Titles: Against Calvinism & Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities
Author: Roger Olson
Topic: Calvinism, Arminianism
It is clearly evident that Reformed Theology is in. And not just in Seattle, where Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill call home. Throughout the nation, seminaries, denominations, and the blogosphere is full of the “Young, Restless and Reformed,” willing to stop and correct anyone who does not proclaim the Gospel the way they perceive it.
Surely, there have been many positive things that have come out of the Reformed movement:
- It has captivated many young men, a group that is almost completely absent in mainline denominations
- A lot of emphasis is being brought back to scriptures; college campuses and Starbucks’ are full of young people reading, underlining and studying their Bibles.
Because Calvinism and Arminianism was almost completely unheard of in the Slavic circles, the current wave of Reformed Theology raised a lot of interest in many youth to find out about it, and consider its conclusions. This has led hundreds to embrace Calvinism, its 5 tenets, and its outspoken leaders, such as John Piper, RC Sproul and John MacArthur.
The reality is, most of these people became Reformed without reading anything written anything good by non-Calvinistic authors. When you go into a Christian bookstore, you mostly find 2 options:
- Books on health, wealth, prosperity, money, tithing, sowing seeds, and proclaiming words of faith
- Books written by Calvinists on the different books of the Bible, how to study the Bible, on issues of character, discipline, and “where is God when it hurts.”
Of course, that’s not true. But the reformed movement sure makes it seem like it.
It is also true that many seeking to find out more about the Calvinism/Arminianism debate are mostly directed to Reformed blogs, books and authors, which presents the Calvinist side well and the other side negatively, unfairly, and many times incorrectly.
Before you switch tribes, start growing a beard, drinking bear, smoking cigars and calling yourself the Young, Restless & Reformed, Id like for you to consider two books written by Roger Olson. See what Arminianism is from the perspective of an Arminian, not from the perspective of a Calvinist. Sure, if you’d like to know more about Calvinism, do read from their perspective, not just from the perspective of Arminianism. And, if after reading these two books on Arminianism you still decide to switch tribes and become a Calvinist, at least you’ll know what the other side really does stand for and proclaim.
Ive personally had a chance to spend time with Dr. Olson, who teaches at Baylor University in Texas. We held a forum in Seattle on this subject, which can be viewed here. Dr. Olson is respected across many denominations, and some of his books are required readings in many seminaries, Bible Colleges and universities.
PS. If you are in ministry, I highly recommend these books, as this is an issue that will come up often in conversations, home group discussions, on Social Media, and other venues. You must be prepared to speak intelligently, and KNOW what the REAL issues are when this topic is debated.
PSS. My only wish is that some Slavic pastors would read these books. But unfortunately, most wont cause they feel like they know everything there is to know about this subject or any other subject. And that is why many young people leave their church.