Olson on Calvin

Kevin Jackson posted a short essay from Roger Olson on John Calvin.  It’s not flattering which makes it all the more fun to read.  Check it out as I’m sure it’ll ruffle some feathers. ;-)


14 thoughts on “Olson on Calvin

  1. Although I agree with Olson about Calvin, I think Olson’s conclusion reeks of dualism.

    “For me nothing about the Christian worldview is more important than regarding God and the devil as absolute competitors in this universe and its tragic history. God is good and desires the good of every creature. As church father Irenaeus said “The glory of God is man fully alive.” The devil is bad and desires harm for every creature. To view the devil as God’s instrument makes a mockery of the entire biblical narrative. ”

    Just how powerful is satan? Is the devil and the Triune God on equal par in terms of power? This is where i am confused with Olson.

  2. Not bad:

    “Nevertheless, I still struggle with placing a man complicit in murder on a pedestal.”

    I too struggle with this.

    But I’m in no debt to John Calvin. :-D

  3. Rod: I think ‘absolute’ was a poor choice but I’m having a harder time with not seeing Satan as being in some way an instrument of God. It’s hard to read Job in such a light.

    TC: I think we can recognize his achievements without placing him on a pedestal.

  4. Both the Old and New present Satan as an instrument of God.

    Nick, I agree with you on Calvin. I really don’t think we should put any human on a pedestal – just me.

  5. I’m with Olson 100% on Calvin. Also, having read some of his other writings, I don’t think we need to worry about him falling into some sort of dualism. However, I suppose that theology students always need to find something to criticise in an essay and the potential dualism in the conclusion is the most obvious (albeit boring) starting place.

  6. While we certainly do not want to put any human on a pedestal (the way I guess is being assumed), it is very appropriate to remember and give thanks for those whom we learned from (see 2Tim. 3:14; and Heb. 13:7). The hatred of Calvin is amazing.

  7. “I do not admire or respect John Calvin.”

    Please, John Calvin was one of the greatest interpreters of scripture. People are reading him (his exegetical and theological work) hundreds of years after his death. I think, at least, little respect is in order, even if you disagree with him.

  8. Dan: I laughed out loud at your comment. It’s funny because it’s true.

    Jeff: I quite agree. But I don’t know that I’d classify Olson’s words as hateful so much as irreverent.

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