Archives for November 2013

Explaining Calvinism to Calvinists (and Others)

Explaining Calvinism to Calvinists (and Others)One surprising feature of the new Calvinist movement is that so many claim to be Calvinists but have not studied Calvinism thoroughly. Nothing shows that more clearly than the responses offered here to my critique of the Calvinist pastor who prays that his son be "among the elect."Many Calvinists simply do not understand Calvinism. I, as an Arminian, understand it better than they do. And right now, here, I am not talking about understanding … [Read more...]

Changing My Mind (Some) about Pope Francis

Earlier here I expressed dismay at the media hype about the election of a new pope and said that he is not "my pope." I was not excited about the election of a new pope--as were some Protestants I know. It didn't even particularly interest me. To me, the Roman Catholic Church is just a denomination. It's a big one, admittedly, but it's just a denomination and I'm not part of it. And yet, some media talking heads and pundits in print talked about the papal choice as if it were the choice of a new … [Read more...]

My Response to Two Books about Arminius

Response to W. Stephen Gunter, Arminius and His Declaration of Sentiments and Keith D. Stanglin and Thomas H. McCall, Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace Roger E. Olson             These two books are significant contributions to what I call the “Arminian Renaissance” in contemporary theology. For centuries Arminius’s theology and Arminianism have been defined by their critics, mostly in the Reformed camp. The best thing I heard a traditional Reformed theologian say about Arminius was “He was a … [Read more...]

Was Arminius an Arminian? (Report on A Vigorous Discussion)

Yesterday (Nov. 24, 2013) I participated in a vigorous and invigorating panel discussion (followed by questions from the scholarly audience) about Arminius. The focus of the discussion was two new books about Arminius. (I have held off reviewing them here until after this session.) The authors of the two books were on the panel as were respondents Thomas Jay Oord and me. Joy Moore skillfully planned and moderated the discussion.The two books under consideration are Arminius: Theologian of … [Read more...]

Can a Calvinist Pray for His Child to Be “Elect?”

Recently I heard of a well-known Calvinist pastor, author, speaker, who, on a podcast, testified that he often goes into his little son's bedroom after he's asleep and prays over him that he be among the elect.While I certainly understand the pastor's sentiment and desire, I wonder if this is consistent with Calvinist theology? For any of you who are coming here without knowing me, let me assure you I have read a lot of Calvinist literature--from Calvin to John Piper and virtually every … [Read more...]

Is Prejudice always Conscious (or Can It Be Unintentional)?

When it comes to the issue of prejudice (racial, sex-related, immigrant-related, religious, cultural, etc.) I find there are two kinds of people. First, there are those who think that it must be conscious and deliberate in order to count as prejudice. Second, there are those who think it is often unconscious--found in and among people who deny, even to themselves, that they are prejudiced against a group of fellow human beings.Let's set aside the word "discrimination" in this conversation. … [Read more...]

2013 Maston Lecture: “Sin Boldly: Christian Ethics for a Broken World”

"Sin Boldly: Christian Ethics for a Broken World" Roger E. Olson, Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University The Maston Lecture, November 6, 2013, George W. Truett Theological Seminary             Few movies have affected me as strongly as the 2011 film “Machine Gun Preacher” starring Gerard Butler as Sam Childers, drug addict turned Christian missionary who takes up an AK-47 for Jesus in the Sudan. Based on Childers’s tru … [Read more...]