October 15, 2011

plug for Roger Olson's new book, Against Calvinism

Watch out John Piper, Mark Driscoll and your Reformed friends, your “thorn in the flesh” just got a whole lot sharper! Roger Olson has done it again! After reading Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, I didn’t think his work could get any better, but then Olson releases Against Calvinism.  After the first book, I was convinced that Roger Olson was in fact a Godsend to a Protestant Evangelical world that is crawling with militant Calvinists who have convinced others that doctrines like "grace" and "sovereignty" and even the term Evangelical itself somehow belong to them.  This first-rate theologian took aim at such notions showing that historic Arminianism is equally as grace-focused and God-centered as Calvinism.

Whereas Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities exposes how completely dishonest Calvinist writers have been in characterizing Arminianism, which amounts to bearing false witness and requires their repentance, Against Calvinism truly seems to strike a death-blow to High Calvinism.  I have come to appreciate, that in this theological battle, Roger Olson fights fair which as I’ve already stated can't be said of many of his Calvinist opponents. He seeks to represent their position accurately in a way that they would acknowledge is a fair representation. However, he tries to help them see some of the logical conclusions their belief system leads to, which tragically many of them do not seem to grasp. A quote from Olson's blog sums up the most important reason for this book being written: "[Calvinists] talk endlessly about God's glory and about God-centeredness while sucking the goodness out of God and thus divesting him of real glory. Their theology may be God-centered but the God at its center is unworthy of being at the center. Better a man-centered theology than one that revolves around a being hardly distinguishable from the devil...this would make Him unworthy of worship."

Olson demonstrates that he thoroughly understands Calvinism from Calvinist sources and opens up the closet to reveal the darkness inside as it concerns the nature of God.  I don’t see how anyone could study this topic with any depth and objectivity and still remain a Calvinist.  Olson in my assessment when you put these two books together dismantles their objectionable doctrines entirely.

The time has come for the novel doctrines of St. Augustine, which were only to be found amongst the Gnostics before him (something most Calvinists didn’t know), to be exposed. Calvin and his theological descendants have taken these doctrines and have effectively misrepresented God to countless millions of Christians since the time of the Protestant Reformation. Calvinism was NOT the Apostolic and therefore NOT the Biblical understanding of "election", "predestination", and "free-will" and Olson’s contribution here helps set that record strait. Against Calvinism articulates better than any other why I am personally “against Calvinism" and my prayer is that many who've been infected with Augustinianism/Calvinism will somehow be "healed" by reading it.  Olson directs the Calvinist reader to other less reprehensible Protestant options; I pray many will follow his counsel.  I also know it will help many of the “as yet unpersuaded” to resist the ridiculous claims of this new breed of  Calvinists in modern Evangelicalism, and to know that they can affirm the best of the Reformation’s doctrines without having to embrace the diabolical implications of the sub-Biblical ones.

October 11, 2011

pinching ourselves

my wife, Desert Princess, met again with a former Hindu woman who came to Christ after being healed.  the types of encounters this woman is having are on par with anything you've read in the Scriptures or heard about.

just yesterday morning while in our living room, during a time of prayer and waiting on the Lord she went into a vision/trance? (sometimes we just don't know) and was taken to heaven.  she went on to describe things that she has never read about before like the "sea of glass" mentioned in Revelation.  The first time we saw this was several years ago with a Moroccan Muslim man who would go into these types of visionary experiences and then I'd open up a Bible passage and he'd say, "yes, that exactly what I saw".

this woman also has had multiple visitations by either Jesus Himself or an angel (she wasn't sure) before she came to Christ.  she only realized this when she in frustration asked the Lord why He hadn't come to her earlier and led her out of the idolatry of Hinduism's false gods.  He then "reminded" her of the visitations and experiences.  God is so good.

these are truly special days in which we are living.  God is pouring out a level of grace that may be unprecedented from any other time in history.