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). In short he shows his love by obeying the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31). First God has a morally adequate-but not yet fully revealed, reason-for allowing evil and suffering. Love and knowledge of God are the two sides of the same coin. God Himself entered into the painful, ugly mix of evil. Thirdly, God allows evil and suffering because of the greater good that results from it. The God of Calvinism is at best morally ambiguous and at worst a moral monster hardly distinguishable from the devil. Using the famous acronym TULIP, Olson finds the middle three doctrines—unconditional election, limited atonement (many Calvinists would prefer “particular atonement”), and irresistible (or “effectual”) grace—particularly troubling. 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?”. Well other than the Bible… I would recommend two books on Calvinism in general. Jesus suffered the agony of Roman capital punishment- crucifixion. I requested this book to be given as a gift to my niece, who loves to read. Servants of Grace is a multi-media ministry that exists to help people know the God of the Bible and to equip God’s people to grow in and serve God’s grace in the local church and beyond. 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. This book is by a theologian who many would say is a hyper-Calvinist. After these cataclysmic eschatological events, the Lord will bring forth the new creation, forever free from evil and its consequences. 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). )Recommended Article FROM https://servantsofgrace.org/2011/12/27/book-review-against-calvinism/ SPONSOR-…, Top Posts from December 2011 on Servants Of Grace | Servants of Grace - [...] #1: Book Review: Against Calvinism by Roger Olsen Reviewed by Dave Jenkins– https://www.servantsofgrace.org/2011/12/27/book-review-against-calvinism/ [...]. The impression that these Calvinists are making on college students and seminarians is not likely to pass quickly. Olsen states that the explanations offered by Calvinists contradict 1 John 4:8, 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 (Olsen, 99). 9. These chapters list hundreds of verses upholding the absolutesovereignty of God and the five points of Calvinism. 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. But is it a theology that should last? Furthermore the context of this verse is about judgment. 1 John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Multiple readings have ensued, and I turn back to Schaeffer’s book again and again for help with apologetics. I first read He is There and He is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer in 1992. John Calvin - Institutes of the Christian Religion. Sample. 18:32), wants everyone to be saved (Ezek. Christians can trust God in the midst of suffering because they are aware of his character and promises. Determined to Believe? But Olson finds it irrational to affirm that God is love and yet to believe that he substantially offers salvation only to the elect. But is it a theology that should last? The person who fails to commune with God in prayer and neglects to read the Bible cannot be the instrument through which God demonstrates His divine power. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) and “never tempts anyone” (James 1:13, Olsen, 99). In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God's reputation. 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, … This is the second year in a row a book by Kidd has made my “best of” list and for good reason. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan as part of their Blogger Review Program. God brought the greatest good out of the greatest evil. Your email address will not be published. By not engaging the text of Scripture Dr. Olsen does not help to prove his argument. Paperback $18.99. William Pringle (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949, reprint from 1610), 420. For Calvinism Taking us beyond the caricatures, Michael Horton invites us to explore the teachings of Calvinism, also commonly known as Reformed theology, by showing us how it is biblical and God-centered, leading us to live our lives for the glory of God. God’s plan to deal with evil is prepared for in creation but executed in redemption. It seems like a matter of semantics. 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. Satan and his forces are already defeated foes with Christ’s first coming as Savior (Hebrews 2:14-15), and all evil and human sin will forever be vanquished at Christ’s second coming as Judge and King (Revelation 21). Calvinists prefer to see all history as having a point, mysterious though it may seem to our limited understanding, and that all things, whether permitted or planned, ultimately point to God’s glory. The smaller group, today at least, comprises principled Arminians, defenders of the theological tradition of Jacobus Arminius, John Wesley, and Charles Finney. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. While God is sovereign in salvation, man is responsible for his own sin. 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. Rewind Sale - Best Titles of the Year at Huge Savings! Even if God were to explain in detail his ultimate purposes to human beings, there is no realistic reason to think that mere creatures could fully understand his majestic ways. 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). In the Gospel God stretches out His hand to all without difference, but lays hold of only of those, to lead them to Himself, whom He has chosen before the foundation of the world. First, believers can know they never suffer alone. [iii] James Boice, Philip Ryken, The Doctrines of Grace Rediscovering the Evangelical Gospel (Illinois, Crossway, 2002), 127. 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. In this well written book Stewart shows that there is more breadth to Calvinism than is often portrayed. 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. Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology Audible Audiobook – Unabridged. It states that God chose not to look into the present age, and as I perceive it. Out of this horrible incident of malice and agony came divine redemption for sinners. Jesus says “judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24). Olson seems to prefer the idea that God created a world that he knew would fall, and had no particular purpose in mind when he did so. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases on Amazon.com. In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God’s reputation. 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 Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with the question: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” All of God’s great works (creation and redemption) are intended to display God’s sovereignty and glory. David J. Engelsma –Hyper-Calvinism and the Call of the Gospel. What can Americans—especially followers of Jesus Christ—do in a time when it seems that our very republic is more fragile than ever before? 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.”. Roger Olson suggests that Calvinism, also commonly known as Reformed theology, holds an unwarranted place in our list of accepted theologies. This is not what the context or the passage teaches. Andy Naselli takes readers on a short and illuminating tour of Scripture and reveals the main features of God’s plan in redemptive history. [iii], When examining this verse, Puritan theologian John Owen asks, “Who are these of whom the apostle speaks?” Owen then goes to explain that such as had received “great and precious promises,” chap. Our marketplace offers millions of titles from sellers worldwide. It has many thoughtful questions and promptings for families to use during Bible study time. 1:4, whom he calls “beloved” (chap. Olsen is claiming 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. See All Formats. Olsen teaches that Calvinists contradict the Scripture passages that reveal God is love but even John distinguishes between the love God has for His children, and His children are to have towards others, and the unbeliever who has no love for God (God hates the unbeliever; Psalm 5:5 and 11:5). At that glorious time, all sin, suffering and sorrow will be forever eliminated. According to Roger Olsen, the “Calvinist account of God’s sovereignty inevitably makes God the author of sin, evil and innocent suffering… [He] is at best morally ambiguous and at worst a moral monster hardly distinguishable from the devil” (Olsen, 84). Add to Wish List. 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. $26.99. 5:3; Heb. Rather, the exiles are pressed to repent and take responsible for their sin. By GOL June 27, 2012 June 21st, 2019 Blog, Five Points of Calvinism. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in sunny Southern California. ... Against Calvinism. Ezek 18:32, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” The death of his saints is precious to God (Psalm 116:15). His suffering in earthly life and relationships- and on the cross- can transform his people’s experience of suffering. 3:1); whom he opposeth to the “scoffers” of the “last days,” verse 3; to whom the Lord hath respect in the disposal of these days; who are said to be “elect” (Matthew 24:22). Olson thinks he has the goods on Calvinists, and that Calvinism, when followed consistently, turns its God into a “moral monster.” This old argument is worth reconsidering today, for it often takes theological disputation for movements like the new Calvinism to really define what they believe. This book makes broad claims but at the end of the day fails, because it doesn’t support its claims and demonstrate why Calvinists are wrong from the Word of God. If you are going to read this book read it alongside of "For Calvinism… Whatever objections Sproul and others may raise, the Calvinist account of God’s sovereignty is divine determinism” (Olsen, 84). According to Scripture, the greater good for humanity came out of the greatest acts of evil. 6 “Must Read” Books on Calvinism. But is this assessment fair to the Calvinist position or consistent with Scripture? Learn how your comment data is processed. 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). But Olson’s notion that the creator God “permitted” evil and suffering doesn’t solve his theodicean dilemma any more adequately than does Calvinism. 18:32; 1 Tim. Augustine’s words explain this the best, “For the Almighty God, who, as even the heathen acknowledge, has supreme power over all things, being Himself supremely good, would never permit the existence of anything evil among his works, if He were not so omnipotent and good that He can bring good even out of evil.”[vii], While Christians should be cautious about claiming to identify God’s purposes behind specific incidents of injustice and suffering, the Bible does reveal insight into how God uses evil and suffering for God. Olson wishes to draw a strict distinction between God permitting evil and tragedy and God causing those things. The crux of Olson’s argument against Calvinism is that its key tenets impugn God’s character. reformation church history paperback. OR. The assuring guarantee for the Christian, however, is that God does not allow evil and suffering to come into a believer’s life without producing a greater good for that person. Secondly, God’s sovereignty and glory will be displayed by his ultimate prevailing over evil. What really bothers Olson, however, is the larger issue that God’s meticulous sovereignty implies that he is the author of sin and suffering. It is worth reading both by people newly energized in their faith by Calvinism, and by those who may have doubts about Calvinist tenets. Buy Against Calvinism by Roger E Olson (ISBN: 9780310324676) online at Alibris. 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? [v] Quoted in J.I. 18:32), wants everyone to be saved (Ezek. Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. As the writer of Hebrews declares: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons” (Hebrews 12:7). The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer is the most recent offering in Crossway’s Short Studies in Biblical Theology series. 