16 August 2011

Open Letter to Roger Olson

by Frank Turk
Dear Dr. Olson;

I thought I was going to be a fan of yours back when you published the level-headed IVP classic Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities in 2006. It helped me get over my own vestiges of cage-stage Calvinism, and it's a fine discussion of the Arminian theology. I like someone who puts a little of his own fat in the fire when it comes to explanation and argumentation, so I appreciated that really, what you wanted was to engage some of the daffier calvinist apologetics and counter-apologetics with some salt and vinegar, and I say good on you.

That, of course, doesn't finally persuade me that you have the better systematics or even approach to theology, church and evangelism, but I credit you for being a sound in-house adversary for what you believe.

Now, from there, you have sort of come apart. In 2007, you wrote Reformed and Always Reforming which essentially dumped the premise that theological conservatism is plausible as a contemporary system of belief. In 2009, you wrote your own book-length endorsement of the execrable The Shack which even Tim Challies panned (both your book, and The Shack). And a few weeks ago you bottomed out by appearing on Doug Pagitt's radio show to spend some time with him essentially doing to calvinists what you say they have been doing to others for at least a decade.

It was an unimpressive exchange as you and Pagitt essentially tittered at your own opinions of the psychology of the Young, Restless and Reformed movement, and simply asserted that there's nothing to it but immaturity. It's rather hilarious that, now that Doug is himself no longer a young man, he can position himself as the elder brother to these poor misguided sops and talk down to them for doing to his theology what he did to the theology of his elders back when he was their age -- with no sense of irony or self-deprecation.

But to listen to you dive into this as if it's any kind of balanced or even instructive approach to the differences between your stated views and the stated views of these young fellows is disappointing. It trivializes your previously-decent work and sets you on a path of obscurity along with Pagitt and his cronies at Solomon's Porch.

Now, here's what I think: I think you're a christian and a clever fellow who doesn't want to be a Calvinist -- but the only non-Calvinists you can find are the guys like Pagitt who think that even the term "evangelical" can mean anything you want it to mean, but who are also willing to tell people who believe the book of Romans preaches sin and forgiveness to English-speaking people that they have reduces the letter to 4 statements and a prayer.

If you want to be non-Calvinist, or even anti-Calvinist, I say super: have at it. You don't have to affirm every statement of the Westminster Confession to be a decent Christian. But when you start hanging out with guys like Doug Pagitt because you can't find any actual Christian friends to agree with you about guys like me, I wonder what exactly you're looking for from me. If my fault -- because I am one of these new Calvinists -- is that I want to define the faith in terms of one systematic theology only, is it a virtue to define the faith as anything which includes the word Jesus in it once in a while?

Is that Arminian theology? Does that do good to the reputation of God? It worries me that you might think so. If you do, please repent.

I hope this find you in good spirits and in God's good graces.








100 comments:

Chris Roberts said...

Six thumbs up.

I was introduced to Olson through Arminian Theology and, like you, was pleased by the person I found, even if I did not find his arguments compelling. But then I found his blog and what seemed to be a very different person.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Frank, do you have a link or a transcript?

donsands said...

Good challenge, as always.

"Doug Pagitt's radio show?"

He has a radio show?
I'd rather call Dr. Fraiser Crane.

Actually I would love to call Doug and ask him a few questions, I was just listening to Todd Friel last night, and he was talking about Tony Jones. So when I checked into Tony saying God is a she, I bumped into Doug. "Birds of a feather" you know.

Keep them letters going out Cent. Good job my brother.

Here's a scripture verse for you this morn: "Now to Him that is of power to strengthen you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began,
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all the nations for the obedience of faith:
To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen." -Paul, Romans 16:26-27

Robert Warren said...

Read his review of Boyd's book at Amazon from 2001 and you'll have difficulty taking him seriously on anything.

Frank Turk said...

Johnny:

Google still works. I just checked.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Yes indeed. I found the interview. You can go to YouTube and search for Doug Pagitt Roger Olson. It's a three parter.

I listened to the entire 35 minutes and it is really nothing like you describe here, Frank (I note that you offer no examples or transcript selections). Rather, the interview was a thoughtful and informed exchange. You characterize it as two guys who "essentially tittered" at the "psychology" of the YRR. Really? I was expecting to hear that throughout, but it's just not there.

Then you accuse Olson of "hanging out" with Pagitt, whatever that is supposed to mean. He was guest on a radio show! Hanging out? He wasn't even in the studio. And for that you play the "guilt by association" card? Not a good move.

You are much too sensitive to Calvinist criticism, Frank. I know you recognize the errors of your "tribe" but when someone else mentions them you jump into bulldog mode. This was not the right program to do that with.

