Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thoughts from "For or Against Calvinism"

Recently I listened to For or Against Calvinism from the White Horse Inn.

There are two parts if you want to listen: HERE

This is a conversation between Roger Olson and Michael Horton. It is very interesting and worth your time.

The conversation regarded Arminianism and Calvinism. Roger Olson is an adamant Arminian and Michael Horton is a convinced Calvinist.

Admittedly, I went into this already having determined which side I was "cheering" for per se. Michael Horton carries the torch well for my worldview and Biblical theology. I am sure there are points on which we may differ and on which I could be convinced otherwise. For example, I know that Michael Horton is an apologist for infant baptism. Admittedly, his explanation of it is the best and most persuasive I have ever heard, yet I am not there yet, but understand and sympathize with it more as a result of having heard his attempt at a Biblical explanation for it.

I felt that this conversation consister of Roger Olson appealing to his ideas of what God should be and how those do not mesh well with Calvinism. He repeatedly said, "If I were to believe that about God, I would have to see Him as a monster. I am not saying that you (Michael Horton) think he is a monster. I am just saying that I would see Him that way if what you are saying is true."

Michael Horton mentioned his own difficulties in coming across Romans 9 in his Bible. He even threw it across the room. He knew it would have to shake his ideas about God to believe what the Bible was saying about him.

As John Wesley once said, "whatever it (Romans 9) means, it can't mean that! (what a plain reading implies)"

We all come to the Bible with our own ideas about God and find verses that challenge that. Calvinism and Arminianism both have verses in the Bible that cause difficulty to their position's infallibility. It is without a doubt that when we see Jesus we will see Him as He is and our theological systems will have to expand and burst in order to make room for the Messiah in His glory.

That said, it is well worth the effort of talking this through and debating and studying and thinking and loving and repenting (changing our minds) and submitting to who God reveals Himself to be.

Are there verses in the Bible that perhaps do not mean exactly what a cursory reading would seem to imply? Yes. Arminianism and Calvinism both agree on this matter. The Bible requires some context and study to understand some verses which are deeper than the surface reading.

Are there verses in the Bible that perhaps mean exactly what a cursory glance seems to imply? Yes. It is a matter of knowing which are which I suppose.

Horton and Olson have a lot in common. They differ, however, on "which are which."

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