Commenter BKO to Dr. Roger Olson - "On what Biblical basis can 5-point Calvinists say, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so?” And, I mean, on what Biblical basis can they say he loved them enough to die to save them? Anyone who believes in “limited atonement” cannot point to any verse that teaches he died for them in a saving way. Their belief that he did so is merely subjective, rather than being based on objective statements of the Bible. Subjectivism is not a good nail on which to hang one’s faith. (re: Comments Section re Karl Barth)
Reply by Dr. Roger Olson - I'll invite Calvinists to answer this. Many of them come here, so hopefully at least one will take the challenge and answer the question.
Referral to a Calvinist Post re Sandy Hook Elementary School
Reply by Dr. Roger Olson to above Calvinist posting - Nothing new there, just the same old attempt to defend God’s character in light of affirmation of God’s authorship of sin and evil. Does he have the courage of his Calvinist convictions? If he did, he’d go the next logical step and affirm that God, not sinners, is guilty of all the sin and evil in the world.
Against this viewpoint Arminianism teaches the freedom that is found in creation and humanity, as we lately have discussed above. That God works alongside His creation presaging it towards His redemptive ends while allowing for sin and harm to occur by free will choice. That He does not control creation, so much as interacts with (or redemptively partners with) creation, while not interfering with its indeterminacy and free will. This would make humanity culpable for its sin and not God. It also would require of God to "win" or "woo" our "hearts, minds, and souls" by every means available to Him, including using His Holy Spirit to illuminate and empower our "hearts, minds, and souls" towards God's divine love (think of the illustrations of dating and marriage, raising kids, leading by consensus than by fiat, benevolent pastoring and shepherding care-take, etc). We are held within God's prevenient grace that would give to us every possible means and opportunities to repent and obey, while at the same time respecting, to the highest degree, our refusal not to. In this way are we "elect" in terms of God's "universal election" to participate in God's redemption. But by our choice even as this choice is reflective of God's faithful perseverance within His creation. Though predestined, we may refuse. Though foreordained in Christ, we may deny His work of atonement to ourselves. God's call to salvation must always respect our free will submission, our active agreement, and acknowledgement, to-and-for His help to redeem. Though we know not how this process works, still may we cry out to God for His help. To which He will. Down to the poorest cry. From the most miserable lips. From the most harden, lost soul. None may be lost or unfound when seeking His divine help for healing and restoration, life and removal from sin's dark imprisonments. That is the Christian hope and the doctrine of redemption.
Calvinism and the "God-as-Author"
by Roger Olson
December 26, 2012
by Roger Olson
December 29, 2012
I recently received this e-mail letter. It’s the best recommendation of Against Calvinism I’ve read yet. I hope you, my faithful readers and blog visitors, will pass this good word around so that more people like this young Christian will read Against Calvinism to counter the arguments of their YYRM friends:
“I purchased a copy of Against Calvinism after reading your article from Relevant Magazine’s website a few months back. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your time and effort writing this book. It is very refreshing and encouraging to see someone advocating something other than Calvinism as plausible doctrine. I have often times felt very overwhelmed with other twenty-somethings when theology comes up because I am one of only a select few students I know that do not cling to Calvinism and the TULIP. Being raised in a hybrid of Methodist/Baptist home and growing up in the church, theology has always interested me – even before I truly began following Christ with my entire life at 16, rather than just going to church on Sunday and praying before meals etc. I went to Presbyterian school for thirteen years, so I was introduced to Calvinism at a very young age.
My school required theology classes as part of core curriculum study in high school, so I gleaned a lot of information from 9-12th grade. Calvinism was always very unsettling to me. I respected my professors that taught it as God-fearing men who truly served the Lord, but no matter how hard I tried I simply could not accept Calvinism and the implications it makes on God’s nature. I also struggled with how, at least from my reasoning, it shirks man's responsibility for his sinfulness to a certain extent. It was not until I got to college that heard of the “New Calvinist Movement.” I must admit, in my naivety, I never once considered that anyone other than my theology teachers and well versed Presbyterians even accepted Calvinism as a plausible conclusion to be made from scripture. I soon figured out that I was mistaken. I also soon figured out that many of the young Calvinists I have met will bring up theology at every opportunity looking for a good debate.
After being cornered in my dorm room first semester of my freshman year by a close friend wanting to discuss “why reformed theology is the only doctrine that is not heresy,” I began to do extensive research on Calvinism and the Reformed movement as a whole. I will not lie, I was very overwhelmed and shocked by some of what I found. What I found even more unsettling was a lack of resources readily available to counter Calvinism. I knew that I did not advocate the doctrine of Calvinism, but that was after a long, hard, digging study accompanied by a lot of coffee and many sleepless nights. I also get upset when I think of the many young members of the Reformed movement who have not extensively researched all the doctrine they embrace as its advocates. It is very upsetting than many Christians of my generation, in an attempt to run from the “spoon-fed doctrine” they embraced as a child have done the exact same thing at 20 years old. They adopt a new doctrine because it’s “cool” and a celebrity pastor advocates it, and then slap the label of “being enlightened to the truth” on it. I have a lot of respect for anyone who has studied or, researched, why they believe what they believe even if it differs from my theological standpoint, but what I can hardly bear is watching my generation flock to “what is cool” in terms of the doctrine they embrace without any real study beyond the bestseller list at Lifeway.
I thank you for presenting my generation with a counter to the Calvinist movement. I am very grateful that a theologian of this day decided to flesh out an alternative to Calvinism with a scriptural basis. It is very refreshing to hear the voice of a respected and incredibly well-studied theologian on this topic who holds a belief other than Calvinism. I firmly believe that my Calvinist brothers and sisters are just as passionate for the Lord as I am, but I am also grateful to know I am not alone in my inability to accept all the tenants of Calvinism.
Thank you again for your work on Against Calvinism and for your service to our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
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