January 10, 2011

Several potential commentors have e-mailed me saying they have tried without success to post comments here.  If you have that problem, please let me know at: Roger_Olson@baylor.edu.  I will not be able to respond to all e-mails, but I would like to know how many are having this problem.  My blog master says the WordPress spam filter has detected a lot of spam and automatically trashes messages it thinks are spam.  Sometimes that includes valid comments.  I want to know… Read more

January 8, 2011

One of my pet peeves is the fact that most Christian lay people and even many pastors don’t seem to know what they think the “Kingdom of God” means or have no idea what the Bible really says about it and yet use the phrase all the time. A couple years ago I taught every adult Sunday School class in my church a series on the Kingdom of God.  I began by asking these good, educated, thoughtful folks what they… Read more

January 6, 2011

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about something called “American exceptionalism.”  Some right wing politicians have been touting the idea as dogma for all Americans and some have even suggested that people who don’t agree should leave these shores and go elsewhere to live. IF American exeptionalism ONLY means that America is one of the greatest countries the world has ever known BECAUSE of its ideals, then, yes, I agree that it the idea.  Of course, one of those… Read more

January 4, 2011

I often scratch my head in bewilderment at some theologians’ reactions to things.  For example, to be get very straight to my point, some people I count as friends and comrades in what I call postconservative evangelicalism absolute despise the term and are quite critical of my (and my late friend Stan Grenz’s) project.  I know we think much alike about specific doctrines and about theology’s tasks (viz., that the contstructive task of theology is always ongoing and never finished). … Read more

January 2, 2011

Calvinist: You non-Calvinists limit God’s power and sovereignty and thereby denigrate his glory. Non-Calvinist: No; we don’t.  Why do you say that? Calvinist: You limit God’s power by claiming that created agents such as we can thwart his will and you denigrate his glory by elevating human agency and will to a level almost equal with God’s.  You rob God of his sovereignty. Non-Calvinist: Oh, but I affirm that God is omnipotent, sovereign and glorious. Calvinist: But you undermine your affirmation by limiting… Read more

December 29, 2010

Lately I’ve been thinking about how different theologies are driven by what I call “pre-biblical” perspectives–choices one makes, often subconsciously, regarding the meaning of biblical materials. We Protestants like to think that we only get our theology from the Bible.  I remember the title of one book I gave away long ago: The Bible without theology.  One could write a similarly lame book entitled The Bible without philosophy (and here I mean “philosophy” in a very broad sense of a… Read more

December 26, 2010

Thanks to those of you who have responded already to the first installment of what may turn out to be a series of posts on this very important but often ignored issue in theology–an issue I call a continental divide in theology and suggest may lie at the bottom of many debates between Calvinists and Arminians. Here I will assume you have read my previous post on this subject and proceed from where I left off. It seems to me that… Read more

December 26, 2010

Many evangelicals (and others) like to claim that their whole theology comes from the Bible, but there is at least one belief about God that every thinking person holds that is not at all directly addressed in Scripture.  And what one believes about this matters very much to much else in one’s thinking about God.  I sometimes wonder if this is really the underlying issue that gives rise to seemingly intractable debates about divine sovereignty.  It comes out clearly in… Read more

December 20, 2010

Recently I’ve been re-reading some books by my favorite American theologian Donald G. Bloesch (who died in August of this year).  Bloesch was a member and minister of the United Church of Christ and one of its few evangelicals.  He grew up in the Evangelical and Reformed Church (mostly Swiss Reformed immigrants) that merged with the American Congregational Churches to form the UCC.  He was never comfortable with the liberalism of the UCC but chose to stay within it rather… Read more

December 17, 2010

Arminian scholar William Klein provides this analogy to help understand the difference between classical, high Calvinist soteriology and Arminian soteriology (posted here with his permission): Possible Analogy for ‘the biblical doctrine of Election’                                                         W. Klein Background 1.   There exists a devastating famine among the poverty-stricken Srennis. They bear responsibility for the famine for they refused to engage in proper planning or farming techniques that could have sustained them though the time of drought. They depleted the land, and it has… Read more

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