There was one section that you could characterize as dealing with YRR "psychology," maybe 2 minutes of the total interview. Olson made a fair point, that Calvinism's structure and view of an all controlling God gives permission to some (esp. young men) to be likewise controlling in their own lives. I think that's an excellent observation. But Olson was quick to say that does not characterize the whole of Calvinism. Several times he mentions those Calvinists he CAN have a conversation with, and those he cannot because their rhetoric essentially excludes him from the start. (And one can read any of a number of TeamPyro comboxes that prove his point).

You know the latter is true of many of your cohorts, Frank. In fact, you and Phil have on occasion lectured some of your cousins over these matters, essentially making Olson's point. But because Olson makes it, this is somehow "disappointing" or "trivializing" his previous work. It's neither.

Frank Turk said...

Note to readers: Why not link to Doug Pagitt radio?

Because he doesn't deserve your attention. If you want to find him, you can find him. He wants to be found (not to say that he thinks he's lost, mind you). He's crying out for attention.

Frank Turk said...

Poor Johnny:

You really found none of this in the first half of the interview? Not a sliver?

So when Doug explicitly asks Dr. Olson why the Calvinistic trend is for young men only, and Dr. Olson says that it's about their own need certainty and power, and the look on Doug's face (thanks for the video!) is really glee that someone halfway credible will play this game with him, it's not there?

I think you watched different videos.

For the record, if you'd like to provide the transcript, I'd be pleased to go over it with you -- publicly even. Sadly, this weekend I was a father and a husband rather than a blogger.

I welcome your assistance.

Frank Turk said...

Also for the record: @pagitt has contacted me via twitter (on Aug 10, after my tweets) to say that I am exactly who he is talking about in that video -- exactly the kind of guy.

So I asked him: who exactly can be an evangelical, in his view?

His answer: "anyone who wants to be".

My reply: "So can someone who denies the bodily resurrection be an evangelical?"

His answer: Crickets.

What does that prove? probably nothing to Johnny. However, this post is to Dr. Olson, and I welcome a further discussion about his work, trajectory and views. The question of Doug Pagitt is closed as far as I'm concerned.

Mind it.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Um, Frank, did you notice your open letter was to Roger Olson? If you want to criticize Pagitt for his "smirk," fine. But not here. Don't reference "video" when it was only Olson's voice we heard. You seem to be transferring a Pagitt hostility over to the guest on his show.

And no, the "video" has only about 2 minutes of what you describe (did it pass your notice that I mentioned that "sliver"?). Find me more. Give me the minute references. I'll be more than happy to discuss specifics with you if you post them.

dac said...

Your open letter to Roger Olson is......you hang out with the wrong kind of people? ....... Some of your books are good and some are not?.....
repent?

ok.

DJP said...

I keep thinking it'd be great to have a reading-comprehension exam for commenters.

Frank Turk said...

Johnny:

Provide the transcript, and I will gladly parse it with you and for you.

That is: if the issue is lack of evidence, then let's go to the record. You bring the charge: you bring the evidence.

Elsewise, move on.

Frank Turk said...

DJP:

It will never work. My spelling and spell-checking is too poor.

Frank Turk said...

dac:

Please re-read the letter.

Rhology said...

Johnny Dialectic,

I listened to the entire 35 minutes and it is really nothing like you describe here, Frank

I disagree, Johnny. Frank captured it extremely well. It was a pitiful exchange, even more pitiful than Olson's decision to appear on Pagitt's show in the first place.

When I first heard of Olson about 2 years ago, I thought he was the Arminian I'd always thought had to exist but of whom I'd never found any evidence - one who could back up his arguments with solid exegesis and who would be solid in all other areas of theology.

Alas, my initial impression of him was far too kind. He's been on a tailspin this past year. It's sad and pathetic to watch.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Frank, your inability to produce evidence is showing. You have characterized the interview a certain way. You have brought forth the issue. You have written an open letter but with no backup in it. If that's what you want to stand by, fine.

My proof has been provided: the interview, which doesn't support your broad brush.

I'll go ahead and give you some counter evidence: At the 7 min. mark of pt. 3, Olson clearly distinguishes among Calvinists, those who seem to want this power to control (and you could name many of them, Frank), and others who are sincere and zealous, and he says he is all FOR that passion in theology. He is much fairer to Calvinism than you are to Olson in this letter.

You got anything else?

Just Jules said...

My familiarity with Olson stems solely from his blog and the interview you've referenced here. I've not read his book(s).

His blog is teeming with hostility, dare I say hatred, for Calvinists. He yokes himself with anyone/anything who holds his favorite enemy in contempt, including Open Theism.

Frank Turk said...

Provide the transcript, and we'll see whether there is evidence.

There is absolutely nothing unfair about that. Becuase I have a full-time job, and apparently you have something else that allows you to spend more time on this (you may be independently wealthy; you may be simpky free this week), I welcome your help.

