Frank Turk never minces his words; nor his food. Once he cooks food, he salts it very well and he loves his soup the way it should be -well salted too. But one thing that Frank never tolerates seems to be hypocricy. Inconsistency rubs him the wrong way. This time it’s renowned Arminian Theologian Roger Olson’s dabbling butter fingers that have poured the last proverbial soup into the fire. (Yes, all of it!). So, the food is all wasted and the party is now officially O-V-E-R!
And you know what that means? Yes, an open letter (from Frank himself)…
Dear Dr. Olson;
I thought I was going to be a fan of yours back when you published the level-headed IVP classic Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities in 2006. It helped me get over my own vestiges of cage-stage Calvinism, and it’s a fine discussion of the Arminian theology. I like someone who puts a little of his own fat in the fire when it comes to explanation and argumentation, so I appreciated that really, what you wanted was to engage some of the daffier calvinist apologetics and counter-apologetics with some salt and vinegar, and I say good on you.
That, of course, doesn’t finally persuade me that you have the better systematics or even approach to theology, church and evangelism, but I credit you for being a sound in-house adversary for what you believe.
Now, from there, you have sort of come apart. In 2007, you wrote Reformed and Always Reforming which essentially dumped the premise that theological conservatism is plausible as a contemporary system of belief. In 2009, you wrote your own book-length endorsement of the execrable The Shack which even Tim Challies panned (both your book, and The Shack). And a few weeks ago you bottomed out by appearing on Doug Pagitt’s radio show to spend some time with him essentially doing to calvinists what you say they have been doing to others for at least a decade.
It was an unimpressive exchange as you and Pagitt essentially tittered at your own opinions of the psychology of the Young, Restless and Reformed movement, and simply asserted that there’s nothing to it but immaturity…
But to listen to you dive into this as if it’s any kind of balanced or even instructive approach to the differences between your stated views and the stated views of these young fellows is disappointing. It trivializes your previously-decent work and sets you on a path of obscurity along with Pagitt and his cronies at Solomon’s Porch.
Now, here’s what I think: I think you’re a christian and a clever fellow who doesn’t want to be a Calvinist — but the only non-Calvinists you can find are the guys like Pagitt who think that even the term “evangelical” can mean anything you want it to mean…
If you want to be non-Calvinist, or even anti-Calvinist, I say super: have at it. You don’t have to affirm every statement of the Westminster Confession to be a decent Christian. But when you start hanging out with guys like Doug Pagitt because you can’t find any actual Christian friends to agree with you about guys like me, I wonder what exactly you’re looking for from me. If my fault — because I am one of these new Calvinists — is that I want to define the faith in terms of one systematic theology only, is it a virtue to define the faith as anything which includes the word Jesus in it once in a while?
Is that Arminian theology? Does that do good to the reputation of God? It worries me that you might think so. If you do, please repent.
I hope this find you in good spirits and in God’s good graces.
Grace and peace to you,
The Centurion [Frank Turk]
Excerpt from An Open Letter To Roger Olsen. [HT Frank Turk]