Olson wishes to draw a strict distinction between God permitting evil and tragedy and God causing those things. The system of calvinism is completely foreign to Holy Writ and worship to a false god which always has devils behind it and it ultimately the worship of Satan himself (1 Corinthians 10:19-21). This is a well written book. This book would be taken seriously by Calvinists if he had engaged the Word of God. Throughout this book Olsen claims that the “God of Calvinism is a moral monster.” Does Calvinism actually teach that “God is a moral monster?” More importantly than this question since Calvinists affirm Sola Scriptura and seek to be faithful men and women of the Word of God, “Does Scripture teach the position Calvinists espouse?”. No Comments. Love and knowledge of God are the two sides of the same coin. One of the questions we began with as we explored Olsen’s biblical exegesis is, “Does Olsen’s explanation of 1 John 4:8, 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 do justice or damage to those texts, or is he imposing his theological categories upon those texts?” As I have shown above, I believe that Dr. Olsen does not understand the texts he uses in order to refute Calvinism. I find that Olson's book "Against Calvinism" comes from a rather exotic view; It is a new view of scripture which is not found in the mainstream Evangelical views. Six Ways to Use Our Website, Why It Matters, and How You Can Help Us, A Review of Wondrous Works of God: A Family Bible Story Book, The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer – Andy Naselli, Review of Biblical Marriage by John-William Noble, J.C. Ryle. Well other than the Bible… I would recommend two books on Calvinism in general. For and Against Calvinism Pack: Horton, Michael, Olson, Roger E.: 0025986494285: Books - Amazon.ca The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer is the most recent offering in Crossway’s Short Studies in Biblical Theology series. Attempting to explain why there is evil in a world made by a good God is called theodicy (justifying the ways of God). Olson pushes further, however, and insists that Calvinists ignore the really, really bad things that happen in the world—the Holocaust, child abuse and childhood disease—when they happily chirp about God’s sovereignty. Simply mention the word “Calvinism” in certain circles and watch the emotional responses! Sample. God came in the flesh to heal His children’s suffering to comfort as well as to teach, and ultimately to destroy the power of evil. Multiple readings have ensued, and I turn back to Schaeffer’s book again and again for help with apologetics. Given that the most recent English translation is a … In recent decades, American Calvinism has sharpened its influence and intellectual coherence through a host of conservative Presbyterian seminaries and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and through remarkably effective popularizers, including John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul, Albert Mohler, John Piper, and Tim Keller. These are flush times for American Calvinism, but new Calvinists need to remember that there is a formidable Arminian tradition that has to be answered, not just disparaged or dismissed. Olsen wants his readers to believe that Calvinism is “not biblically, theologically or logically tenable” (Olsen, 101), but by his lack of exegesis he has shown that his alternative to Calvinism is not biblically, theologically or logically tenable. 1, d. Whitney J. Oates (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992). When people face suffering they need comfort and reassurance. Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology: Roger E. Olson, Michael Horton: 9780310324676: Amazon.com: Books. In short he shows his love by obeying the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31). I was not required to write a positive review. But I’m not so sure. The crux of Olson’s argument against Calvinism is that its key tenets impugn God’s character. Christians can trust God in the midst of suffering because they are aware of his character and promises. Olson draws on a variety of sources, including Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience, to support his critique of Calvinism and the more historically rich, biblically faithful alternative theologies he proposes. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened.” ESV (Romans 11:7) Thus the appeal it to make yourselves a new heart and spirit, in contrast to 11:19 and 36:26, are a gift of God. What this means it that when the problem of evil is viewed in light of God’s demonstration of His attributes and His own self-glorification, the problem is greatly diminished. By contrast, the unbeliever does not love God because he does not know God. He explains that taken “to their logical conclusion, that even hell and all who will suffer there eternally are foreordained by God, God is thereby rendered morally ambiguous at best and a moral monster at worst” (Olsen, 23). Sproul, although Geisler considers himself a moderate Calvinist, much philosophy and logic in the book, and some biblical commentary (James White disagrees in The Potter’s Freedom, … 2:4, Olsen, 99). There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Packer, introduction to John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1983), note 