Review of Roger E. Olson. Against Calvinism. Foreword by Michael Horton, author of For Calvinism. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. 207 pp., no index. $16.99 (paperback).
The arguments in Roger Olson’s Against Calvinism rest on his deep sympathies with the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609), whose followers were known as Remonstrants. Arminians traditionally qualify, question, or reject what is commonly known as Five-Point Calvinism which is often but not necessarily summed up by the acronym TULIP: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance. Olson traces the versions of Calvinist dogmatic theology to which he objects back to the decisions made at the famous Synod of Dort, a gathering of Calvinist divines that took place in the city of Dort (Dordrecht in Dutch) in 1618–19. Continue reading
Review of Kevin T. Bauder, R. Albert Mohler Jr., John G. Stackhouse Jr., Roger E. Olson. Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism. Edited by Stanley N. Gundry, Andrew David Naselli, and Collin Hansen. Introduction by Collin Hansen. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. 222 pp., with scripture index and general index. $16.99 (paperback).
Abstract: Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism should be helpful to Latter-day Saints (and others) seeking to understand some of the theological controversies lurking behind contemporary fundamentalist/evangelical religiosity. Four theologians spread along a spectrum speak for different competing factions of conservative Protestants: Kevin Bauder for what turns out to be his own somewhat moderate version of Protestant fundamentalism; Al Mohler for conservative/confessional evangelicalism; John Stackhouse for generic evangelicalism; and Roger Olson for postconservative evangelicalism. Each author introduces his own position and then is critiqued [Page 64]in turn by the others, after which there is a rejoinder. In addition, as I point out in detail, each of these authors has something negative to say about the faith of Latter-day Saints. Continue reading
Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?
1 Corinthians 14:8 NIV
Abstract: Some vocal cultural Mormons, busy asking themselves “why stay,” claim that it is not at all probable that there is a God, or that there even was a Jesus of Nazareth. They also ridicule the Atonement. In the language of our scriptures they are antichrists—that is, they deny that there was or is a Christ. Being thus against the King and His Kingdom, their trumpet does not give a clear sound; they are clearly against the one whom they made a solemn covenant to defend and sustain. Instead of seeking diligently to become genuine Holy Ones or Saints, they worship an idol—they have turned from the Way by fashioning an idol. They preach and practice a petty idolatry. Genuine Saints, including disciple-scholars, have a duty to defend the King and His Kingdom. Continue reading
Review of Lian Xi. Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China. New Haven: Yale University, 2010. 352 pp., with glossary, bibliography and index. $45.00 (hardcover).
On 30 August 2010 leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that “a series of high-level meetings” had taken place in Salt Lake City between representatives of the Church “and an official from the People’s Republic of China” that are eventually “expected to lead to ‘regularized’ operations of the Church in China.” For me this announcement was news that rivaled those unanticipated and providentially dramatic events allowing the building of an LDS temple in what was then East Germany, and later the preaching of the gospel in Eastern Europe and Russia, and the series of events promoting the stunning growth of the Church in sub-Saharan Africa. For those curious, as I am, about Christianity in China, Redeemed by Fire is a fine resource, though it is not, however, the only solid account of the stunning growth in Christian religiosity following the dramatic events that changed the face of China after World War II. Continue reading
Robert M. Price. Latter-day Scripture: Studies in the Book of Mormon. Self-published e-book, 2011 (http://www.eBookIt.com). 78 pp., no index, no pagination. $10.95.
Latter-day Scripture is a potpourri of nine essays, eight of which are, as the subtitle of the introduction indicates, “critical studies in the Book of Mormon” (p. 1, emphasis added). Price’s title for his e-book, his promotional blurb, and his introduction constitute what is sometimes called paratext, ancillary textual matter that an author or publisher can use to manage the way a book will be read by its intended audience. Price’s introduction, “The Golden Bible of Joseph Smith” (p. 1, emphasis added), seems to be an effort to coach his potential readers on how to understand his endeavors. He reassures his fellow atheists, “I am not a Mormon. I am a Religious Humanist” (p. 1). Continue reading