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Posts Tagged ‘Roger Olson

The Main Reason We Reject Calvinism

I have seen a few posts lately from Calvinist blogs about why people reject Calvinism.  One Calvinist blogger stated that the real reason that people reject Calvinism is because we are prideful and want credit for our own salvation.

Is that really the case for Arminians such as myself?  Do I reject Calvinism because I am prideful and I want to share some glory with Jesus for His saving me on the cross?

The real reason that we Arminians reject Calvinism is the character of God.  It is not our pride.  It is not our love of free will or any other mockery.  It is simply that we find the character of God to be loving and good in the Bible (as Calvinists would agree) and from that we believe that He created us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27).  Further, free will flows not from man being prideful or the center of our theology but from our view that God created us with the capacity to be free moral agents who, through His grace, choose to love Him and worship Him.  A forced relationship is not a loving relationship.  I love my wife dearly and did not force her to love me.  I wooed her with my charms and good looks or maybe my money.  I wish.  It was nothing of that.  When I asked her to marry me, she said yes out of her love for me and not because I pushed her or forced her so that she could do nothing.  She chose to marry me as I chose to marry her.

This is true of the Church as well.  1 Corinthians 6:20 says that Jesus redeemed us and He bought us with His own blood (Acts 20:28; cf. John 10:11).  Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 11:2-4 that he had betrothed the Corinthians to one husband, Christ.  Christ is our Savior and Lord and He is our redeemer.  We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:10).  We love Him and follow Him not out of “inward” calls that we could not do otherwise but we follow Him because we love Him and desire to follow Him (John 1:12-13).  The very nature of God is seen in John 3:16, that He truly loves the world and desires to save the world through Christ (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 John 2:2).  We believe that God demonstrates His great love for us with the giving of His Son (Romans 5:8-9).  We come into a saving relationship with God through faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22-27; 5:1; 10:13; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 4:10).  All those who appropriate the work of Christ are His elect.  Those who reject Christ are the lost (Mark 16:15-16).

The bottom line is that we reject Calvinism not because of human pride or that we want credit for our salvation.  Rather, we reject Calvinism because of the nature of God.  The divine determinism of God in Calvinism is a God who not only controls all things but is the cause of all things even sin.  If the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty is correct, God renders all things certain for His own glory and purposes including sin.  How does this not make God the author of sin when Scripture clearly says that He is not (James 1:12-15)?  Furthermore, the divine determinism of God makes man not free at all.  Man does what God has predestined him to do whether it be to praise Him (which seems is few in comparison) or to reject Him.  As Dr. Roger Olson has stated, in Calvinism, there is not much difference between God and Satan other than Satan wants to kill all while God wants to kill most.  No wonder this view of God, as John Wesley said, makes our blood boil.

I love Calvinists.  I reject Calvinism.  I can love Calvinists while rejecting their theology.  God doesn’t save us because we hold to Arminianism or Calvinism.  He saves us by His grace.  Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 that divisions are not beneficial to the cause of Christ.  Divisions break Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-22.  Division, according to Romans 16:17 is a sign of rebellion.  I would not divide with my Calvinist brother or sister who is passionate for Christ or His kingdom over the issues related to Arminianism and Calvinism.  We are saved through faith in Christ alone and not by our theological systems.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/17/2013 at 9:57 AM

Debates Among Arminians

I was unaware of a post by Dr. Roger Olson until I read William Birch’s post offering “a thorny olive branch from Roger Olson to Evangelical Arminians.”  I read both posts.

Dr. Olson’s post laments that for the past two years he has been receiving attacks from fellow Arminians often accusing him of holding to positions that he does not hold to.  For instance, he states that some have said that he holds to open theism and he denies this.  He states that he has friends who are open theists (as do I) and he does not view them that way Calvinists often do (as heretics).  I would agree.  I myself am no open theist but I also don’t believe that open theism means that a person is a heretic.  While I believe that open theism, if followed out, can lead to some views of God that I don’t believe are biblical, I don’t believe that such people are rejecting justification by faith alone in Christ alone.

Yet me add my own two cents to the issue.  Like William Birch, I am not on the level of Roger Olson.  I drive an 18 wheeler for a living.  I read a lot of theology books, love to preach the Word of God, love God, love to pray and seek His face, etc. but I am no academic scholar on the level of Olson.  Dr. Olson teaches at Baylor University.  I only have a B.A. from Columbia International University.  I would no doubt be humbled if I debated Dr. Olson on many issues.  Further, I do praise God for Dr. Olson.  His book, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realitiesis one of the best books that I have read on Arminianism.  Dr. Olson has been a good defender of Arminianism over the years.  He has interacted with Calvinists such as Michael Horton to seek to correct misunderstandings about biblical Arminianism and to show that Arminianism is not a “man-centered” theology has some have sought to paint it.