12. At the heart of all of Dr. Olsen’s objections about Calvinism in Against Calvinism and the focus of this review is the following statement that, “The high Calvinist doctrine of God’s sovereignty including evil as part of God’s plan, purpose and determining power blatantly contradicts Scripture passages that reveal “God is love” (1 John 4:8), takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 18:32), wants everyone to be saved (Ezek. As Olson readily acknowledges, the new Calvinism is rooted in dissatisfaction with the relative vapidity of much contemporary evangelical teaching. The History of a Movement in Crisis (Yale, 2019); Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale, 2017); Baptists in America: A History with Barry Hankins (Oxford, 2015); George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father (Yale, 2014); and Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots (Basic, 2011). Jonathan Edwards, the greatest theologian America has ever produced, would have never achieved the same level of greatness if not pushed by Arminians and other critics. By Authur W. Pink. Anyone who believes that God foreknows everything (a doctrine some theologians are now questioning), and that he created everything, must necessarily deal with the fact that God knew that sin and suffering would come into the world and yet proceeded with creation. OR. To him, saying that God is “creech-creech” would make about as much sense as saying that a loving God offered his Son only for those predestined for salvation. First God has a morally adequate-but not yet fully revealed, reason-for allowing evil and suffering. 9. God’s classic discussion with Job concerning the problem of evil and suffering subsequently reveals God’s inscrutable wisdom and Job’s limited comprehension of the Creator’s purpose in creation and redemption (Job 38:1-11; Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 11:33-36). Repentance in the context of this passage is not being urged on Jerusalem for the preceding chapters affirm that its destruction is already assured. reformation church history paperback. Courage is forged only through facing one’s fears; just as steel must be refined by fire. I requested this book to be given as a gift to my niece, who loves to read. Three critical comforts can help Christians when confronted with evil and suffering. But again, this distinction isn’t particularly convincing. Calvinist theology has been debated and promoted for centuries. At the outset of this review I wish to make mention of three things that will help you to understand how I am reviewing this book. [iv] John Owen, “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ: A Treatise of the Redemption and Reconciliation That is in the blood of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, vol.10, ed William H. Goold, (London: Banner of Truth, 1967), 173-174.). First, God may use evil and suffering to get an unbeliever’s attention and ultimately draw the person to Himself (Zech. However, God’s final prevailing over evil and sin will all the more exhibit His splendor and dominion. If Calvinism teaches that “God is a moral monster” then surely this position taken to its biblical, theological and logical ending has to result in damage to God’s glory and to the Cross where Jesus bore the sins of world and secured the redemption of the elect. In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God’s reputation. Second, God calls His children to live a life of faith (confidence and trust) in the goodness and sovereignty of God despite the presence of evil and suffering. $26.99. Professor John Lennox, speaker, debater and author of numerous books … 13:7-9; Luke 13:1-5; John 9). What is going to... J.C. Ryle’s book Holiness stands as a cornerstone piece in the library of Christian classics. John with the phrase whoever does not love does not know God compares the believer with the unbeliever and observes that when love is absent knowledge of God is nonexistent. Every argument is a standard argument against Calvinism, usually just … Jesus is not aloof or indifferent to human anguish, for he suffered as a man. The historic Christian answer to the problem of evil and suffering is found in the example, as well as the identity of Jesus Christ. The Cross is the ultimate act of injustice where the sinless God-Man died for sinners to appease the wrath of God. 5:3). Add to Wish List. Of all the world’s religions, only Christianity reveals the God who suffers with humanity and for humanity! He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in sunny Southern California. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and is the Host for the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. In conclusion, the main problem with Olsen’s argument is that nowhere does he engage in meaningful exegesis of the Scripture. Why would a good God create the universe when he knew the massive pain and injustices that would commence upon humans tasting the forbidden fruit? At the end of the day, I cannot recommend reading Against Calvinism because through his poor use of Scripture he substantiates the teaching of Calvinism and doesn’t advance the Calvinist/Arminian debate at all. The person who is born of God is a window through which the love of God shines into the world. Kenneth J. Stewart –Ten Myths About Calvinism. God is acquainted with suffering for God has suffered in Christ. [ii] John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus & Philemon trans. The patriarch Abraham declares in Genesis 18:25, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” And the Psalmist proclaims in Psalm 89:14, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.” Dr. Greg Bahnsen considered one of the greatest apologists in church history said, “While God has a morally justifiable reason for all he does, as the sovereign ruler of the universe the Lord seldom chooses to explain himself to his creatures.”