Roger Olsen, in a recent interview with Faithlife Today, spoke about a book he contributed to called The Four Views of the Spectrum of Evangelicalism. In the interview he explains why he disagrees with Calvinism. There’s a video clip if you click on the link below. His main argument is basically that it is a 5th century invention of Augustine (which is true). Of course you will then have staunch Calvinists exclaim that it is not Augustine that Olsen argues against but it is against Paul and even Jesus Himself that Olsen has the problem with! Happily ignorant of the fact that Calvinism is only one possible interpretation of the Bible and quite a late one at that too.
Yet Calvinism today is gaining rapid acceptance among Evangelicals. Why? I believe, though I have no data to back it up, it’s just an personal observation, that it’s because Calvinism is aggressively logical in its approach to theology. It takes much of its vigor from Catholic Scholasticism I believe. Even though most of its major proponents would argue strongly against the very theologians that gave it its backbone. I mean Augustine believed in Baptismal Regeneration for goodness sake! I personally believe at some point the theist must suspend logic, but once that is done and faith is secured the believer can then go about amassing a great many logical arguments in support of an illogical argument. This, I believe, is an argument from a false premise.

So we have major names of Evangelicalism both past and present that defend Calvinism as Biblical and not only that but as the Gospel itself! I quote “I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.” Click here for the whole sermon

Yes, Charles Spurgeon, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards and more recently John McArthur and James White among others, not only proclaim Evangelicalism as historic orthodoxy, but Calvinism in particular as the Gospel itself. And while most of these types are willing to admit non-Calvinist Evangelicals are saved because they accept the doctrine of faith in Christ alone apart from works, they will not allow the same to be said of Catholics who accept works (including baptism and the Eucharist) as a necessary component of the salvation process. For most Evangelicals salvation is not a process. It is a one time event. Even then, some Calvinists, apparently including Spurgeon himself, believed that Evangelical “Arminianists” were not under the true Gospel and thus not saved. Spurgeon’s above quote in more context is very revealing.

“What is the heresy of Rome, but the addition of something to the perfect merits of Jesus Christ—the bringing in of the works of the flesh, to assist in our justification? And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.”Charles_Haddon_Spurgeon_by_Alexander_Melville

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