But let's at leasst make sure we get my complaints right:

1. Olson does in this radio show what he says Calvinists have been doing to him and his for years.

2. The show itself is classic Doug Pagitt, and therefore far beneath a guy like Olson.

3. Olson's trajectory of theological associations is getting worse over time, and he should repent -- do better.

4. What he is asking of those "like me" now is a pretty big step off, given the example of his association with Doug Pagitt.

Have at it.

dac said...

The burden of proof is on the accuser Frank. You made the claim - you provide the proof.

The amusing thing, or not, is that this post is exactly what Roger complains about Calvinists doing. All accusation, no facts.

You have a nice day Frank. I have to figure out how to finance some renewable energy projects. Someone has to work.

Frank Turk said...

All I am asking for is a transcipt -- which I do not have time to provide.

I'm not saying I can't prove it: I am saying I cannot do the transcription.

is that really unfair -- to ask for help in providing the transcript? Really?

DJP said...

I am searching my memory in an effort to recall any meta on any blog on any subject where "dac" contributed a comment that actually added to the discussion, and I'm coming up blank.

So I'll be the heavy and just remind that we do have rules, we want actual discussions and not snipey snarkfests. So bring something beyond an "is not," or expect to see the Vanishing Comment phenomenon.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Once more: Where is your proof? I submit it's not there. Show me where I'm wrong. You listened to the same interview I did. Give me a reference.

1. Olson does in this radio show what he says Calvinists have been doing to him and his for years.

Denied. Be specific. Where? I've already shown you one section that is the exact opposite of your characterization.

2. The show itself is classic Doug Pagitt, and therefore far beneath a guy like Olson.

I don't know enough about Pagitt to comment, but most of the show he asked intelligent, substantive questions. We've already covered the "smirk" issue, which is not an Olson issue. That he was a guest on a radio show with a host you don't approve of doesn't prove anything. He went on to discuss his views so people could hear them. Does that mean he endorses everything Pagitt? Guilt by association is not an attractive feature, and in case you missed it, is proving Olson right.

3. Olson's trajectory of theological associations is getting worse over time, and he should repent -- do better.

Guilt by association gone mad. Will you be issuing an "approved Arminian associations" list? Again, proving Olson's point in the interview. Did you understand his distinction between "center" focused evangelicalism and "boundary" focused? You are the latter. Olson is not. He is NOT excluding Calvinism from the "tent" of evangelicalism. Thus, your point #1 is shown again to be invalid, untrue, unsupported. (Unless, of course, you can provide a specific example). And to issue a call for repentance based on some phantom "trajectory" of associations is that very "power" thing Olson mentioned. Does it please you to be his exhibit?

4. What he is asking of those "like me" now is a pretty big step off, given the example of his association with Doug Pagitt.

So being interviewed on a radio show amounts to "hanging out" and "association".

I love irony. This exchange is quickly providing a rich repast of proving Olson's points.

Just Jules said...

May I ask, is this going to be an all-day Johnny thread?

DJP said...

Is repeating nothing, but with numbers, still repeating nothing?

Johnny Dialectic said...

I strongly encourage any commenter to listen to the complete interview, and help Frank out by providing the time stamps that back up the characterizations in this open letter. Please be specific, though, and be sure to connect the example to something Frank asserts in the letter.

DJP said...

Ah, listen to it. Like Rhology did, whereupon he wrote:

I disagree, Johnny. Frank captured it extremely well. It was a pitiful exchange, even more pitiful than Olson's decision to appear on Pagitt's show in the first place.

LanternBright said...

At the risk of opening up a rabbit trail (though Frank DID invite further discussion of Olson and his trajectory), I've been at a loss for a long time to explain why everyone's so enamored of Myths and Realities--I found it to be a muddled, shallow piece of self-serving tripe. He waffles back and forth on his stated goal for the book--is it a historical survey of what Arminians have actually believed, or a defense of those beliefs? If it's the former, then fine (though one would hope he'd at least get his source material right when he gripes about how Calvinists have misrepresented and maligned Arminian theology)...if it's the latter, then why the deliberate refusal to engage Scripture on any point at all?

Those things, plus such repeated declarations about open theism being a "legitimate evangelical theological option" (presumably for no other reason than because Roger Olson says it is, and presumably also because we now have a smorgasbord of equally valid options to choose from instead of the objective writ of Scripture), slanders against Piper's understanding of God's wrath (because Olson doesn't like thinking about those things when disasters strike), dismissing critiques of Love Wins out of hand (because most of the people complaining are the YRRs that Olson disdains), etc....I've been deeply unimpressed for Olson for some time now, and really didn't find this shocking at all.

Johnny Dialectic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just Jules said...

Johnny...it's not a disinvite (this ain't my house). I'm just curious to know if you'll be restating the same thing repeatedly in this thread.

Johnny Dialectic said...

I decided to delete my last comment. It's overly snarky and I apologize. You boys do bring out the Arminian bulldog in me sometimes. I realize I'm a guest here.

Jules, you're right. I think I've pretty much covered everything, so I'll leave it at that.