[vi]. Christians can and should confront evil and suffering in a powerfully practical way by comforting those afflicted by evil and by easing the suffering of the people around them. Before we go any further let us remember what Olsen is claiming. These Christians think it is obvious that a loving God would never send people to hell without giving them a fair shot at salvation (if indeed God sends anyone to hell at all). Your email address will not be published. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”. Robert R. Booth (Texarkana, AR; Covenant Media Foundation, 1996), 170. This passage does not support the teaching of Dr. Olsen that God desires everyone to be saved and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked because the context is about God judging Jerusalem and its destruction is sure. and then select PLAY NOW! In the title of this post I wrote that Against Calvinism is a counterpoint book. Faith is trusting in the character of God when circumstances are painful and confusing. Christian apologist Walter Martin used to say that “some people will not look up to the Lord until they lay flat on their back.” Evil and suffering can shock people out of their lives of diversion and indifference to spiritual things, and even sometimes out of their false sense of control. Olson welcomes the rigorous theology of the new Calvinists but sees traditional Arminianism as a more biblical, rational alternative. Thomas S. Kidd is the Vardaman distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and the author of many books, including Who Is an Evangelical? How Bad Is This Moment in American History? In one... Introduction I have to begin this review with a bit of honesty: I’ve read a lot of books on marriage, so when I first pulled out Biblical Marriage: Two Sinners and a Gracious God by John-William Noble, I thought to myself, “Another marriage book, huh? No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. You can follow him on Twitter. Overall, Olson’s Against Calvinism lays out Arminian criticisms of Calvinism in a cogent manner that will prove useful to even the most thoroughgoing Calvinists. Therefore this passage has nothing to teach about whether God desires everyone to be saved or whether God takes pleasure or displeasure in the death of the wicked. Buy Against Calvinism by Roger E Olson (ISBN: 9780310324676) online at Alibris. Furthermore, I believe that Olsen engages in proof-texting which doesn’t substantiate his arguments. In this book Olsen is standing up and saying “No!” to what he calls “Egregious statements about God’s sovereignty often made by Calvinists” (Olsen, 23). Jesus says “judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24). God delays in His coming because He is patient and desires the time for His people to repent. God will have eradicated the problem of evil. It’s now important to turn to discuss what the Bible actually teaches about sin, evil and suffering. Calvinists will counter that God is substantially different from us, and that we should not expect to fully understand his ways. Copyright © 2021 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. Jesus Christ, none other than God in human flesh, came to reveal God’s love to humanity. Dr. Olsen states that the “high Calvinist doctrine of God’s sovereignty including evil as part of God’s plan, purpose and determining power blatantly contradicts Scripture passages that reveal “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 1 Tim. Olson certainly believes in the Bible, but he also puts heavy weight on the authority of early 21st century concepts of justice and fairness. New Calvinists are particularly adept at using the tools of the internet and social media (led not least by the work of The Gospel Coalition) to spread their message. Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. B&N Exclusives Baby Boutique The Best Books of 2020 Boxed Sets Graphic Novels for Young Readers Kids' Classics Kids' Book Awards Personalized Books STEAM/STEM Books & Toys Top Young Reader Series Trend Shop. In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God’s reputation. The impression that these Calvinists are making on college students and seminarians is not likely to pass quickly. It states that God chose not to look into the present age, and as I perceive it. The main problem with Olsen’s comments on 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 are that the word all does not always mean all individuals in either Greek or English usage, so there is no compelling reason to conclude that the all in verses 4 and 6 in 1 Timothy refers to every single person. 4.3 out of 5 stars 181 ratings. Shelves: theology Roger E. 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