• Against Calvinism

  • Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology
  • By: Roger E. Olson
  • Narrated by: Maurice England
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (160 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $31.93

Buy for $31.93

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Calvinist theology has been debated and promoted for centuries. But is it a theology that should last? Roger Olson suggests that Calvinism, also commonly known as Reformed theology, holds an unwarranted place in our list of accepted theologies. In Against Calvinism, readers will find scholarly arguments explaining why Calvinist theology is incorrect and how it affects God's reputation.

Olson draws on a variety of sources, including Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience, to support his critique of Calvinism and the more historically rich, biblically faithful alternative theologies he proposes.Addressing what many evangelical Christians are concerned about today - so-called 'new Calvinism,' a movement embraced by a generation labeled as 'young, restless, Reformed' - Against Calvinism is the only book of its kind to offer objections from a non-Calvinist perspective to the current wave of Calvinism among Christian youth. As a companion to Michael Horton's For Calvinism, readers will be able to compare contrasting perspectives and form their own opinions on the merits and weaknesses of Calvinism.

©2011 Roger E. Olsen (P)2011 Zondervan

What listeners say about Against Calvinism

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    113
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    6
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    110
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    98
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    5

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

"I don't use a straw man"... (next page=straw man)

In the first two chapters, the author goes on and on about being fair, sensitive, and sympathetic to opposing view points, and not misrepresenting Reformed Theology with a straw man.
Within the second chapter he makes it clear that he really doesn't understand Reformed Theology, as he breaks out the straw man and proceeds to set it on fire.
Every book I've ever read by R.C. Sproul, John Piper, John MacArthur, ugh! all the books written by those who accurately and expertly hold to Reformed Theology, are filled from beginning to end with carefully studied and accurately interpreted and represented scripture to make the case for their beliefs. And it's quickly understood that God is obviously the center and purpose of all they believe and cherish.
In contrast, this author, rather than presenting and making his case from scripture to compare in parallel his beliefs with the Calvinist's, he makes his stand from that of a moral superiority (I have to save God's reputation, because if God is really and truly Sovereign then He created sin and is the author of evil) and shuts down any possibility of a fair discussion. It's clear very early in the book that it's basis is the same ol' same ol' lowest possible "christian" view of God, and the highest view and consequently central character, man.
There is basically nothing compelling about the author's views especially on Reformed Theology. If you're familiar at all with Reformed Theology then you will glean nothing from this book.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great Narrator, ok content.

The Narrator made this book enjoyable. However, the book was not very exegetical at all. There were few Scriptures dealt with, and those few were dealt with redundantly. The book was ok, a few good highlights and analogies, but for the length of the book I don't feel like I am walking away with much information.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great articulation

Olson explains in great detail the Biblical and logical inconsistencies with Calvinism. He also defends Arminianism well when needed. However, the focus is set on the errors of Calvinism. I recommend this to book to all Christians. Many of today's churches do not go into detail about doctrine. I think it is important to know what you believe and why. It is particularly important because of the injustice that Calvinism does to God's character. Olson does not seek to attack Calvinists but Calvinism. Good read.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Standard Arguments With Better Sources

It’s obvious that Roger Olson is well-read. I really appreciate that he reads Calvinist sources and quotes from them while analyzing them from his perspective. This is a well written book.

The problem is that, first, there are no new arguments here. Every argument is a standard argument against Calvinism, usually just expanded and explained thoroughly. Second, like most such arguments, what Calvinists actually believe is misrepresented because it’s misunderstood. Third, the fact that the counterpoints are so blatantly respond to with a general “this just isn’t so” attitude does nothing for his arguments against Calvinism when there’s no positive stance of his own given. His responses generally seem to be “Calvinists believe this, but God isn’t that way”.

I really want to read or listen to his Arminian Theology, though. I really enjoyed the narrator as well.

10/10 would recommend reading before reading For Calvinism.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Clear and easy to understand discussion on flaws and Calvinist doctrine.

The author provides a fairly high-level and easy to understand view of Calvinism and provides scriptural evidence to refute many of the doctrines essential for Calvinism to be true and correct.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Counterpoint Worth Reading

Let me say this first: Roger Olson has a very urgent, forceful way of writing. Though I've never met him personally, I can say with relative confidence that he is an incredibly passionate individual. This may turn many people away from this book thinking that he is arrogant (which he kinda is) or that he hates Calvinists (which he really doesn't).
This book poses a conceptual problem. While it is a great counterpoint to Michael Horton's For Calvinism, it does not stand on its own very well. This is because it is a negative apologetic; it is written for the purpose of poking holes in Calvinism and not to support Olson's view (Arminianism). This come across as Olson being vindictive and often uncaring. If one were to read Horton's companion book or even Olson's Arminian Theology (a great but challenging book) then one would see that Olson isn't writing out of pure spite, but out of a loving urgency and passion for the subject matter. Regardless, this is why I couldn't give it 5's across the board.
I do, however, think this was a phenomenal read and worth the >10 hours it would take for any serious thinker who wants to understand some of the limitations of Calvinism and the importance of individual discernment, thought, and study in the life of every Christian.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Must Read

The introduction was dry and I set the book aside for a couple months but because I couldn't find another arguments that criticized the theology in audio form, I gave it another shot. Though the introduction is dry, I still recommend covering it for contextual information of the writer and his qualifications. It quickly grabs the reader's interest in the meat of the book and uses sound logic.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Read!

