The Big Ugly of Calvinism

Roger Olson:

And my argument comes back all the time to the character of God. To me that is the main issue. What kind of God is it that we find in the Bible, that we read about; and if God is not ultimately revealed in His character, in Jesus Christ, then I don’t know what Jesus Christ was for, other than just to die for our sins. But it seems like The Gospels and Paul make Jesus Christ also important for other reasons: to show us the character of God, to identify who God is for us.

And Jesus, I point out to them, wept over Jerusalem’s rejection of Him. Why in the world, would he, as God, weep over their rejection of him if their rejection of him was predestined, foreordained by God for His glory? So, to me, Calvinism gets tied up into conundrums, paradoxes that it really can’t relieve. And a major one is, that if God is, as John Piper says, “the one who designs, ordains, and governs everything; including evil, including heresy, including calamities and disasters of all kinds; sin, and even sin. If God is the one who designed it, foreordained it, and governs it for His glory, then why regret it? Why cry over it? Why I think it’s bad if it glorifies Him, then it’s really good. And so if I were a Calvinist, I would have to think that things like heresy and sin and even genocide and so forth were somehow a part of a plan of God, that’s all for the good, and therefore that would change my whole attitude towards those things. And I’m not saying that’s the way all Calvinists think it out and feel it out, but that is the way I would have to, being what I think, being a pretty rational, logical person.

And then they say to me, “well, you can’t be that way. You can’t use reason on God. You can’t use human reason and put it on God.” Well, you know, God has given us a reasonable revelation of Himself in scripture, and He’s given us the image of God as a reflection of Himself. I believe in logos theology, that there is a logos of reason that connects us with God, and if we are using our God-given reason, at it’s best, healed by His grace and mercy, then it is a tool in theology and we to be reasonable and not go around totally contradicting ourselves all the time. To me it is a contradiction to say sin is really truly wrong and evil and turn right around and say, but a good God ordained it for His glory. That’s a contradiction.

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