Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Book Reviews: For Calvinism & Against Calvinism

I have finally done the book reviews for the books For Calvinism, and the book Against Calvinism The book review of For Calvinism can be seen here, and the book review of Against Calvinism can be read here. I will re-post the book review of Roger Olson's book in parts on this blog over the next couple of days. Here is the introduction:

The book by Dr. Roger Olson is a companion volume to Michael Horton's book For Calvinism, and the two of them are published in order to forward the conversation between Calvinism and Arminianism.

As a book written to disprove Calvinism, Olson begins chapter one with the rationale for his book, stating that "someone needs ... to stand up and in love firmly say 'No!' to egregious statements about God's sovereignty often made by Calvinists" (p. 23). Chapter two deals with what Calvinism and Reformed theology refers to, chapter 3 with the "mere Calvinism" adopted by many of the New Calvinists in TULIP, which he then proceeds to critique in subsequent chapters — first Calvinism's teaching of God's sovereignty, then the U, the L and the I which he find objectionable in the TULIP acrostic. Olson then concludes with what he claims are Calvinism's conundrums that show the marked inconsistencies in the system.

As a book and attack on Calvinism, this reviewer finds it manifestly unconvincing. Credit is given however for Olson's correct portrayal of the general outline of what Calvinism teaches. However, Olson does not seem to go beyond accurately presenting the basic outlines of Calvinism and instead see logical implications where none exist, as we shall see later

To be continued...


razzendahcuben said...

Great review. I appreciated your discussion of "all" at the end.

Do you believe that limited atonement is an essential gospel doctrine? As in, a gospel denying limited atonement is a false gospel?

Daniel C said...


if by "essential," you mean is it an integral part of the full doctrines pertaining to the Goepsl, yes. If by "essential," that a Gospel denying definite atonement is a false Gospel, not necessarily.

razzendahcuben said...

Would you mind commenting on this argument? I love Owen's argument for particular redemption that you mention in your paper but have wondered about this:

"A simple analysis reveals that the entire ‘double payment’ argument is holed below the water-line. Indeed, it collapses under the weight of its own logic. Consider: did the wrath of God abide on the apostle Paul before he believed (John 3:36)? Was he an enemy of God prior to salvation (Rom 5:10)? Was he seen as guilty before God (Rom 3:19)? How so, if Christ had already made payment for his sins to the utmost farthing? Clearly Owen’s logic cuts both ways and winds up teaching that the elect are never lost, even before they are saved. This neutralises the force of his entire argument, rendering it unsound."

(From here.)


Daniel C said...


that argument fails to take into account that there is a difference between the decree and design of the atonement, and the application or outworking of that decree of the atonement.

The argument has the same form as those the hyper-Calvinists use to affirm that the elect were always saved, and faith's role is to make that person realize their election. All of such arguments are predicated upon a Parmenidian idea of "eternity," reducing God to a timeless point, instead of the timeless God working out all things in a everlasting timeframe.

Once again it seems, the Arminians and hyper-Calvinists prove that they are two sides of the same coin.