First, the narrator did an excellent job. I wish he narrated all books on here. Past that, the book was well written, logical, easy to understand, with great historical references, and it was very scholarly. I enjoyed it and learned quite a bit.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Thoughtful Response to Calvanism

Worth the read if you want to hear an opposing view to Calvinism. Well laid out response that is done with respect to those with Calvanistic views.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyed every chapter!

Great book! Would recommend to both the Arminian and the Calvinist. It will help Calvinists understand valid objections against their doctrine.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Snoopy
  • Snoopy
  • 02-07-22

"Out of hell the Pelagian error!"

The book's title attracted me because it was both shocking and ironically predictably in this day of freewill evangelicalism. While the author Professor Roger Olson decries the shallow nature of many Evangelicals, he surprisingly does not attempt any serious exegesis on the major disputed passages (Ezekiel 18:3, Matthew 23:37, 2 Peter 3:9, etc.) The closest Olson comes is when he makes a passing comment on 1 Timothy 2:4 ("Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth") that the Greek of 1 Timothy 2:4 "cannot be interpreted any other way than as referring to every person without limit." Yes, Professor Olson, "all means all", but what "all" is in view in this passage? When I tell my wife to get "all the children to breakfast", she immediately understands that I'm referring to "all our children", not those of the neighbours. Likewise, the "all" of 1 Timothy 2:4 can be understood by the context as referring to "all" kinds of people. This is both a biblical and ancient understanding of the text. Augustine for example comments:

“...by ‘all men,’ the human race in all its varieties of rank and circumstances, —kings, subjects; noble, plebeian, high, low, learned, and unlearned; the sound in body, the feeble, the clever, the dull, the foolish, the rich, the poor, and those of middling circumstances; males, females, infants, boys, youths; young, middle-aged, and old men; of every tongue, of every fashion, of all arts, of all professions, with all the innumerable differences of will and conscience, and whatever else there is that makes a distinction among men.”

In summary, if you are looking for a deep biblical analysis of critical texts, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Professor Olson's book is basically a shallow emotional appeal that takes a trip through church history from the times of Calvin to modern Calvinists such as R. C. Sproul. It nauseatingly asks the same question about how a sovereign God is not responsible for the choices of His creation. Look no further Professor Olson, as Romans 9:21 answers your question emphatically. It is written:

"Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

Man makes real choices for which man alone is responsible, and yet God chose to create each of us and write human history in a manner where those real choices are exactly what God desired to happen. It's not a deep theological conundrum, but something that little children understand and accept when God humbles our hearts to remember that God and man are not equals on a level playing field.

On a side note, I was deeply disappointed to read the forward by "Reformed" theologian Michael Horton. Horton writes: "Calvinists should also feel sympathy for Arminians when they are falsely accused, for example, of being 'Pelagians' who deny grace in favor of works-righteousness." Hypo-Calvinists like Mr. Horton who accept Arminianism as a valid form of Christianity would do well to stop trying to tame serpents and instead learn from the Scriptures and the Reformed Confessions.

It is written "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:4.) To that Divine refutation of Arminianism we can add the words of the Reformed Confessions which condemn the Arminian view of universal atonement as speaking "contemptuously of the death of Christ, do in no wise acknowledge the most important fruit or benefit thereby gained, and bring again OUT OF HELL THE PELAGIAN ERROR" (The Canons of the Synod of Dordt, Second Head of Doctrine.)

It's small wonder why "Reformed" churches do not teach biblical reformed doctrine when we have "Calvinist" scholars writing "forwards" for books that promote the damnable heresy of Arminianism. I have little doubt that Horton would have urged Paul to sit down with the Galatian Judaizers to mutually learn from one another. To that the Apostle Paul writes "I would they were even cut off which trouble you." Cancer grows quickly Professor Horton, especially within Presbyterian Seminaries like Westminster.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for wes
  • wes
  • 01-08-19

99% spot on,

Explain calvinism really well and the fault in it and bet to have some some knowledge on calvinism first

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David Graieg
  • David Graieg
  • 08-24-20

some interesting points

I found the section on what is reformed theology best. The appendix that covers Molinism, only addresses Bruce Ware and isn't entirely accurate (since there are other varieties of Molinism. Olson conflates libertarian free will with the principal of alternative possibilities.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ryan
  • Ryan
  • 12-16-18

Warning

To all 5 Pointers, you will find a well argued and articulated book by Roger E. Olson

It will encourage you to question your 5 points and ask your self are these truly the doctrines of grace...


Be warned!
You may just find your self asking
“Why did I freely choose to read this book?”

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andrew Farag
  • Andrew Farag
  • 11-30-18

Well done Roger Olson

Great read. Excellent understanding of the topic and great research. All should read this book.