1, d. Whitney J. Oates (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992). Copyright © 2021 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. The Scriptures are replete in declaring God’s moral perfection and His dealings with mankind just. 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. 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. The apostle John provides a prophetic glimpse of this glorious eternal age to come in the book of Revelation, when he states, “They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Jesus Christ, none other than God in human flesh, came to reveal God’s love to humanity. Sovereignty of God. 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. He is more comfortable with total depravity, in the sense that sin has corrupted all areas of human life, and seems to accept perseverance of the saints without question. God is acquainted with suffering for God has suffered in Christ. Thoughts for Young Men. and then select PLAY NOW! In the words of a familiar song, believers don’t know what the future holds, but they do know who holds the future. [i], Peter addressed his epistle “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). People often ask, “Why does God allow evil and suffering?” Christians must avoid presumption concerning the causes of evil and suffering because this question remains a deeply mystery. Furthermore, I believe that Olsen engages in proof-texting which doesn’t substantiate his arguments. This prevailing has already begun with the life, death, and resurrection of the divine, Messiah, Jesus Christ. 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. 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. A loving earthly father disciplines his children, though unpleasant at the time, discipline is crucial to a child’s growth as a responsible person. Ultimately what Dr. Olsen’s arguments leave me to conclude is that he has issues with the Cross itself where God’s holiness and love met, and where Jesus died in the place of sinners for their sin (Acts 4:27-28). [i] Joel Beeke, Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism (Lake Mary: Reformation Trust, 2008), 93. However, if one hold’s to a theology where man is the pinnacle, where free will must be allowable, even as the expense of God’s freedom, the problem of evil is indeed, problematic. I used that term because Zondervan published For Calvinism first, and this book is the good or evil twin of that one – but Zondervan doesn’t appear to have a name for these related books (like a counterpoint series or something along those lines). For and Against Calvinism Pack: Horton, Michael, Olson, Roger E.: 0025986494285: Books - Amazon.ca 2:4, Olsen, 99). Many Calvinists have felt the need to defend their tribe against the age-old charge that Calvinism diminishes evangelism and that Calvinists therefore make poor evangelists. If I did this the review would have been much longer. The author of Hebrews describes Christ’s role as a sympathetic High Priest in Hebrews 4:14-16 which says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 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. What is going to... J.C. Ryle’s book Holiness stands as a cornerstone piece in the library of Christian classics. Thomas S. Kidd is the Vardaman distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and the author of many books, including Who Is an Evangelical? However, God had planned this incredible miscarriage of justice from all eternity (Acts 2:22-23). Courage is forged only through facing one’s fears; just as steel must be refined by fire. 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. Olson thinks that deferring to the mystery of God’s decrees is a cop-out, and repeatedly criticizes Piper, in particular, for deferring to the complexity of God’s biblically revealed motivations. When being prodded regarding the issue of a fully good and loving God, and, the existence of evil in the creation, Wilson responded that God planned the evil from all eternity as part of His perfect plan for creation. Two-book pack containing award-winning author Michael Horton's For Calvinism and Roger Olson's Against Calvinism. Wondrous Works of God: A Family Bible Story Book, by Starr Meade is a well written and a nicely illustrated (by Tim O’Connor) storybook. This book has convinced many of that the reformed viewpoint of God'ssovereignty is the only Biblical view. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, and sound theology. Revelation 21:1-3 speaks of God’s creating a new Heaven and a new Earth along with the Holy City- the New Jerusalem. Introduction Calvinist theology has been debated and promoted for centuries. Jesus is not aloof or indifferent to human anguish, for he suffered as a man. No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Olsen, a professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University would say yes. [ii] John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus & Philemon trans. 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. As a Calvinist reading this will challenge you, but the lack of evidence from Scripture will leave you more resolved about where you stand. ... Reformed” —Against Calvinism is the only book of its kind to offer objections from a non-Calvinist perspective to the current wave of Calvinism among Christian youth. Turn and live is a call to repent and avoid physical and eternal death. 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9″ (Olsen, 99). This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The opinions I have expressed are my own. by Dave Jenkins | Dec 27, 2011 | Christian Living. Nor is God, in his decisions, subject to the critique of finite and imperfect human beings. He has no such pleasure when a person to faith s debate with Dan. Offering in Crossway ’ s debate with atheists Dan Barker ; 2 Peter (! Through which the love of God is treating you as sons ” ( James 1:13,,... Perfection and his dealings with mankind just of injustice where the sinless best books against calvinism for... Can know they never suffer alone the two sides of the Gospel editor, I. Us, and that we should not expect to fully understand his ways rather, the main problem Olsen! 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