Paul's Passing Thoughts

Roger Olson, Bikers, Calvinists, and Arminians: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 22, 2014

Olson“EXACTLY like Calvinists, Olson decries the Christian message of ‘Do, do, do, do,’ while unwittingly propagating the false gospel of keeping ourselves saved by doing nothing. Making sure that we don’t do anything is in fact doing something while begging the question: why is it so important that we continue to do the same thing that originally saved us lest it be a false gospel?”

“Be not deceived: antinomianism is defined by an aversion to the law in sanctification. Antinomianism is defined by ‘one way love’… Be not deceived by the philosopher kings of the institutional church, or simply ‘church.’ When they decry ‘Do, do, do do,’ they are really decrying, ‘Love, love, love, love.’”    

There is one reason and one reason only why New Calvinism has completely taken over the institutional church; fundamentally, Protestantism has always been predicated by weak sanctification because of its foundational beliefs in regard to justification. In other words, our functional sanctification is the true indicator of what we believe about justification. And in Protestantism, that has never changed. Therefore, the institutional church has always been primed for a return to the original article.

In the same way, all outlaw biker clubs should unite into one happy family; after all, they all believe in hedonism by unfettered lust alone. Why quibble about the best way to rob a liquor store or beat your “biker bitch”? Those are matters of hedonology. If I am not mistaken, a famous biker once said…

In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.

However, bikers wouldn’t let some Protestant sins be named among them once; e.g., pedophilia. One biker club has even formed an effective child abuse advocacy program where they support victims through the legal process and accompany them when they testify in court. This is in stark contrast to Protestants, like their Catholic kin, who defend the pedophiles and blame the victims. Pedophiles have to be isolated in prison, but among Protestants they find that good old fashioned “grace.” While many Neo-Calvinists tacitly support ISIS, biker clubs in Europe have joined the Kurds in fighting ISIS on the ground in Iraq. So, a unification of outlaw biker clubs and Protestantism is unlikely—the bikers wouldn’t have them, but there is still hope for the unification of Protestant factions and even the Catholic Church that spawned them.

Roger Olson, the Mr. Rogers of Protestantism, bemoans the reality that he was forced into a situation where he must defend Arminianism. It is a gig he didn’t want. Good Protestants should be above the fray of public debate. After all, public brawls are biker-like. He argues that Calvinists and Arminians believe the same gospel, and he is absolutely correct about that. And what is that gospel? According to Olson’s spot-on assessment, progressive justification. Of course, he doesn’t use those particular synonyms because it undresses the Protestant emperor, but as we shall see, it is the same thing. Calvinists and Arminians believe the same false gospel that is foundational to Protestant “essentials.”

At one point in Olson’s call for Calminianism, he notes his respect for moderate Calvinists as opposed to the radical Young, Restless, and Reformed (YRR). But of course, he loves the Calvinist, but hates the Hyper Calvinism, not the moderate Calvinism. This is the constant mantra of Baptist leaders who say that a playing card can barely be slipped between moderate Calvinism and Arminianism, and again, they are absolutely right about that. Only one adjustment needs to be made: there is no difference between “moderate” Calvinism and “radical” Calvinism. That’s the same difference between moderate and radical Islam. To show that he knows what he is talking about, Olson cites examples of moderate Calvinists from his contemporary church history mojo. He cites Donald Bloesch and G. C. Berkouwer as examples of moderate Calvinists.

Only problem is, Bloesch, as I document in The Truth About New Calvinism, was one of the forefathers of the present-day New Calvinist movement. He was a champion of the “gospel recovery” movement that was spawned by the Australian Forum. As documented, he promoted the Australian Forum study groups in Presbyterian circles. One of the Forum’s most quoted Reformed teachers was G.C. Berkouwer, who stated unequivocally that Reformed soteriology is predicated on the belief that there is absolutely NO difference whatsoever in an unbeliever and a believer in their state before God. Bloesch was a strong advocate of the EXACT theology that drives YRR.

And what is that theology? What is that gospel? Olson tells us in his Calminian treatise:

Evangelical Calvinists and evangelical Arminians need to reach an accord, an agreement, to put down the long knives and cooperate with each other in opposing the real “default heresy” of American Christianity—moralism.

