Today, browsing Monergism Books, I came across an advertisement for two books discussing the debate between Reformed and Arminian theology. For Calvinism by Dr. Michael Horton, professor at Westminster Theological Seminary (California), “invites us to explore the teachings of Calvinism, also commonly known as Reformed theology, by showing us how it is biblical and God-centered, leading us to live our lives for the glory of God. Horton explores the historical roots of Calvinism, walking readers through the distinctive known as the “Five Points,” and encouraging us to consider its rich resources for faith and practice in the 21st Century.” In Against Calvinism by Dr. Roger E. Olson, professor at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, “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.”
As one who is firmly convicted of the total assent of the Scriptures to the reality of God’s complete sovereignty and the biblical correctness of the doctrines of Grace, I found Mike Horton’s conclusion to his forward in Against Calvinism to be a serious reminder for those with serious theological conviction, regardless of the perspective:
I am grateful to Roger for the candor, passion, and informed argumentation that this book represents. At the end of the day, Roger and I share the most important agreement: namely, that the crucial questions involved in this or any other debate must be brought to the bar of scripture. We both believe that scripture is clear and sufficient, even if we are confused and weak. We are all pilgrims on the way, not yet those who have arrived at our glorious destination. only by endeavoring more and more to talk to each other as coheirs with Christ instead of about each other and past each other as adversaries can we engage with serious disagreements— and with the hope that we may also be surprised by felicitous agreements along the way.
It’s extremely easy to resort to creating straw men in our caricatures of those who differ from us theologically (or in any other way), but this is intellectually dishonest and usually results in greater hostility towards them than serious consideration. And while it is true that differing views are, in many cases, utterly irreconcilable (of which the Arminianism-Calvinism debate is one of them), we must be careful to treat those who love the Lord Jesus as our spiritual family instead of enemies.