Saturday, June 23, 2012

Olson's Respond to Fischer's "Calvinism"

Olson:
I do agree with much of what Austin wrote. In fact, I agree with the substance of it. I think a lot of critics of his post entirely missed his concluding remarks (criticisms) about “moderate” preaching–that it is sometimes too weak and lacking confidence in its own gospel message.

I have a one frame cartoon from (I think) Leadership magazine (years ago) showing a bespectacled minister sitting at his church office desk. Behind him is an attendance chart showing Sunday attendance at his church declining steeply. Across from his desk sits someone (a deacon?) saying “Well, pastor, maybe it would help if you didn’t end every sermon with ‘But then, what do I  know’?”
But another one shows a church custodian cleaning up around the pulpit on a Monday and seeing a post-it note in the pastor’s handwriting on the pulpit saying “Weak point, pound pulpit here.”
Austin rightly called for the current crop of “neo-Calvinist” preachers to preach with less certainty and authority (because what they are preaching is often opinion) and moderates to preach with more assurance and confidence (of the gospel).

I will stop speaking for Austin (and ask him to correct me if I got him wrong) and add my own commentary on the subject.

Yes, as some commenters here have rightly pointed out, Arminian preachers can also preach with over-reaching certainty that leaves no room for disagreement or doubt (that is, calling into question a person’s spirituality if not salvation for disagreeing or doubting). That’s just not currently as much of a problem with college students (especially) who are flocking to student conferences attended by upwards of twenty-to-thirty thousand students who hear neo-Calvinist (or whatever they should be called) preachers proclaim Calvinism as if it were the gospel itself and saying things like “If you received Jesus Christ for any other reason than the glory of God you might not be saved” and “Godordained sin” and “Christ died for God and not for you” and “If a dirty bomb fell on a city it would be from God,” etc., etc. (These are statements students returning from these conference and ones like them have reported hearing.)
For the rest, click HERE.

--Nick

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