And what is this “moralism” that is the common foe of the Calminians?

The true, biblical, evangelical gospel is difficult to find in American churches or hear from their pulpits…Not far from my house is a church that purports to be evangelical. For weeks now the marquee has said simply “Decide to grow.” Decide to grow? What does that mean? Ah, much to my dismay I think I know what it means: “Being a good person, even a good Christian, is totally up to you. Use your will to decide to change and become the person that pleases God.” The missing all-important truth is that no one can do that by themselves, on their own, just using their will power.

This is Calvinism to a T including its Gnostic either/or emphasis interpretation of reality. Notice that Olson excludes any discussion of colaboring between us and the Spirit. It’s either ALL of our will, or ALL of the Spirit. We hear this coming forth from the Calvinist camp constantly along with the deliberate use of the words “us alone” as a red herring to throw you off the antinomian scent. When you read, “no one can do that by themselves,” which goes without saying, what isn’t discussed is the truthful discussion of colaboring: out of sight, out of mind.

Olson then goes on to present the same worn-out misuse of Scripture used by Calvinists constantly:

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” End of story, for most American Christians. Do, do, do. Work harder at being a disciple, a good citizen, a church person, a good neighbor, a successful person.

But Philippians 2:12 can no more be taken alone, without 2:13, than 2:13 can be taken alone without 2:12. “For God is at work in you, to will and to do for his good pleasure.” The Greek word translated “work” in 2:12 is not the same translated “work” in 2:13. So it’s not a sheer contradiction or even a paradox (as many have claimed). The message is: “Carry your salvation out to its best possible conclusion in being Christ-like and do it with care knowing all the time that you aren’t really doing it at all because God gives you everything you need to do it and is even the one doing it in you.”

From beginning to end, everything about being a Christian, in more than a merely nominal sense, is gift. All we have to do, all we can do, is receive the gifts—forgiveness, regeneration, justification, sanctification, glorification. At no point in the process does anyone have the right to claim some good accomplished or achieved as his or her own.

The American gospel, however, is that you must use your will power to change and grow. It’s totally up to you—so just “do it.” The vast majority of sermons focus on that message of moralism. “God would be more pleased with you, you would be more pleasing to God, if you exercised your will to change and grow and become a better person than you are.” That’s not the gospel. The gospel is that you can’t do it. As songwriter Jeremy Camp said in a song popularized by Amy Grant: “Being good is just a fable; I just can’t ‘cause I’m not able. Gonna leave it to the Lord”—the “Lord” being the Holy Spirit.

That’s Calvinism plain and simple that can be tagged with all the Reformed essential truisms: “Christ 100% for us” (in both sanctification and justification),  “The vital union” (we keep ourselves “in the love of Christ” by faith alone), “Justification by faith alone” (in sanctification also), and the idea that the Christian life is a “rest” in which we “rest and feed on the saving works (plural) of Christ.”

EXACTLY like Calvinists, Olson decries the Christian message of “Do, do, do,” while unwittingly propagating the false gospel of keeping ourselves saved by doing nothing. Making sure that we don’t do anything is in fact doing something while begging the question: why is it so important that we continue to do the same thing that originally saved us lest it be a false gospel?

Because it demonstrates the fact that both Calvinists and Arminians believe that justification is not a finished work and that it must be maintained the same way it was initiated—by faith alone.

This is irrefutable and unavoidable: note once again the very words of Olson:

From beginning to end, everything about being a Christian, in more than a merely nominal sense, is gift. All we have to do, all we can do, is receive the gifts—forgiveness, regeneration, justification, sanctification, glorification.

Hence, all we can do is receive, and this includes love. Sanctification, like justification, can only be received. Pray tell, what is the difference between this and Tullian Tchividjian’s Liberation 2014 theme “One Way Love.”?

Christ stated clearly what the results of the latter-day religion of lawlessness (anomia) would be: “the love of many will wax cold.” Are we to assume that this love doesn’t include love for God? Just what would be our first clue in all of this? What does “one way” mean? What does it mean to “receive” only?

