Last week I attended the inaugural meeting of the Missio Alliance, a group of pastors, scholars, and practitioners that see themselves as post-Christendom Christians (many – but not all – with Anabaptist leanings, esp. regarding its counter-cultural aspects) and
committed to a missional vision of the church.
One of the talks I attended was “A Non-Calvinist, Relational View of God’s Sovereignty” by Roger Olson. Olson is currently one of my favourite historical theologians, one doing both careful historical work (e.g., his books on Arminianism, Calvinism, Evangelicalism, etc.) and fruitful constructive work concerning how to do theology from a post-foundationalist perspective (e.g., see his book Reformed and Always Reforming). It was an honour to hear him give this interesting and provocative talk – I even asked a question and pushed back a bit on one of his points. (I also met him after and found him to be very gracious and approachable).
The paper raises the question: “What does it mean that God is sovereign?” Both classical Arminians and Calvinists affirm God’s sovereignty, but they mean something very different by it. Olson argues that God is sovereign in such a way that he chooses not to predetermine exhaustively all that occurs. God is sovereign even over his own sovereignty.
What do you think?