Book Review: The Doctrine Of The Fall

The Doctrine Of The Fall, by William Cunningham

Although there was certainly a great deal I disagreed with in this book, at least here (in contrast to other things I have read from the author), the author manages to score some points by pointing to flaws in the point of view of Roman Catholicism regarding the spurious and nonexistent difference between venial and mortal sins rather than attempting without success to continually defend the Calvinist worldview though various logical fallacies [1].  Even though this was a better work than what I have read from the author before, there is still a great deal here to disapprove of, namely the fact that this work has very little to say regarding the Bible and a great deal of nonbiblical commentary on various matters of interest to Hellenistic Christians but not really of interest to those who are focused about what the Bible says about the fall of mankind from innocence (and not goodness).  There are indeed a great many implications about Jesus Christ that can be drawn from this short book of about 70 pages, but one has to be reading with a great deal of biblical knowledge that this book simply does not provide.

The discussion of this book regards the Calvinist doctrine of the fall, and it should be fairly obvious that this is not a biblical doctrine by the fact that it is a Calvinist one.  The Calvinist doctrine of the fall certainly bears a great deal on the question of original sin, and here the author is wise (and correct) to note that this term properly refers only to the corruption of human nature as a result of the sin of Adam and that of others.  The author also properly notes that a wide group of people (myself included) believe that Adam’s sin caused problems for his descendants in a similar fashion to the way that any forefather creates problems or benefits the state of descendants as a result of moral choices made.  Even so, as someone who does not believe in the doctrine of representation, I do not hold that we are imputed the sins of Adam; our own actual sins and our own native bent towards evil that is present even within the womb is sufficient for us to be under judgment by God.  For the most part, the author engages in anti-Catholic polemics, however one feels about that.

Again, a book like this is mainly of value if you want to find out what early Calvinists said and wrote, and as someone who has a historical interest in Calvinism as an opponent of it, this book was certainly of interest to me.  It demonstrated clearly that a great deal of Calvinist thought is willfully contrary to scripture and at times uninterested in biblical conversation.  This author is one of the more unpleasant Calvinist writers I have ever read, and seems to be fixated on the Council of Trent and determined to show off his skill in writing in Latin and quoting Augustine and other Church Fathers, rather than demonstrating the biblical truth or in facing the difference between his own views and those of the Bible concerning the results of the sin of Adam on humanity as a whole.  Even so, this book does at least point out quite a few of the errors that Catholics make in this regard, and so at least this book can be useful for purposes of triangulation even if the perspective of the author is not a very enjoyable one to indulge in for more than is absolutely necessary to understand what he is saying.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christianity, Church of God and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Book Review: The Doctrine Of The Fall

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Blood Of The Cross | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Crazy Busy | Edge Induced Cohesion

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