And lest Olson fall short of defining himself as a pure Calvinist, he dissed the first thinkers in human history to stop the constant flow of blood from determinism’s spiritual caste system of the church state:

This is the gospel, folks. But, by and large, we have lost it. For it we have substituted false gospels of morality, prosperity, “success in life,” niceness, effort, churchmanship, citizenship, the “American way.”

Sigh. Again, we see Olson’s kinship with Calvinism’s Gnostic dualism: if you believe in individualism, you are also guilty of everything in column A, including a prosperity gospel. If you believe you can do anything, that means you believe you must do it all, etc. It’s either material evil, or invisible good. It’s either Luther’s cross story, or the glory story. It’s either all about your glory, or Christ’s glory. It’s either about what you do, or what “Christ has done.”

It’s all the same antinomian false gospel. Sure, “the law is good,” but Jesus must keep it for us lest we do something. Be not deceived: antinomianism is defined by an aversion to the law in sanctification. Antinomianism is defined by “one way love.”

Olson put the icing on the cake by stating the following:

Now I’m sure some readers are wondering how this is not Calvinism. Well, it is! It’s also Arminianism!

Precisely. He goes on to say, in essence, that It’s Not About Election. That’s a title of a book. It’s about Protestantism’s false gospel of progressive justification which both Calvinists and Arminians hold to. Both deny the new birth and new creaturehood that is troubled by a profession of faith not accompanied by a changed life, or denoting a changed life as works salvation. Love is one way. Love is redefined as believing you are loveless. That’s what Calvinists and Arminians alike are saying when they say they love you: it is a statement that you are both loveless.

Also, Olson, like the Calvinists, makes sanctification the exact same gift that justification is.

OlsonSo what is the true gospel? The true gospel demands a radical gulf between justification and sanctification. How wide is that gulf? 430 years apart. As far as the east is from the west. It also denies that regeneration is powered by the finished work of justification. It also denies that sanctification is a rest. There remains a rest for God’s people, and it is not sanctification. No, the heretic Roger Olson has it wrong: justification is the free gift, sanctification is a responsibility. We have been assigned as “ambassadors.” That’s not a gift—it’s a job. The Hebrew writer stated that God would be “unjust” if he forgets our works and service of “love.” Unjust? How can that be? Because sanctification has to do with rewards, and that is totally different than justification. Rewards are earned, the free gift of justification cannot be earned. Roger Olson, like the Calvinists he pines away for, is a false teacher who will lead many to hell at worst, and will rob many Christians of their reward at best.

Why? Because not doing something to maintain your salvation is doing something. You may not do anything at Mass to get absolution, but you had to do something to get there in order to keep your salvation. Progressive justification is no different.

Justification is a finished work and there is no law to judge the Christian. The law that formally condemned us is now our instruction for loving God and others. In regard to justification, we are perfect because there is no law to judge us and we are literally born of God. We are the holy ones of God saved by grace, NOT “sinners saved by grace.” Where there is no law, there is no sin. We are born anew and long for salvation from mortality. There may be fear in working out that salvation, but there is NO fear in love. Our sanctified life of love drives the fear of judgment far from us. We are free to labor aggressively in love without fear of condemnation.

Be not deceived by the philosopher kings of the institutional church, or simply “church.” When they decry “Do, do, do, do,” they are really decrying, “Love, love, love, love.”

Come out from among the wicked false teachers and their false antinomian gospel of lovelessness.

paul

One Response

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  1. Susan said, on January 11, 2017 at 12:19 PM

    Isn’t what you are describing — antinomianism — another version of the religious doctrine/ heresy of quietism? Here is the definition from Britiannica.com:

    “Quietism, a doctrine of Christian spirituality that, in general, holds that perfection consists in passivity (quiet) of the soul, in the suppression of human effort so that divine action may have full play.” Britiannica.com (Quietism/ Religious Doctrine)

    Isn’t this the exact same thing as “faith alone in sanctification”? This is what the Quakers did and what (It seems to me) all of Protestantism is doing today.

    Like


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