Just Jules said...

Olson's actions remind me of the U.S. during the Cold War, with it's willingness to side with any government, including dictatorships, as long as they opposed Communism.

Jon said...

Johnny:

I understand that you're arminian and need to defend your homeboy, but do you find nothing disturbing about the simple fact that Olsen would go on a show with DOUG PAGITT?!

Frank Turk said...

What I find amusing is that I am only asking for the transcript so that I can highlight which parts substantiate my statements -- and that is being transmogrified into some sort of tasking out of finding my evidence for me.

Get me a transcript of part 1 of the interview, and I'll annotate it for the purpose of substantiating my statements.

Just Jules said...

I have a little free time this morning, Frank. I'll send a transcript to you shortly.

Rhology said...

do you find nothing disturbing about the simple fact that Olsen would go on a show with DOUG PAGITT?!

And don't protest at the guilt by association. Listen to the interview; it's far from just happening to be on the same show at the same time with Pagitt.

DJP said...

Anyone else noticing a parallel between Driscoll/"continuationism" supporters earlier this week and Olson/Arminian supporters? I think I put it in five words in that former meta.

Frank Turk said...

Jules:

you're a winner. :-) Thanks for your help.

Tom Chantry said...

Dan,

That meta went to 270 comments. You'll have to substantiate. Give specifics. Time stamps and all. Someone get Dan a transcript of that meta! Oh, wait...

donsands said...

Open Theism? Man, it's been a while since I ran into that.

I wonder, Johnny D, are you open to Open Theism?

I think this stays within the boundaries of what we are discussing here, doesn't it?. If not, then thou may deleteth my comment.

Robert said...

I'm not trying to be ungracious, but it seems like the opposition to Frank's letter are clinging to idols, whether the idol be Arminianism or Olson himself.

Olson saying that people like Calvinism because it makes us feel like we can control things because God is in control of everything is ridiculous. I can't begin to make sense of how he comes up with that thought.

Coram Deo said...

Unfortunately it's an even worse picture for Olson than Frank paints here.

If anyone is interested in what Olson's theology really looks like just go to Triablogue and search him.

Steve Hays has done a yeoman's work of exposing Olson's degradation.

In Christ,
CD

stratagem said...

Open Theism? What is that? Sounds like a disease or something that a programmer would make up if he suddenly found himself a Theologian.

Robert Warren said...

Stratagem: Open Theism? Sounds like...something that a programmer would make up if he suddenly found himself a Theologian

Yes, Open Theism is a view of God created in the General Public License. A module here, a module there...

Solameanie said...

I'm still trying to understand Pagitt's answer to Frank i.e. "Crickets." What in the name of Scheherazade is that supposed to mean?

But in retrospect, my first mistake was probably trying to make any sense out of Pagitt at all. After reading him, William Faulkner's "stream of consciousness" style is like reading Dick and Jane.

Matt Aznoe said...

Frank, you are getting into dangerous ground here.

"I have applied these things to myself and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, so that through us you may learn 'not to go beyond what is written,' so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other." (1 Corinthians 4:6)

If Roger Olson has committed a sin clearly laid out in scripture, then you have reason to call for repentance. But what I see in this column lacks any scriptural basis on which to judge but rather an attempt to judge the heart. As Paul said above that passage:

"So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts." (1 Corinthians 4:5)

Let us stick to the Word of God. Anything else will just lead to endless and pointless arguments over opinion and speculation that will divide and harm the Church, not build up our brothers and sisters.

(This passage was a sobering reminder to me when I read through it recently. It is so easy to get wrapped up in these discussions, but in the end, they lead us away from God and not into closer fellowship.)

The Seeking Disciple said...

I want to say as an Arminian that Roger Olson does not speak for all Arminians on all issues. This would be like saying that Mark Driscoll speaks for Calvinists. I do agree with his book Arminian Theology and I did enjoy his book on Church history but I have been equally on the side of my Calvinist brothers and sisters when it comes to issues such as inerrancy and open theism. Roger Olson may claim to be speaking as an Arminian on many issues but he does not speak for us all.

Sir Brass said...

Hey, Johnny, around here and where I was raised, there's a saying about people who bring charges (aka, you):

Either put up or shut up.

Quit trying to deflect by insisting that the onus is on anyone other than you to back up your claim that Frank was wrong (that is what you're insisting... so prove it).

Frank, good open letter. Keep it up :).

greglong said...

Matt Aznoe,

Are you saying that Frank's heart in writing this letter was to judge Olson's heart?

donsands said...

"Is that Arminian theology? Does that do good to the reputation of God? It worries me that you might think so. If you do, please repent.

I hope this find you in good spirits and in God's good graces."-Frank
Hey Matt A,
So you are judging Frank that this is a judgmental statement?

Can you espalin that please?

bassicallymike said...

