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Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities Hardcover – October 5, 2006
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"Arminian Theology should prove to be a seminal text in understanding the historical contours of Arminianism. It is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to gain a cogent and perspicacious introduction to historical, evangelical Arminian theology." (Martin Povey, Stockport, Themelios 32/3, May 2007)
"Olson's purpose is to clear the good Arminian name of false accusations and charges of heresy. . . . InterVarsity Press has given a new voice to an evangelical position which has been, for the most part, suppressed and misrepresented." (Vic Reasoner, The Arminian 25:1, Spring 2007)
"Roger Olson recaptures Arminianism's original focus: pointing us to God's goodness rather than man's 'freed will.' This refreshing reappraisal should pave the way for better synergy between Reformed evangelicals and classical Arminians." (David Neff, editor, Christianity Today)
". . . a fine example of contemporary polemical theology at its best." (Daniel Castelo for Pneuma, 29, 2007)
"I heartily recommend this book to all who wish to gain a true grasp of authentic Arminianism." (Mark DeVine, Midwestern Journal of Theology, 2008)
"Olson's book is highly reommended for those who want to understand the Arminian-Calvinist controversy better." (Andrew V. Snider, The Master's Seminary Journal, Spring 2009)
"This is an extremely crucial work. It should be required reading for all students of theology. It is not a substitute for reading primary sources, but it is a helpful summary and introduction to the major issues." (Glenn R. Kreider, Dallas Theological Seminary, Criswell Theological Review 4/2, Spring 2007)
"Although many of the personal and institutional animosities that used to mark relations between Calvinists and Arminians have become muted in recent years, the differences are still with us. The issues are alive because they concern matters of central importance to Christian faith. In this book Roger Olson gently and firmly corrects misunderstandings of Arminian theology that are often held by Calvinists--and Arminians! His deft expositions of the historical texts offer a significant contribution to the health of theological reflection and relationships. At the same time he demonstrates how to be irenic without adopting an empty tolerance that makes doctrine irrelevant to the church's life and mission." (Jonathan R. Wilson, Pioneer McDonald Professor of Theology, Carey Theological College)
"In this blockbuster of a book Roger Olson demonstrates that Arminian theology is faithfully Christian, faithfully Protestant and faithfully evangelical. He introduces his readers to a large world which many will never before have entered, the world of Arminian and Wesleyan theology, and even those familiar with this world will become more informed about it. In his contents page alone he provides more clarity on the contested issues in the Calvinism/Arminianism debate than many books on the subject. He methodically subverts many of the arguments that Calvinists routinely use against Arminian theology. This is Christian polemical theology at its best: massively informed, carefully and passionately argued, and friendly and courteous to the opposition. I recommend Arminian Theology enthusiastically, and I predict that, if it is read with the attentiveness it deserves, it will ratchet up the level of the American conversation on these issues." (Fisher Humphreys, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University)
"Roger Olson has done the church a great service with this clear explanation of the key tenets of the evangelical Arminianism taught by Arminius, Wesley, Wiley and others. His effort to correct common misperceptions is highly readable but well supported by thorough scholarly research. Calvinists should welcome this book for at least two reasons. First, it will help us not to misrepresent Arminianism and will thus enable both genuine dialogue and valid critique. Second, we can earnestly hope that Olson will succeed in converting to classic evangelical Arminianism the large number of evangelicals whom he recognizes to be semi-Pelagian rather than Arminian." (Terrance Tiessen, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics, Providence Theological Seminary)
"Demonstrating that the recent offerings in the field of evangelical/Arminian scholarship constitute not a fad but a trend, Roger Olson has written a carefully researched work that aptly portrays Arminian theology at its best. Clearing away many of the stereotypes and half-truths that have remained much too long, Olson not only cogently argues that Arminian theology is nothing less than evangelical theology, but he also calls for Calvinists and Arminians to cooperate with one another in mutual recognition and respect under the broad tent of evangelicalism and for the larger good of the gospel. I heartily agree." (Kenneth J. Collins, Ph.D., Professor of Historical Theology and Wesley Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary, and author of The Evangelical Moment: The Promise of an American Religion)
