Friday, August 31, 2007


Dr. Roger Olson from Baylor University lived in the Twin Cities in Minnesota for some fifteen years, so when the bridge collapsed recently there was a personal connection for him. Many have spoken about the tragedy on the bridge that day and Dr. Olson has taken exception to some of the comments. Particularly those who would hold a biblical view that God is Sovereign and nothing happens that God has not permitted. Olson calls that " the God of Calvinism", and he says the following from the wires;

"The God of Calvinism scares me; I'm not sure how to distinguish him from the devil. If you've come under the influence of Calvinism, think about its ramifications for the character of God. God is great but also good. In light of all the evil and innocent suffering in the world, he must have limited himself."

Olson struggles where many do, with the issue of evil and all of the bad that happens in the world. He does not want to come to the conclusion that any evil could be within Gods parameters of allowance. The problem with his perspective first of all is that it is unbiblical. Passage after passage shows clearly that God controls all from the rising of the Sun, to the rulers of nations, to the feeding of the animals in the middle of the night where no one else could ever reach. Olson's god ends up being a Deity that is powerless over evil. A God who reacts, one who hopes for the best and has no control over the evil one, or over evil in general. Olson makes the fundamental error of equating the bad things that happen in the world to meaning that God does not control all.

It is the difference between a man centered view of God and a God centered view. The Word of God tells us that God does what He does for His glory, not ours. Those who are Christ's happen to be glad recipients of that display in Christ at Calvary. When you understand that God is out for His glory then you can rest with the reality that He has an eternal view and this life is not the end. We exist for His glory and are on this planet to display that, whether we eat or drink, or whatever we might do. The tragedies that hit our shores from time to time are a reminder of the truth that there are thousands upon thousands dying each day in a variety of ways, entering into Eternity.

What is always interesting is the lack of outrage over the most tragic death of all, the Lord Jesus Christ. An innocent man who never sinned was murdered in brutal fashion. That is the greatest display of horror,and most unfair event of all, seemingly. Yet God was behind that as well. What appeared to all of the world to be an awful tragedy, was shown to be the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in the history of man. So as Olson and others would seek to criticize "the God of Calvin", be sure that you worship the God of the Bible, as uncomfortable as that might seem at times. Remember He is God and we are not!

blog you later,
pastor tom