Yet I would argue that none of us but Jesus are perfect in word or deed or thought.  We all struggle to speak for God.  The Bible alone perfectly speaks for God and yet we humans struggle how to understand and apply the Bible.  While I believe the Bible is clear, it is not always easy to put together to form an application for life.  For instance, we read Leviticus and we are separated by thousands of years and we read it from this side of the cross where Jesus is our perfect sacrifice for our sins.  We struggle with how to take Leviticus and teach it to the modern ear.  One thing I do as I read through Leviticus is to shout praises to God for His giving of His Son for our sins.  Leviticus makes me praise God more for the gospel and for the freedom we have in Christ Jesus.

None of us, therefore, are perfect when we speak for God.  None of us have perfectly figured out God.  Cults scare me because they can explain God.  Jehovah’s Witnesses have their god figured out.  Their god is someone they don’t have to think deeply about to understand his ways or his nature.  Not so with Yahweh.  We could read the Bible and think deeply about Yahweh and never understand Him perfectly.  We can learn enough about Yahweh to know Him and be saved through Jesus but we cannot grasp our infinite God.  Whether we be Arminians or Calvinists, we cannot grasp the wisdom and depth of God (Romans 11:33-36).  Even the greatest theologians from Jonathan Edwards to Arminius to Calvin to Gill to many others are all humans and all guilty of sin and lack full knowledge of God.  We are all limited.

This is not excuse heresy or to say that some theologians were better than others.  Perhaps I will get to heaven and find that Arminius was better than Calvin or perhaps the other way around.  I don’t think it will matter in eternity whether Calvin was right about predestination or whether Arminius was right that free will flows from the loving character and nature of God.  I don’t think it will matter whether Edwards was right about baptism or whether Jewett was right.  We should strive to honor God with our labors in theology and we should seek to graciously correct those with whom we disagree (2 Timothy 2:24-25) but the key is grace.

Among us Arminians we should strive to be pleasing to God and seek to establish godly fellowship among us Arminians.  The key enemy for the child of God is Satan (Ephesians 6:11-12).  The enemy for the Arminian is not the Calvinist but the devil himself.  We Arminians have a common enemy with our brethren who differ with us and that is Satan.  I pray that we would unite on the fundamentals of our faith and defeat the lies of Satan.  I believe that there is room in the body of Christ to disagree over non-essentials of the gospel message but still be brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 3:26-29).  The gospel unites and divides.  The gospel separates us from the worldly-minded, the unholy, and the liars and yet it unites us to those who love Christ, tremble at His Word, and who deeply desire to honor God (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/04/2013 at 12:10 AM

Great Post From Dr. Roger Olson

Here is a great post by Dr. Roger Olson on the subject of unlimited atonement.  He makes a good argument here that the Calvinist attacks on Arminianism about our view regarding the atonement of Christ is unfair.

You can read his post here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/12/2013 at 5:24 PM

Dr. Roger Olson on Misrepresenting Arminianism

Here is a good post from Dr. Roger Olson on another example of misrepresenting Arminianism and what Arminians truly believe.  I urge all who disagree with Arminius to wrestle with the man and his writings and not your own creation of his views.

You can find the post here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/06/2013 at 6:33 PM

The God Who Ordains Evil

Dr. Roger Olson does a good job in this post by showing the fallacies of some Calvinists when trying to explain evil and how this relates to the sovereignty of God.  Men such as John Piper simply acknowledge that evil comes from God and is ordained by Him for His glory (though we know not how at this time).  Olson points out that this view doesn’t glorify the character of God but rather makes Him appear as less than loving and good.  As Olson stated once before, “There is not much difference I see between the God who ordains evil and renders it certain and Satan.  Satan wants to destroy all but God wants to destroy most.”

The problem of evil and suffering is not easy.  I don’t think there are pat answers for this.  Even Scripture doesn’t give us all the insights we would like in regard to human suffering and evil.  Yet I would equally state that I don’t see in Scripture where God ordains evil and renders it certain.  He certainly knows beforehand what will happen but to control evil and to allow evil is not the same as causing evil which Piper does when he teaches that God is so sovereign that everything that happens does happen because He renders it certain and planned all things.  How is He not evil then?  How is He still rendered as good and loving if in fact He plans and renders certain horrible acts like rape, murder, shootings, etc.?  How can the God of John 3:16 or the God of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 be that God if in fact He causes (whether directly or indirectly) the suffering of people at the hands of vile sinners?

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/27/2012 at 1:01 PM

Good Quote from Roger Olson on Monergism

Dr. Roger Olson, in his book Against Calvinism, states the following:

The sole reason non-Calvinist evangelical Christians object to monergism is because it makes God the ultimate, even if indirect, cause of the reprobates’ unbelief and damnation.  It does serious harm to God’s reputation.

Great point.  If God is the only one involved in saving a sinner then the non-elect go to hell not because of their own sins but because of the unwillingness on God’s part to save them.  This does not reveal the love of God very well (John 3:16) who gave His Son to die for all (1 John 2:2) when in fact He died to secure the salvation of very few.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/13/2012 at 7:13 PM

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