Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thoughts on Against Calvinism by Roger E. Olson

I have read the introductory pieces and first chapter of this book so far. Here are some initial thoughts.

He is largely writing this to address the young, restless, and reformed crowd. He believes some of their thoughts regarding God's absolute control and creation of all things, including evil, is problematic. Since God cannot stand to be in the presence of sin, I would happen to agree. This is why we need Christ after all.

I have been researching the Calvinist vs. Arminian perspective for a little while now. This is not the first time that I have heard that Calvinism may not be properly summed up via the TULIP acronym. I have been thinking of reading the Canons of Dordt; I believe I will need to do that to more properly understand the keys of the Reformed faith.

When the author discusses freewill, he seems to be mentioning examples like Hitler and the Holocaust. I don't for a moment think that that horrifying sequence of events is from God.

It seems like the author so far is not clearly separating justification vs. sanctification. I believe most but likely not all would agree that there is a level of freewill involved in decisions that we make that are likely to impact sanctification, rewards, or eternal treasures in Heaven. However, what about freewill in the saving act? I await reading more of the author's opinion there.

Moving on to chapter 2, we now get to the first key. With any substantial debate, there is always the question of definition. What does it mean to be reformed? Many would argue that the TULIP acronym is the key. The author points to some older confessions as the basis including the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic and Westminster Confessions. These in addition to the above Canons of Dordt are the basis for this branch of the Christian faith according to the author.

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