Thanks for reading my blog series First Look, where I interview authors about their new books. The goal is to point you to solid, Christ-centered resources by giving you a peek into the author’s mind and heart.

Jeff Medders is the Pastor of Preaching and Theology at Redeemer Church in Tomball, TX, right outside of Houston. He’s married and has two kids. Jeff writes books and articles, and talks about writing on his podcast Home Row. He is author of Humble Calvinism: And If I Know the Five Points, But Have Not Love… (The Good Book Company, 2019).

Tell us what your new book is about.

Humble Calvinism explores the five points of Calvinism—TULIP—showing how the doctrines of grace should humble us before the Lord and before one another. This book isn’t a defense of Cavlinism—it’s an exhortation to real Calvinism, humble Calvinism, Christ-like and fruit-of-the-Spirit Calvinism.

The points of Calvinism point somewhere, to someone: Jesus of Nazareth. He is the marrow of the doctrines of grace. Total Depravity reminds us that we are totally dependent on Jesus. Election shows how we are chosen in Christ. Each point points to Jesus. The most important five-letter word in Calvinism isn’t TULIP—it’s Jesus.

What prompted you to write Humble Calvinism?

Calvinism has a problem. It’s not the points or the doctrines. It’s Calvinists like me.

For too long, Calvinism has been closely linked to arrogance, pride, and theological street fighting. Calvinists are to blame. And that shouldn’t be the case. The doctrines of grace should make us into gracious people. As I flipped through my arsenal of books on Calvinism, I noticed that most of them only spent a chapter—or a paragraph!—on the humbling effects of the five points. This lead me to tinker with the idea of a whole book centering around how Calvinism doesn’t just inform our minds, but also humbles our hearts.

Why do you hope people will read it? 

Calvinism is thrilling, encouraging, and whoa-inducing. I want to encourage past, current, and future generations in a recovery of TULIP—but to teach and pass on the points in love, kindness, and humility.

I hope readers of Humble Calvinism enjoy the five points with Christ as the goal. Calvinism is only worth looking at if it shows us the grace, mercy, and glory of King Jesus. A Christless Calvinism is worth less than a spoiled bundle of supermarket tulips. I hope my fellow Calvinists will remember that we are Calvinists best when we aren’t Calvinists first. Christ, not Calvinism, is our life (Colossians 3:4).

What’s your favorite part of the book?

Ray Ortlund’s foreword will stop you in your tracks. It froze me. Shook me. Ray’s insights made me, involuntarily, sit back in my chair, jaw-dropped and filled with joy. Read anything and everything Ray writes. Spurgeon’s afterword is pretty good too.

I enjoyed thinking through each point and how it specifically humbles in the everyday life of the Christian. If everything in the Scriptures is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16), then nothing is irrelevant or humdrum. Connecting TULIP to life in the local church was an encouraging and convicting challenge. I learned as I wrote paragraph after paragraph. It felt like I was on a journey with my readers, just one step ahead, pointing out where we are headed with our Lord as we learn from him who is gentle and humble in heart.

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Kristen Wetherell

Kristen Wetherell is a wife, mother, and writer. She is the author of multiple books including Humble Moms, Fight Your Fears, Help for the Hungry Soul, and the board book series For the Bible Tells Me So, and the co-author of the award-winning book Hope When It Hurts.