Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Against Calvinism : A Review

It has been a fun journey over the last month as I have read Michael Horton’s For Calvinism, which I reviewed a few weeks ago, and Roger E. Olson’s Against Calvinism.

Though I reside firmly in the Wesleyan/Arminian camp, I did attended a Calvinist leaning seminary and taught at a Reformed Church of America college during my career. I have heard and studied the arguments from both sides and have come to some conclusions on my own. Taking the time to read Horten and Olson has allowed me to revisit decisions that I made some 35 or more years ago. Those decisions have not changed, but these two books did allow me to rewalk a path that I traveled years ago.

Olson’s book is not so much a defense of a Wesleyan/Arminian faith, but a reflection of the problems presented by those who follow the teachings of John Piper or R C Sproul. Though I, as indicated above, did find myself immersed in their teaching, I have never read their writings. I found Horton’s and Olson’s books helpful in understanding the Calvinist position as it is being expounded in the first decade of the 21st century. Both draw on the writing of current propounders of Calvinism, but also draw heavily from those in both its early history and the more recent past of the 17th - 20th centuries.

Olson’s book is not merely a restatement of non-biblical writers, he also reflects on both the obvious and the more difficult passages of scripture - which one would expect from a well-written theology text.

Roger Olson’s Against Calvinism is recommended reading for those both in and out and on the fence as they relate to Calvinism. Reading Michael Horton and Roger Olson together is the best solution in studying and understanding the current issues involved in this five century old debate.

This review is based on a free, electronic copy of the book provided by the publisher prior to publication.

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