background for each setting.

Some of the men whose comments are interspersed throughout the series include Dr. R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries; Dr. D. James Kennedy, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church; Dr. Joe Morecraft, pastor of Chalcedon Presbyterian Church; and Dr. Roger Schultz, head of the history department at Liberty University. A number of Baptists are also interviewed. They include Rev. Walter Chantry, editor of The Banner of Truth; Rev. Walter Bowie, pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church; and Dr. Thomas Ascol, editor of The Founders Journal, a monthly publication calling the Southern Baptist Convention back to its reformed roots.

Many books have been written on the Calvinism/Arminianism debate. I do not know of any work that presents the debate and the outworking of the different tenets better than this series does. The script tellingly and incisively sets forth the errors of Arminianism, yet it does so compassionately.

This is a great DVD set to watch with Arminians who are willing to think through their presuppositions in light of Scripture. The debate is important in maintaining God’s sovereignty. Unbiblical teaching regarding free will have disastrous consequences if carried to its logical end in society. The host reminds listeners that many Arminians are inconsistent, ultimately acknowledging, as they pray for the unsaved, that God alone saves the lost.

Finally, this series can be valuable to Calvinists. I was humbled by the wonder of God’s sovereign grace and His having opened my eyes to that grace years ago. It gave me a greater appreciation of those who have faithfully stood for God’s sovereignty in salvation since Augustine. Also, I was challenged by this quality presentation to treat others and their arguments with respect.

  • Byron Snapp

Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia.  He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina.  He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren. 

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