(also sees his citation of A.T. Robinson as one of the "best critical exegetes" (132)). 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. Sovereignty of God. Olson wishes to draw a strict distinction between God permitting evil and tragedy and God causing those things. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) and never tempts anyone” (James 1:13, Olsen, 99). 18:32), wants everyone to be saved (Ezek. 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. God is acquainted with suffering for God has suffered in Christ. This is the second year in a row a book by Kidd has made my “best of” list and for good reason. If you are going to read this book read it alongside of "For Calvinism… Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology Audible Audiobook – Unabridged. [vi] Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith, ed. 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. God Himself entered into the painful, ugly mix of evil. In short he shows his love by obeying the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31). 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. Owen bringing his argument into focus states that those who argue that because God would have none to perish but that all of them to come to repentance, therefore he hath the same will and mind towards all and everyone in the world (Even those to whom he never makes known his will, nor ever calls to repentance, if they never once hear of his way of salvation), comes not only short of extreme madness and folly.[iv]. $26.99. This point was made clear in Douglas Wilson’s debate with atheists Dan Barker. John Calvin - Institutes of the Christian Religion. Fourth and foremost, the sinfulness of mankind fits the sovereign plan of God for the purposes of His own self-glorification. 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). God’s plan to deal with evil is prepared for in creation but executed in redemption. 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). Thoughts for Young Men. This book would be taken seriously by Calvinists if he had engaged the Word of God. 18:32; 1 Tim. First, believers can know they never suffer alone. By GOL June 27, 2012 June 21st, 2019 Blog, 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. 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. 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. The principled Arminians seem beleaguered when set in contrast to the vibrancy of the “new Calvinism,” Olson’s primary opponent in his book Against Calvinism. For faith to grow, it often has to be tested by fire. 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. It’s now important to turn to discuss what the Bible actually teaches about sin, evil and suffering. Third, evil and suffering go beyond a logical or philosophical problem-they are deeply personal and human problems. This prevailing has already begun with the life, death, and resurrection of the divine, Messiah, Jesus Christ. What is going to... J.C. Ryle’s book Holiness stands as a cornerstone piece in the library of Christian classics. But I’m not so sure. The historic Christian answer to the problem of evil and suffering is found in the example, as well as the identity of Jesus Christ. 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. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) and “never tempts anyone” (James 1:13, Olsen, 99). 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. In his opinion, “what is missing in bookstores today is a book demonstrating why high Calvinism is not biblically, theologically, or logically tenable” (Olsen, 101). I was not required to write a positive review. I really appreciate that he reads Calvinist sources and quotes from them while analyzing them from his perspective. As Olson readily acknowledges, the new Calvinism is rooted in dissatisfaction with the relative vapidity of much contemporary evangelical teaching. Lewis so eloquently put it: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”[viii]. 1:4, whom he calls “beloved” (chap. 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? In Against Calvinism Olsen writes not to attack Calvinism but to critique several aspects of Reformed theology (Olsen, 13). 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). In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God’s reputation. 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). 9. I requested this book to be given as a gift to my niece, who loves to read. This is not what the context or the passage teaches. Thomas S. Kidd is the Vardaman distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and the author of many books, including Who Is an Evangelical? 18:32), wants everyone to be saved (Ezek. 5:3). 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). Paperback $18.99. Repentance in the context of this passage is not being urged on Jerusalem for the preceding chapters affirm that its destruction is already assured. 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? The Lord assures His people that his decrees and actions are righteous and holy. The suffering of God in Christ is the solution to the problem of evil for human beings. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. As the writer of Hebrews declares: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons” (Hebrews 12:7). As a Calvinist reading this will challenge you, but the lack of evidence from Scripture will leave you more resolved about where you stand. [viii] C.S. Dr. Olsen interprets Ezekiel 18:32 to mean that God “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and wants everyone to be saved” (Olsen, 99). 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. William Pringle (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949, reprint from 1610), 420. Of all the world’s religions, only Christianity reveals the God who suffers with humanity and for humanity! 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). 2:4, Olsen, 99). Packer, introduction to John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1983), note 12. Roger E. Olson (shelved 7 times as calvinism) There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Multiple readings have ensued, and I turn back to Schaeffer’s book again and again for help with apologetics. - 1 – www.tlee1128.com A Bible-Based Argument Against Calvinism (TULIP) by James Thomas Lee, Jr. 11/14/2012 08/09/2013 - 2 – However, God’s final prevailing over evil and sin will all the more exhibit His splendor and dominion. 