Solameanie said....I'm still trying to understand Pagitt's answer to Frank i.e. "Crickets." What in the name of Scheherazade is that supposed to mean?


Son, I say son, das the sound of silence on soft summer night in da south, son, nuttin but crickets. </Foghorn Leghorn

Matt Aznoe said...

I will let the scriptures speak for themselves to whom they will as the Spirit wills. They are a good reminder to us all.

DJP said...

IOW "bingo."

Solameanie said...

Thanks, Basicallymike....

Perhaps Mr. Pagitt was enjoying a mint julep on his front veranda while typing about crickets. I don't know if one of them might be named "Jiminy."

PuritanReformed said...

This is a minor point, but I don't see how Turk's glowing remarks about Olsen's book, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, can square with the "official" Pyromaniacs critique of that same book:
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2006/11/calvinists-in-hands-of-angry-arminian.html
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2006/11/more-calvinists-in-hands-of-angry.html
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2006/11/arminianism-semi-pelagianism.html

Halcyon said...

Frank:

I'm glad to see your open letters stirring the waters again. I was beginning to worry that you were no longer a menace that must be stopped. 8^)

For the record, Pagitt is a tool, I don't know who Olson is, and I like Johnny Dialectic (though his self-admitted bulldogishness can get him into trouble).

Carry on.

THEOparadox said...

I've followed Olson's blog since he started writing it. It's been educational, and I like him as a person.

Theologically, however, I agree with Chris Roberts (see the very first comment on this thread) and Rhology, who said:

I thought he was the Arminian I'd always thought had to exist but of whom I'd never found any evidence - one who could back up his arguments with solid exegesis and who would be solid in all other areas of theology.

From all I've seen, The Seeking Disciple IS that Arminian. It's just too bad he doesn't publish 4 books per year and have Olson's platform.

Dr. Olson on his blog has defended (but not necessarily agreed with) everything from Open Theism to Rob Bell to Clark Pinnock to the Emergent Church. He says Jurgen Moltmann (who, according to Olson, is an Open Theist) is a strong influence on him. I found that disheartening.

He hates being labeled "liberal" and decries the idea of the slippery slope, but in my observation and by "common sense" definitions, Olson typifies both.

Good article, Frank.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Ouch, I've been Brassed! But you can't shift the burden with rhetoric. Frank mischaracterized the interview and provided NADA on specifics. I asked for some. Or does proof only go one way in Calvinist circles?

If you read through my comments, you'll see some specific references there. How then do you drop a "put up or shut up" bomb? Wow.

Here are some more things I mark:

At At 9:08 of Pt. 1, Olson says he DOES NOT fault the Calvinist leaders who have stepped in to fill the void that evangelicalism has had over the last 25 years.

At 2:03 of Part 2, Olson makes his main point. He sees post conservative evangelicalism. "Big Tent."

Part 3, SOME Calvinist spokespersons are willing to say sociologically there are other evangelicals, but theologically they are exclusive.

Out of 35 minutes, there is nothing unfair about any of Olson's observations (only very thin skinned Calvinists will howl).

Yet Frank described the entire show as you and Pagitt essentially tittered at your own opinions of the psychology of the Young, Restless and Reformed movement, and simply asserted that there's nothing to it but immaturity.

Frank has already had to admit that he was referring to Pagitt on video, not Olson, so that seems a bit of a broad brush.

And I've shown that Olson does NOT say there is nothing to it "but immaturity." He clearly distinguishes responsible and even zealous theology from one stripe that wants to be virulently exclusive.

So I've offered proof that Frank's characterization of the show misses the mark. With specifics.

Now it's your turn!

Meanwhile, I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my day as an MSA: Mature, Stable and Arminian.

threegirldad said...

PuritanReformed:I don't see how Turk's glowing remarks about Olsen's book, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, can square with the "official" Pyromaniacs critique of that same book...

Official in what sense? You pointed to a three-part series authored by a guest blogger. And even if Phil or Dan had authored it, there's still the disclaimer at the bottom of this blog's main page:

"The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of all contributors. Each individual is responsible for the facts and opinions contained in his posts. Generally, we agree. But not always."

ZSB said...

"You don't have to affirm every statement of the Westminster Confession to be a decent Christian."

You're going to get yourself excommunicated from The Club. Or even exiled. If you do, Gut Check will set up a refugee camp for you. BTW, how can no fewer than three commenters miss that your beef was not with the fact that he was ON the show, but what he said (and didn't say) whilst on it. If I were to join them in throwing logic out the window, I guess I'd call you a hypocrite because both you and Pagitt have been interviewed on fftf. Then, I'd just pretend not to understand your answer, and claim victory! HUZZAH!!!

BTW, the 29th approaches. Are we keeping the rendezvous secret from any Christian celebrities this time? I have to admit, the secrecy factor made it much more fun...

THEOparadox said...

