Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Roger Olsen's Anti-Militant-Calvinist Manifesto

. . . is well worth a read.  He starts like this,

For many years I had no particular bone to pick with Calvinism. I required my students to read Calvin (as I still do) and Calvinist theologians, and invited Calvinists into my classes to explain their theology (as I still do). Some of my relatives are Calvinists, as have been many of my friends. Then something new began to happen. One day in the early 1990s I read an article on line in which a leading Reformed theologian stated that a person cannot be both evangelical and Arminian. He equated Arminianism with Roman Catholic theology and called it semi-Pelagianism.
If this were an isolated incident that would be one thing. But relatively quickly this sentiment about Calvinism and Arminianism began to sweep through evangelicalism. And the Calvinism being promoted as synonymous with evangelical Christianity itself was and is a particular strain of Calvinism that highlights and underscores double predestination.

You can't comment on the webpage so feel free to do so here! :-)


  1. Interesting article Jonathan. I'm glad that there are people like Roger around!!

  2. Indeed, I might have to start subscribing to his blog, only problem is too many blogs!

  3. Good article.

    I was a Calvinist for about 6 weeks once, when I was studying. But it was the exegesis of those Romans passages that helped me understand Paul was talking about Gentiles being ingrafted into Israel - not God predetermining the salvation of individuals - that changed my mind.

    By the way, at the Gathering I went to a seminar featuring 5 Carey staff, and found it pretty interesting that 3 seemed to be Calvinists. It's definitely a theology on the rise.

  4. Hi Rhett, be interested to discuss that with you, off blog of course, I think the Calvinists at Carey though are all people i am happy to get on with; even the most rabid, and you know who i mean, is actually a very open minded and intelligent Calvinist who is a long way from the TULIP nonsense and "federal" Calvinism. I would struggle to pass a piece of paper between my arminianism and any intelligent Calvinists I know, except maybe you know who, but even then I feel i have more in common with them than not.

  5. and yes, reading Romans properly makes a big difference. :-)

  6. Oh yeah - absolutely. I didn't mean it in a bad way, just as an observation... some of my best friends are Calvinists! ;-)

    But seriously, John Stott is my favourite Christian writer and he was something of a fuzzy Calvinist. Tim Keller is brilliant as well, and he's a not so fuzzy Calvinist. I've even been known to read John Piper and enjoy myself.

    So no "us vs them" coming from me here!

  7. :-) Yes sorry, i was clarifying my own poistion, not worried about yours, i know what an irenic chap you are. The discussion would be that i'm genuinly interested to know who you reckon is a calvinist and who isn't, unfortunately they don't wear badges.