Calvinist theology has been debated and promoted for centuries. But is it a theology that should last? Roger Olson suggests that Calvinism, also commonly known as Reformed theology, holds an unwarranted place in our list of accepted theologies. In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God's reputation.
Olson draws on a variety of sources, including Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience, to support his critique of Calvinism and the more historically rich, biblically faithful alternative theologies he proposes.Addressing what many evangelical Christians are concerned about today - so-called 'new Calvinism,' a movement embraced by a generation labeled as 'young, restless, Reformed' - Against Calvinism is the only book of its kind to offer objections from a non-Calvinist perspective to the current wave of Calvinism among Christian youth. As a companion to Michael Horton's For Calvinism, readers will be able to compare contrasting perspectives and form their own opinions on the merits and weaknesses of Calvinism.
©2011 Roger E. Olsen (P)2011 Zondervan
Let me say this first: Roger Olson has a very urgent, forceful way of writing. Though I've never met him personally, I can say with relative confidence that he is an incredibly passionate individual. This may turn many people away from this book thinking that he is arrogant (which he kinda is) or that he hates Calvinists (which he really doesn't).
This book poses a conceptual problem. While it is a great counterpoint to Michael Horton's For Calvinism, it does not stand on its own very well. This is because it is a negative apologetic; it is written for the purpose of poking holes in Calvinism and not to support Olson's view (Arminianism). This come across as Olson being vindictive and often uncaring. If one were to read Horton's companion book or even Olson's Arminian Theology (a great but challenging book) then one would see that Olson isn't writing out of pure spite, but out of a loving urgency and passion for the subject matter. Regardless, this is why I couldn't give it 5's across the board.
I do, however, think this was a phenomenal read and worth the >10 hours it would take for any serious thinker who wants to understand some of the limitations of Calvinism and the importance of individual discernment, thought, and study in the life of every Christian.
Overall Olson offers a fair case against the TULIP soteriology often called Calvinism (and he distinguishes this as well). He presents the Arminian counter to TULIP and also offers alternate interpretations of scripture which Calvinist's use to support their interpretation. My only complaint and what made it hard for me to listen to in parts is his occasional portrayal of Calvinists as believing in a different God and personalizing their beliefs as opposed to simply dealing with those beliefs.
The reading was clear and easy to follow. Maurice England did a superb job of reading this text.
For me, it was being able to listen to the book and read it at the same time to help me understand the theme all the better.
There were no "characters" in this work. It's a study from Roger Olson view of Calvinism.
It has seriously made me go back to Scripture and re-evaluate my own convictions about commonly held views that can be traced back to Calvinism's influence.
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