Saturday, February 18, 2012

eBook Review: Against Calvinism by Roger Olson

against calvinism


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.


This was a really good book to read on a subject that is not too in vogue in today’s intellectual Christianity – anti-Calvinism. So much of what is being taught and produced today seems to be from a Calvinistic perspective, with such names a John Piper and RC Sproul leading that charge. Now, the common assumption is that if you are not Calvinistic in your soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), then you just are not studied or learned. But Roger Olson does a good job in shedding light on the dangers of this way of thinking, especially in regards to the “High Calvinism” that is so prevalent today in the Christian Blogosphere. The author doesdead tulip petals a good job in picking apart the TULIP petal by petal with good, sound, biblical logic and understanding and showing how, just as I believe, that Calvinism does not promote the goodness of God, but takes away from His love, mercy, and justice.

My only real fault with the book is that often times the author would bring up an issue, and then follow it up with a phrase along the lines of, “and I will deal with this more in a later chapter.” I understand needing to do this once or twice, but it happened so much that it became a little distracting for me near the end.


While there may be other major areas that I disagree with the author on (Ecclesiology, etc.), and I would not call myself an Armenian as he would, this is still an excellent book on this subject. He deals with it truthfully, yet tactfully and honorably without the normal venom and name-calling that this divisive issue usually brings (from BOTH sides!).  You would do well to pick up this book and read it for all that it is worth if this is a subject that you are interested in.

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