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Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities Hardcover – October 5, 2006
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"Arminian Theology is a much-needed book, addressing many of the myths and caricatures about Arminianism that plague and muddle many contemporary theological discussions. Whether we advocate a particular theological perspective or not, it is imperative that we as Christians describe other theological perspectives with integrity, fairly and accurately. Dr. Olson is to be complimented for this excellent contribution." (Steve Lemke, Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry, Fall 2013)
"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
Features & Benefits
* 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
Much of evangelical Christianity today doesn't pay much attention to theology. I grew up in a belief system that was an illogical mixture of semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism, and eternal security. My belief system only worked if I didn't think too hard, or pay close attention to the entirety of the Bible. Investigating the issue of Calvinism and Arminianism, I read both Olson's book as well as listened to a set of seminars by John Piper (a Calvinist) that differentiated between the two. I was surprised at how both defined Arminianism in virtually the same terms. In other words, if a strong Calvinist and Arminian give the same definition of Arminianism, it must be accurate. It was also pretty close to what I had believed my whole life. To make a long story short, much more reading was necessary for me to make up my mind between the two systems fit the Bible better.
So, why is a Calvinist recommending this book? It does an excellent job of fairly defining the issues involved. And, while I ended up disagreeing with the theological system it supports, I gained real respect for my Arminian brothers and sisters in Christ by reading it. My guess is that many in the Calvinist camp do not have a fair appreciation for authentic Arminianism - they will likely gain more respect for those they disagree with by reading this. Both sides could act more Christian by interacting with the actual theologies of the other camp as opposed to straw men often constructed by both sides.
One downside of the book is, in my mind, the later chapters dealt with "myths" about Arminianism I did not hold. To me, at least, these chapters were less useful. For many readers, I do not necessarily recommend reading the entire book, only those chapters where they suspect the myth may be true. For me, at least, the myths were mostly dealt with in order of importance. I liked enough about this book I'm not detracting a star over this issue.
My recommendation to anyone who doesn't fully understand Calvinism or Arminianism, or (worse!) thinks they are someplace in between, to read this, as well as a good introduction to Calvinism (Sam Storms "Chosen for Life" is short, approachable, and solid). Then, read through the New Testament and ask yourself which viewpoint better matches the plain meaning of scripture.
Olson's adroitly refutes each "myth" posited on Arminianism primarily by classical and contemporary Calvinists. (This theological genre is named for the early 16th century Dutch reform theologian and pastor, Jacob Arminius.)
Speaking from the "classical Arminian" camp Olson ranges over the vast surface of Arminius' beliefs: from human free will, to the sovereignty of God, to election and predestination, to Justification and the Atonement. By the end, Olson convincingly confirms that Arminius, as a Protestant, is significantly different from Calvinists, Catholics, and Anabaptists of his era and today. (Arminius seems to have appreciated Luther.)
Each chapter is helpfully composed and presented in the same way. Olson posses a "myth" (an untruth), rebuffs it, documents what Arminius himself say on the topic, and then presents various Arminian thinkers reflections on the theological issue. Episcopus, Wesley, Watson, Pope, Miley, Wiley, Theissen, Oden and many more over the past 400 years are variously considered and extensively quoted. The author poignantly recommends that Arminianism's critics would do well to study it before condemning it. Finally, he rightly challenges Arminians and their critics to work together for proclaiming the mission of Jesus Christ.
Olson's is a good read teaching much about theology, the via salutis, and God's love. Although somewhat technical this book is recommended to any with interest in various Christian doctrines (such as free will vs. predestination, irresistible vs. resistible grace, original sin, prevenient grace, imputed righteousness, forensic justification, penal substitutional atonement, etc.) Olson is a must read for all reform theologians, Arminians, and Calvinists.
Happy Reformation Day!
Most recent customer reviews
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave...Read more
Now I'm not so sure. Thank you Roger Olson.Read more