Friday, August 31, 2007

Olson on Calvinism

Baylor University's Roger Olson: " The God of Calvinism scares me; I'm not sure how to distinguish him from the devil."

(HT: Scott Lamb--see the discussion)

Update: I should point out that Olson has done this sort of thing before. For example, in 2003 wrote an article claiming, "The God proclaimed by John Piper is sometimes 'too big' in the sense that he doesn't seem personal enough to come near and dwell with us for our sakes. He's aloof and self-absorbed. That's not the loving, self-emptying, often vulnerable, caring and suffering God of the Bible." My response was published (you have to scroll down).

Olson likes to call for an "irenic" theology, but at the same time he has a habit of doing theology by caricature. It's analysis by labeling one side with glowing terms and labeling the other side with put-downs. In my introduction to the book Reclaiming the Center I collected some of the quotes to this effect from just one article of his:

The postconservatives and their proposals are “liberated,” “bold,” “vibrant,” “interesting,” “new,” “relevant,” “committed,” “faithful,” “fresh,” and “fascinating.” The traditionalists are “old guard,” “obsessive,” “reactionary,” “highly rationalistic,” “rigid” “naysayers” with a “scholastic spirit” who love nothing more than “gatekeeping,” “control[ling] the switches,” and “patrol[ling] the boundaries.”