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. Rather, the exiles are pressed to repent and take responsible for their sin. God expresses more concern for his children than their comfort. John the author of this epistle makes it clear that everyone who loves God has been born of God and knows God. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened.” ESV (Romans 11:7) First, I will not be engaging everything Olsen has written in this book. The God of Calvinism is at best morally ambiguous and at worst a moral monster hardly distinguishable from the devil. But is this assessment fair to the Calvinist position or consistent with Scripture? (Romans 8:35, 37). 10:35; 12:4-11). Without knowledge of God, there is no love. 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9″ (Olsen, 99). 5:3; Heb. I don’t think that most Calvinists will find this a convincing argument, because Olson seems to be insisting that God must prove his love in a way that meets contemporary sensibilities about what love means. One of Olsen’s main’s points that he makes in this book is that the “Calvinist account of God’s sovereignty inevitably makes God the author of sin, evil and innocent suffering (such as the children of the Holocaust) and thereby impugns the integrity of God’s character as good and loving. [iii] James Boice, Philip Ryken, The Doctrines of Grace Rediscovering the Evangelical Gospel (Illinois, Crossway, 2002), 127. Required fields are marked *. Olsen is partly right when he quotes God is love but by not engaging the Scriptures and then proof-texting Scripture to support his position Olsen does damage to his entire argument since his argument revolves around whether the “Calvinist doctrine of God’s sovereignty including evil as part of God’s plan, purpose, and determining power blatantly contradicts 1 John 4:8, Ezek 18:32, 1 Tim. At that glorious time, all sin, suffering and sorrow will be forever eliminated. God brought the greatest good out of the greatest evil. Andy Naselli takes readers on a short and illuminating tour of Scripture and reveals the main features of God’s plan in redemptive history. This is the distinctive mark of the believer. 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. 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. [ii], Dr. James Montgomery Boice believed that 2 Peter 3:9 is not talking about the salvation of all men, but only of the elect. For and Against Calvinism Pack: Horton, Michael, Olson, Roger E.: 0025986494285: Books - Amazon.ca In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God's reputation. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Professor John Lennox, speaker, debater and author of numerous books … 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, and 2 Peter 3:9 to see if Scripture itself supports Dr. Olsen’s assertions regarding Calvinism. At the outset of this review, I wish to lay out all my cards on the table by stating that I disagree with Dr. Olsen that Calvinism teaches that “God is a moral monster.” In this review, I intend to demonstrate that at the root his argument is faulty, because he never engages the context of Scripture or offers any meaningful exegesis of the Word of God, but rather repeatedly appeals to man’s words about God than God’s Word itself. In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God’s reputation. Thirdly, God allows evil and suffering because of the greater good that results from it. By contrast, he has no such pleasure when a person dies without repentance. 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). But Olson’s notion that the creator God “permitted” evil and suffering doesn’t solve his theodicean dilemma any more adequately than does Calvinism. What really bothers Olson, however, is the larger issue that God’s meticulous sovereignty implies that he is the author of sin and suffering. [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). Furthermore, I believe that Olsen engages in proof-texting which doesn’t substantiate his arguments. 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. Roger Olson suggests that Calvinism, also commonly known as Reformed theology, holds an unwarranted place in our list of accepted theologies. However, God had planned this incredible miscarriage of justice from all eternity (Acts 2:22-23). Olson welcomes the rigorous theology of the new Calvinists but sees traditional Arminianism as a more biblical, rational alternative. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, and sound theology. Given that the most recent English translation is a … Love and knowledge of God are the two sides of the same coin. )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/ [...]. 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. The problem is that, first, there are no new arguments here. 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]. OR. Second, the focus of this review is on chapter four and more specifically to Olsen’s teaching on the God of Calvinism being a “moral monster.” Finally, the goal of this review is to respond to this serious charge leveled by Dr. Olsen by examining whether he is faithful or unfaithful to the teaching of the Word of God. 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. 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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”. I first read He is There and He is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer in 1992. The restatement of God’s displeasure in anyone’s death (18:32) is the basis of the final entreaty to turn and live. Learn how your comment data is processed. Every argument is a standard argument against Calvinism, usually just … Olson certainly believes in the Bible, but he also puts heavy weight on the authority of early 21st century concepts of justice and fairness. 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?”. But is it a theology that should last? Jesus came into the world as a man, suffering with human beings and for them. 