A Letter from a Young Christian Reader of Against Calvinism
written by Roger E Olson, PhD
I recently received this e-mail letter. It’s the best recommendation of Against Calvinism I’ve read yet. I hope you, my faithful readers and blog visitors, will pass this good word around so that more people like this young Christian will read Against Calvinism to counter the arguments of their YYRM friends:
“I purchased a copy of Against Calvinism after reading your article from Relevant Magazine’s website a few months back. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your time and effort writing this book. It is very refreshing and encouraging to see someone advocating something other than Calvinism as plausible doctrine. I have often times felt very overwhelmed with other twenty-somethings when theology comes up because I am one of only a select few students I know that do not cling to Calvinism and the TULIP. Being raised in a hybrid of Methodist/Baptist home and growing up in the church, theology has always interested me – even before I truly began following Christ with my entire life at 16, rather than just going to church on Sunday and praying before meals etc. I went to Presbyterian school for thirteen years, so I was introduced to Calvinism at a very young age.
My school required theology classes as part of core curriculum study in high school, so I gleaned a lot of information from 9-12th grade. Calvinism was always very unsettling to me. I respected my professors that taught it as God-fearing men who truly served the Lord, but no matter how hard I tried I simply could not accept Calvinism and the implications it makes on God’s nature. I also struggled with how, at least from my reasoning, it shirks mans responsibility for his sinfulness to a certain extent. It was not until I got to college that heard of the “New Calvinist Movement.” I must admit, in my naivety, I never once considered that anyone other than my theology teachers and well versed Presbyterians even accepted Calvinism as a plausible conclusion to be made from scripture. I soon figured out that I was mistaken. I also soon figured out that many of the young Calvinist I have met will bring up theology at every opportunity looking for a good debate.
After being cornered in my dorm room first semester of my freshman year by a close friend wanting to discuss “why reformed theology is the only doctrine that is not heresy,” I began to do extensive research on Calvinism and the Reformed movement as a whole. I will not lie, I was very overwhelmed and shocked by some of what I found. What I found even more unsettling was a lack of resources readily available to counter Calvinism. I knew that I did not advocate the doctrine of Calvinism, but that was after a long, hard, digging study accompanied by a lot of coffee and many sleepless nights. I also get upset when I think of the many young members of the Reformed movement who have not extensively researched all the doctrine they embrace advocates. It is very upsetting than many Christians of my generation, in an attempt to run from the “spoon-fed doctrine” they embraced as a child have done the exact same thing at 20 years old. They adopt a new doctrine because it’s “cool” and a celebrity pastor advocates it, and then slap the label of “being enlightened to the truth” on it. I have a lot of respect for anyone who has studied at researched why they believe what they believe even if it differs from my theological standpoint, but what I can hardly bear is watching my generation flock to “what is cool” in terms of the doctrine they embrace without any real study beyond the bestseller list at Lifeway.
I thank you for presenting my generation with a counter to the Calvinist movement. I am very grateful that a theologian of this day decided to flesh out an alternative to Calvinism with a scriptural basis. It is very refreshing to hear the voice of a respected and incredibly well-studied theologian on this topic who holds a belief other than Calvinism. I firmly believe that my Calvinist brothers and sisters are just as passionate for the Lord as I am, but I am also grateful to know I am not alone in my inability to accept all the tenants of Calvinism.
Thank you again for your work on Against Calvinism and for your service to our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
For the original post, go to: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2012/12/a-letter-from-a-young-christian-reader-of-against-calvinism/