I forgot to mention this in my previous comment:

I listened to the whole interview a few days ago, and I agree with Frank's analysis. It was an anti-Calvinist glee club.

Robert said...

Johnny,

Look at my comment from 8:10...I address only one of the many comments that Olson made that disturbed me. Can you address that one?

Just Jules said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just Jules said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

I believe Olson showed his commonality with Pagitt in this interview (e.g. bounded/centered set). How would Olson define "Gospel"?

JackW said...

MSA? One out of three at best.

Robert said...

I am guessing MSA is just a clever counter to YRR. The problem is that he is at the wrong site if he is trying to rage against the YRR. He does have the A vs. R going for him, though, I guess...

donsands said...

"I will let the scriptures speak for themselves..." Matt A

I wish I'd said that, man.

Meanie, you cracketh me up brother. Stay witty my friend, it's what you do.

Eric said...

Johnny,

MSA or OSA (Old Stubborn Arminian)?

;)

More seriously, I think the quote provided by Jules says quite a bit. Could it be that you don't see the things that Frank and others see because you mostly agree with what Olson and Paggitt are saying?

Eric said...

"Quite frankly, this sounds more like an episode of Dr. Phil"

...with a dash of Frued thrown in.

"Next on Paggitt radio, we learn from Dr. Olson why it is that complementarians hate their mothers (and subsequently their wives) so much...stick around for the fun."

wv: fallaci

Frank Turk said...

McAnzone:

Here's what I said:

[QUOTE]
If my fault -- because I am one of these new Calvinists -- is that I want to define the faith in terms of one systematic theology only, is it a virtue to define the faith as anything which includes the word Jesus in it once in a while?

... It worries me that you might think so. If you do, please repent.
[/QUOTE]

I stand by it both as brotherly and as theologically sound. Definiting false theology as valid theology is a sin, and anyone doing that or expecting others to do it needs to repent.

Frank Turk said...

Zach:

With bells on. Quiet, secret bells, but bells.

I may bring the portable recorder for laughs.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Robert, thanks for the question.

Olson offered a conjecture to a Pagitt question about why certain young Calvinists act in a certain manner (a manner which, BTW, Phil and Frank have alluded to as being untoward, just for the record).

His opinion is that the Calvinist view of an all determinant God might give leave to young men with that fighting spirit to act the same, controlling way. I think that is a valid point. Having once been young and fightin' myself, and having observed human life, it is very much a possible explanation for some of the ungodly behavior we see in certain Calvinist gadflies.

And, of course, that took up about one minute of radio time.

Johnny
card carrying MSA

dac said...

djp said

I am searching my memory in an effort to recall any meta on any blog on any subject where "dac" contributed a comment that actually added to the discussion, and I'm coming up blank.

So I'll be the heavy and just remind that we do have rules, we want actual discussions and not snipey snarkfests. So bring something beyond an "is not," or expect to see the Vanishing Comment phenomenon.


nice djp - your ad hominem argument also proves Roger Olson point.

But to actually respond your ever so snide little dig, actually yes, on this blog, by the big man himself. You thanked me for pointing out he had been hoodwinked by some other hanger on who had created a blog that Phil took for some emergent hokum.

but let me get your response for you - "well sure, even a stopped clock is right twice a day" There you go

Frank Turk said...

Oh yeah - see: if I say something like this --

[QUOTE]
that's the appeal of Calvinism to many people, and there've been some really loud, notable personalities among evangelicals who've really raised their voices to say that in the last 25 years with tremendous success, especially among young men in their late teens and in twenties. I've been tempted to call it testosterone theology because it is so popular among young men. I think the reason is because it gives an idea of God as very powerful, as very controlling, as um, I almost want to say manipulative and from my view it is, but I don't think that's necessarily what the young men who adopt it would
say, but it does give them permission, in my opinion, it gives them permission to be that way.
[/QUOTE]

And that's just conjecture.

But DJP says that DAC has in 7 years never once enhanced a comment thread he has participated in, and that's ad-hom.

I'm sure that's right. Good thing we straightened that out because the next thing DAC was going to say was going to be that we have to prove it. We don't have to prove Olson's statement above -- but DAC's ability to enhance a conversation in a blog comment thread? Forensics only will carry the day.

Man, I miss the clown function of haloscan ...

donsands said...

"...especially among young men in their late teens and in twenties."

What? My goodness this Dr. Olson says this kind of stuff?

God is sovereign. God is a merciful and loving God. And God is a God with a white-hot wrath against sinners.
Most reformed Christinas I know don't abuse this truth, but simply bow their head, and heart, to a sovereign holy God, who loves them in spite of who they are. And they desire to see Him glorified in more and more sinners coming to the Cross for the forgiveness of their sins, and so rejoice with joy unspeakable of their Lord Jesus.

And sure our flesh, and brain, gets in the way at times, just as it does for the teenage and twenty year old non-reformed.

Sorry if this is a rabbit path.

