3.16.2007

Quick Book Review: Arminian Theology

Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities is a readable theology book by Roger Olson meant to set the record straight on Arminianism.  It is not so much a defense of Arminianism meant to persuade people to become Arminians.  His intention is to clarify what Arminianism actually is, on issues like the sinfulnes of man, predestination, God's grace, soteriology, and so forth.  If those words mean nothing to you, you will find this book pretty boring.  Anyway - if you're interested in the whole Calvinism vs. Arminianism thing, or want to learn more about it, I highly suggest you read this book.  It is quite popular for people on both sides to caricature the other, and this book will give you a clear presentation of what Arminianism is.

I was surprised to read much of what I did, given the fact that much of what I had learned about Arminianism up to this point was from people quite hostile to it.  For example, before reading this book I assumed that all Arminians belived it was possible to lose your salvation if you didn't continue to do good works.  Many people, especially on the internet, like to equate Arminianism to heresy or Pelagianism.  This book does much to clear up such mischaracterizations of Arminianism and display its legitimate evangelical and even Reformed roots.  I hope more and more people on both sides are able to read it and become better educated on what Arminianism is.  Even if you disagree with it, it is important to read a declaration of Arminian Theology from an unapologetic, well-educated, well-informed, and irenic Arminian.  That way you can be sure you are actually disagreeing with Arminianism rather than condemning people for believing something you don't understand.

2 comments:

Brian Q said...

Hey, havent been able to check this page for ahwile. Just wanted to see what this book covers concerning the Synod of Dort in 1618-19 and the Remonstrance of 1610. Anyway, I'll look to pick it up for a read.

Jackson said...

Hey BQ. The book doesn't treat those in specific. Rather, Olson treats 10 "myths" about Arminianism, and as he deals with each one he quotes Arminius, Episcopius, and other influential Arminians from their own writings. It's pretty heavily footnoted with lots of sources, primary and otherwise. Hopefully you'll find it an interesting read. As I said, it is not so much an apologetic for Arminianism over Calvinism as it is a defense of Arminianism as a valid non-heretical option.