"Roger Olson's new book, Arminian Theology, provides the definitive defense of Arminian theology to date. This winsome and well-crafted work dispels chapter by chapter the ten major misconceptions or myths about Arminian theology perpetuated by foes and friends alike. While intended for a wide and general readership, this well-researched and documented text is really a profound essay in historical theology in which Olson gives voice to leading Arminian theologians past and present, allowing them to speak for themselves and define what Arminianism really stands for. Thus, not an exercise in defense, Arminian Theology is the most lucid and effective book-length restatement of true Arminianism in print today. Olson's gracious and irenic spirit shines through the text even while his scholarly documentation of point after point shreds the many misperceptions of Arminian theology so prevalent today. This is a must-read book for educated laypersons, pastors, and scholars interested in, and concerned about, the current and historic debates between Calvinists and Arminians. Arminian Theology certainly raises the theological bar against those who want to theologically discredit Arminianism and relegate it to the backwaters of history and the life of the church." (Rev. Dr. Elmer M. Colyer, Professor of Historical Theology, Stanley Professor of Wesley Studies, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary)
From the Publisher
* Written by a respected and accomplished Arminian theologian
* Benefits those wanting clarity about classical Arminian theology, whether they are detractors, promoters or trying to make up their own minds
* As readable as Olson's Story of Christian Theology and Mosaic of Christian Belief
* A major voice to be heard in the middle of the current controversy between Calvinists and Arminians
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Top Customer Reviews
What I did find was that the crux of the difference between the two theologies really lies in the manner in which God chooses men to be saved. The Calvinist states that we as dirty, sinful, godless humans should be grateful to see that God is gracious to choose any to go to heaven, instead of allowing us all to go to hell. Arminians, on the other hand, believe that God is so loving that He would choose everyone to heaven if He could, but He leaves the choice in salvation to the libertarian free will of man through prevenient grace.
The Calvinist cannot see God ever giving up any of His sovereignty, even in the choice of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. The Arminian cannot see God, being loving, to ever control humans in their choices, or this results in God being the author and creator of sin. This chasm, as Dr. Olson plainly states, will never be brought together between the two sides. Which I completely agree.
The one place that I saw Dr.Read more ›
One reason Arminianism is misunderstood is the failure to distinguish between what Olson calls "Arminianism of the heart" and "Arminianism of the head". Both use the term, but the former is considered true, classical Arminianism in terms of Reformed, conservative theology. The latter, on the other hand, incorporates some naturalistic, liberal theology that's influenced by Enlightenment rationalism and has more in common with the older, rejected theologies of Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism. The term "Pelagianism" is derived from the theology of Pelagius (c. 354 - c. 420/440), an ascetic monk who affirmed human freedom but denied original sin, an inherited sinful nature from Adam.Read more ›
Olson contends that the heart of Arminianism is not the free will of man, but the goodness and grace of God. Contrary to some, he shows that Arminians have historically held (and still do hold) that believers are justified by grace through faith in Christ alone. He goes on to say that faith is instrumental to accessing the free gift of salvation, but that it is not the grounds of salvation (the ground of salvation is the blood of Christ).
Occasionally, Olson gets irritated with his contentious Calvinist critics. But he does a good job at working toward a rapprochement between the two camps. He concludes with a stirring appeal to fairness and love on both sides of the evangelical aisle. Way to go, Roger Olson!
The age old debate over Calvinism and Arminism continues to this day. Nearly 500 years after John Calvin and Jacob Arminius, we still have no pat answers. I have heard people say that they are neither Arminian or a Calvinist but I believe you will fall into some position whether you realize it or not. In fact, Dr. Olson makes a profound statement when he wrote, "I believe that even most people who call themselves Arminians are really semi-Pelagian" (p.10). And he goes on to add that some who call themselves Calvinist are not truly Calvinist.
This book seeks to do two things. First, Dr. Olson wishes to show the true history of Arminian theology. Too often Jacob Arminius is misunderstood by modern evangelicals. Calvinist often believe that Arminius believed in "works salvation" but he did not or that he did not believe in depravity but he did. In fact, Arminius believed in predestination and election but he differed with John Calvin and his followers over predestination being conditional or unconditional. Arminius believed in salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) and he believed that all of salvation was by God's grace!
The second half of this book exposes the reader to the errors often accused of Arminians.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excessively redundant, but thorough, with good historical links. A bit tedious for non-theologians.Published 9 days ago by David L. Hicks
If one is looking for a scriptural analysis of the gospel, then one had better stick to the simplicity of the Bible. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Stephen Bailey
This book was very repetitious and was akin to 1,000 ways to say the same thing over and over and over and over. He was condescending but fair, so I respect that.Published 8 months ago by Greg Bahnsen Burner
Well written and well thought out. There needs to be less attacking in this conversation though, and both sides are guilty. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Andrew Lobb
A must read for Calvinists and Arminians alike (and everyone in between).Published 13 months ago by Westovers
Really great questions & answer approach to seeing the differences between Arminianism and Calvinism.Published 14 months ago by Mike McCrary