Gal. 6:14

mike said...

i read often, and even find value (often) in the comments. one of the reasons i come by as often as i can is that i have some level of respect for the blog administrators, and many of the usual readers.
but it seems that there are commenters who for whatever reason come here simply because they do not like the bloggers or their theology, and either just want to say "i still don't like that guy" or in hopes of getting in a quick ankle bite.
i don't for the life of me understand it. i do not like shell fish. i understand that it is the pinnacle of fine dining for some, but not me, i do not ever drop by the crawdad bloggers to tweak their noses. i just don't have the free time available to constantly spend it mucking about in things i find repugnant.
if this is you, may i respectfully suggest that you abandon that which you disdain, find something that you find lovely, and pursue that. you and those who come here on purpose, will probably both be enriched.

the phantom of the bookstore said...

" I am searching my memory in an effort to recall any meta on any blog on any subject where "dac" contributed a comment that actually added to the discussion, and I'm coming up blank."

I actually felt guilty after reading this.

Lord, is it I???

Robert said...

Johnny,

I'd say that you, Olson, and Pagitt have a serious misunderstanding of the doctrines of grace if you think that believing in and living by them promotes the idea that we control things because God does. I find it quite ironic that Arminians are trying to say that Calvinists follow their theology because they like to have control. I'd say that argument sways a lot harder in the opposite direction and maybe they should examine who has control in their own theology before throwing that argument out there.

THEOparadox said...

Robert,

Triple AMEN to your last comment! Their logic just doesn't hold. It's almost laughable.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Robert, remember that you Calvinists like to assert how sinful you are (every evangelical believes in the struggle with sin, but Calvinists, today especially, emphasize it). If that is so, why can't you accept the fact that some of your cousins (and that's all that was asserted) might be behaving with misguided motives? Indeed, if Phil and Frank castigate them for the same behaviors Olson criticizes, why is it so off the mark to think those behaviors might be sourced back to the Adamic nature?

Or are you saying 100% of all Calvinists are perfectly sanctified, pure, and see everything (including themselves) through a glass clearly?

There seems to be a bit of schismatic thinking going on.

Yes, theology has consequences. Your view of God is going to affect how you act and think. Why is it that (as Phil and John Piper, et al. have admitted) so many Calvinists have this reputation as being nasty, brutish and snort? It's a perfectly inductive argument for those outside Calvinism to make the same observation Olson did. Again, not for all Calvinists by any means. But if you deny it could happen to some you are, methinks, protesting way too much.

On the Arminian side, I readily admit that some who have gone emergent or to Open Theism have done so with motives that need to be examined as well. Sometimes it's a reaction against childhood church experiences, etc.

IOW, we are fallen creatures and can have reactions all over the map. That you would deny this only in your case seems odd.

Matt Aznoe said...

Robert,

You said,

"I'd say that argument sways a lot harder in the opposite direction and maybe they should examine who has control in their own theology before throwing that argument out there."

Actually, I have found his assertion to be fairly accurate, and when you think about it, it makes sense. In life, we tend to imitate that which we admire, so followers of God will imitate God according to their understanding of Him. For many Calvinists, God is seen as more controlling and dominant (election, irresistable grace), so they will imitate Him (or their perception of Him) in being controlling and dominant. Many Arminians, on the other hand, view God as permissive and forgiving, so in their imitation of Him, they will tend to live and let live because after all, God is compassionate, forgiving, and slow to anger.

Obviously there are exceptions to Olson's assertion, but it is true enough in general for Olson to say what he said. That may not be how you view God, but for many young Calvinists, it is. It is worth at least a moment's consideration.

We are told to imitate Christ, so we should seek to emulate (by the power of God's Spirit) His holiness, His humility, and His grace in equal measure.

Robert said...

Johnny,

When did I say that any Calvinist is perfect in knowledge? And I'm sorry, but Olson is taking aim at a wide group, not just some narrow little cross-section. In fact, it sounds as if he believes that Calvinists use this type of desire for control to convince others to join the cause. I'm sorry, but Romans 3:10-18, Ephesians 1:3-6, 2:1-10, John 3:3-8, and a whole host of other verses show me that I definitely don't have the power and control over my spiritual life (let alone physical).

And I have never made a claim that any person outside of Christ has perfect knowledge.

And the fact that no person is perfect until they are glorified in the presence of Christ gives us the reason for the nastiness, brutishness, and snortiness that you describe. It also gives us the reason for false offence being taken by some on both sides.

You are putting words into my mouth or just running wild with assumptions. Just the same as Olson does by assuming that people think Calvinism is cool because they think they should exercise control of things, just as God does.

Robert said...

Matt,

"For many Calvinists, God is seen as more controlling and dominant (election, irresistable grace), so they will imitate Him (or their perception of Him) in being controlling and dominant. Many Arminians, on the other hand, view God as permissive and forgiving, so in their imitation of Him, they will tend to live and let live because after all, God is compassionate, forgiving, and slow to anger."