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. 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. George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father, Inauguration Day in a Time of Crisis: How to Pray, The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About QAnon, The Fantasy Ideology of the American Insurrectionists, The Countries Where It’s Most Dangerous to Be a Christian in 2021. Jesus Christ, none other than God in human flesh, came to reveal God’s love to humanity. Christian Nationalism vs. Christian Patriotism, American Christians and Islam: From the Colonial Era to the Post-9/11 World. Three critical comforts can help Christians when confronted with evil and suffering. No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. what is happening today is a surprise to him. This is a well written book. 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 conclusion today there are some practical things Christians can keep in mind during difficult times. and then select PLAY NOW! The all Peter in 2 Peter 3:9 does not refer to “all” in the sense of everyone coming to repentance. This is important to note because it helps signify who the “all” is in 2 Peter 3:9. 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. 6 “Must Read” Books on Calvinism. The believer expresses his love to his fellow man by doing for his neighbor what he himself wishes that others do for him. By contrast, the unbeliever does not love God because he does not know God. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in sunny Southern California. 18:32; 1 Tim. Arminian theologian Roger Olson represents both a small and also a very large theological tribe. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. Olsen teaches that the Calvinist view contradicts 1 John 4:8 that God is love but even the context of 1 John 4:8 does not support this interpretation. 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. 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. It states that God chose not to look into the present age, and as I perceive it. God will have eradicated the problem of evil. Out of this horrible incident of malice and agony came divine redemption for sinners. Calvinism appeals to this generation by moving beyond therapeutic pabulum and engaging hard truths about sin and the ugliness of the human condition, and contrasts those truths with the fresh shock of God’s grace to people such as us. How Bad Is This Moment in American History? The person who is born of God is a window through which the love of God shines into the world. God similarly allows evil and suffering to bring about discipline in the life of his children. This book has convinced many of that the reformed viewpoint of God'ssovereignty is the only Biblical view. The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer is the most recent offering in Crossway’s Short Studies in Biblical Theology series. In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God’s reputation. It is worth reading both by people newly energized in their faith by Calvinism, and by those who may have doubts about Calvinist tenets. Steve Sewell, “Strong Argument Against Calvinism: Romans 11:7” December 11, 2013, posted by Steve Sewell “What then? It has many thoughtful questions and promptings for families to use during Bible study time. The smaller group, today at least, comprises principled Arminians, defenders of the theological tradition of Jacobus Arminius, John Wesley, and Charles Finney. Rewind Sale - Best Titles of the Year at Huge Savings! 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). For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. The Apostle Paul assures the church through asking and answering a probing question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Faith is trusting in the character of God when circumstances are painful and confusing. 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). Calvinist theology has been debated and promoted for centuries. Attempting to explain why there is evil in a world made by a good God is called theodicy (justifying the ways of God). After these cataclysmic eschatological events, the Lord will bring forth the new creation, forever free from evil and its consequences. In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God’s reputation. Though he as perfectly holy and blameless, he was rejected by both the religious and political authorities, falsely accused, convicted, and subsequently beaten and executed as a common criminal. Add to Wish List. Chosen But Free (Bethany House, 2001) is evangelical Norm Geisler’s response to the 5-point Calvinism of R.C. 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. After going over Olsen’s argument I will then move to explain what the Scriptures teach regarding sin, evil and suffering so that readers can have a good fuller grasp of what the Word of God and Calvinists teach regarding these issues. If I did this the review would have been much longer. Whatever objections Sproul and others may raise, the Calvinist account of God’s sovereignty is divine determinism” (Olsen, 84). by Dave Jenkins | Dec 27, 2011 | Christian Living. While he clearly demonstrates an understanding of Calvin, Edwards, Piper, and Sproul the heart of his complaint in Against Calvinism is that “high Calvinism is not biblically, theologically, or logically tenable” (Olsen, 101). Copyright © 2021 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. 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. 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. [ii] John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus & Philemon trans. In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God’s reputation. Robert R. Booth (Texarkana, AR; Covenant Media Foundation, 1996), 170. Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Dave received his MAR and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. 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. 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. These passages speak of love that originates in God and describes the believer as a person who loves and knows God. [v] Quoted in J.I. 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