24 January 2012

A conversation about Calvinism

Michael Horton and Roger Olson have recently put out a pair of books, For Calvinism (Horton) and Against Calvinism (Olson). I have both of the books, but I have yet to read them. I have appreciated Horton's ministry through the White Horse Inn for a few years and he has, in some ways, shaped my thinking. I know less of Olson, a theology professor at Baylor University, except to say that I am familiar that he is one of the most vocal advocates for Arminianism today.

Today, on the way to work, I listened to a 2 part "conversation" between Horton and Olson regarding the topic, "For or Against Calvinism." It was encouraging to listen to these two brothers in the faith discussing their dissenting views on this issue. I wish more theological conversations would happen in this way.  Here were a few brief takeaways.
  • There is much overlap between them.  They appear to agree on the majors. 
  • Olson was a gracious, intelligent advocate of Arminianism. I have read his blog in the past, but I found him more endearing and less adversarial in this setting.
  • Horton seemed to rely upon the biblical evidence more than Olson, who seemed rather to make his arguments based more upon his belief in what, or who, God should be. For example, he cited John Wesley, who claimed that Romans 9 cannot be saying what it appears to say and so there must be another explanation. 
  • Both men seem to agree that there is a lack of Arminian theologians throughout history. At one point, Horton mentioned Jacob Arminius and John Wesley and Olson quipped, are there any others, showing his hand that "his team" may lack a strong, or at least visible, tradition.
In the end, I have a deeper appreciation for Arminianism, but a continued confidence in Calvinism.

You can listen to Part 1 here and Part 2 here

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