Seriously? So a person who believes that they are totally depraved and can not save themselves somehow thinks that because God chose to show them grace and mercy (through salvation) that they should be able to exercise the same type of control that God has (I am supposing in some limited fashion)? You think that a person who really finds him/herself to be without the capability to even seek after God on their own will see fit to imitate God by being controlling and dominant? That is the natural reaction? I'll just say that I disagree with you on that one.

And you think that to live and let live is an admirable thing, why? I shouldn't want to see anybody perish in their sin, so I should be delivering the Gospel to everybody that I can. I can't force them to change...God does that work. At least, that is the Calvinist view.

I am more worried about the charismatic tendencies in the younger segment of the Calvinist/reformed movement than I am about people thinking they can rule and cdominate other Christians.

Just Jules said...

Who said this? Did someone actually say this?

"Many Arminians, on the other hand, view God as permissive and forgiving, so in their imitation of Him, they will tend to live and let live because after all, God is compassionate, forgiving, and slow to anger."

Excuse me, but which god are you worshipping?

Matt Aznoe said...

Robert,

You misunderstand my point. I am not saying that the view of Calvinism is accurate or complete. It isn't. But I have seen many young people latch onto the power and control of God without really coming to terms with what that should say about their humility.

And no, I am not condoning the Arminian tendency at all. I was merely pointing out how both sides can lead to wrong actions and thoughts when taken to their extremes. God is forgiving and compassionate and slow to anger, but He is also holy and righteous. (He is sovereign, but I wonder if we truly understand what that means.)

I had hoped that my last paragraph would have clarified that. I guess I need to keep working on this communication thing.

I am neither a Calvinist or an Arminian. I find myself somewhere between the two and far from both of the extremes. I find that as people from both sides pull closer to God and to scripture, they start to sound a lot alike.

Johnny Dialectic said...

So Robert, you're saying it's not possible that the observation could apply in any case? Or is your issue how wide such cases may be?

Just trying to understand your point.

Robert said...

Johnny,

I'd say it could apply...just not as widely as Olson makes it seem by how casual his remark is. He makes it seem like this is just some common thing that happens and attracts people to Calvinism.

Johnny Dialectic said...

OK, Robert, that's a fair point. Thanks.

Jugulum said...

Robert, Johnny, and Matt:

In other words, our fallen nature can latch onto a distorted version of the simplest, most God-glorifying truth, and twist it to our own prideful ends?

If only Olson had prefaced his remark like that.

Robert said...

Jug,

If only...but that would mean that he'd have to humbly admit that his camp has some bad apples. And that wasn't the purpose of his little talk with Pagitt

Johnny Dialectic said...

Robert, now you're being unfair again. He's on a radio show doing an interview. He's responding to questions, not cross-examination. He would certainly admonish those in his own camp who are off base (to mix a metaphor). But this was about his book coming out, Against Calvinism.

You can, in fact, see a fairmindedness here that seems to be lacking in Frank's letter and the discussion following.

Robert said...

Johnny,

I think my main issue with this talk has more to do with Pagitt. The problem is that Olson should have known better. Pagitt is sitting there like a kid in a candy store just eyeing every response and getting more giddy by the minute. I could say this would be akin to Piper being interviewed by Benny Hinn about being charismatic...although I think that is being rather uncharitable to Piper.

Matt Aznoe said...

Jugulum, that pretty much sums it up.

Nelson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nelson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nelson said...

Hi Frank,

I just listened to the conversation between Pagitt and Dr. Olson and I'm not clear regarding what your problem is with it. Is it that Dr. Olson had a discussion misrepresenting Calvinism or that he had a conversation with a person whom you, so it seems, highly dislike?

In any case, I saw nothing offensive in the conversation, at least, nothing that reflects your complaints.

You stated if it is your fault that you “want to define the faith in terms of one systematic theology only".

From my perspective, there is no problem with someone defining his (and we are talking about professed believers in Christ) faith in such terms; the problem - as noted in the radio program - is excluding others, especially Arminians, as being Christians and describing their theological views as heretical and branding them as heretics.

I respectfully submit that your "open letter" is not only an inaccurate rebuttal of Dr. Olson's assertions but just plain whining.

Frank Turk said...

Nelson:

And who does that? Can you name one person?

OK -- after coming up with an empty list of people (for example, the calvinist preacher in MN which they tried not to name) who they imply do this but in fact don't, what should those of us hereby slandered do with our concerns?

Frank Turk said...

BTW, I have enjoyed hearing the passes given to Pagitt & Olson and then not given to Calvinists of all stripes. Very balanced stuff.

Not at all like the watchbloggers.

Frank Turk said...

Long week, but I have finally gotten around to annotating the Transcript for the forensic Arminians.

Find the transcript and the annotations here