Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

no respect for john calvin

Kevin Jackson presents an essay by Roger Olson on Calvinism. Olson pulls no punches:

Above all I want to make clear that I admire and respect my Calvinist friends and colleagues. We disagree strongly about some points of theology, but I hold them in high esteem for their commitment to the authority of God’s Word and their obvious love for Jesus Christ and his church as well as for evangelism.

However, I do not admire or respect John Calvin.

It's not just Calvin's role in the murder of Servetus that Olson finds objectionable, though that itself is enough reason not to hold the man in any esteem.

But Olson also objects to Calvin's theology, which

…elevates God’s sovereignty over his love, leaving God’s reputation in question. What I mean is that Calvin’s all-determining, predestining deity is at best morally ambiguous and at worst morally repugnant.

Calvin's teachings on predestination are harsh:

God decrees that the sinner shall sin while at the same time commanding him not to sin and condemning him for doing what he was determined by God to do. To Calvin this all lies in the secret purposes of God into which we should not peer too deeply, but it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of anyone who regards God as above all love.

Any being that sets up people to fail this way is not worthy of worship. Olson notes that this theology makes it hard to tell the difference between God and the devil.

I'll have more to say on this in a later post.

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At 7/21/2009 12:09 PM, Blogger Blake said...

Read Calvin's Sermons on the Beattitudes. His sermon on Love has more vitriol and hate in it than I think I've ever heard any self-proclaimed Christian express.


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