A Molinist’s Soteriology

by Max Andrews

I wanted to give a brief outline of my position concerning soteriology.  You’ll be able to find a lot of this in Ken Keathley’s Salvation and Sovereignty with much greater detail.  Just like the Calvinist has his TULIP so does the Molinist have his ROSES. (My views aren’t necessarily the same as Keathley’s so please don’t equate).

RADICAL DEPRAVITY

  • Our depravity has effected us in every aspect of who we are.  Consider a glass of water and a drop of ink.  If you drop the ink into the glass the ink will spread throughout the glass in its totality but the water is still water, it did not turn into ink.  Man has not relinquished his cognitive ability to choose.  (For more see pages 4-8).

OVERCOMING GRACE

  • The keystone for this doctrine is that God is the sole author and worker of salvation and damnation is only because of the sinner’s free rejection of God.  In this model, the only act the sinner can do is resist God due to his depraved nature.  God overcomes the sinner’s rebellion and the moment the sinner refrains from resisting the draw of the Spirit is the moment of regeneration.  There is no cooperative effort or work the sinner does.  The Holy Spirit brings the spiritually dead man to salvation not by anything the man did, but only by God’s grace that overcame the resistance while still rendering damnation solely because of man’s free rebellion and sin.  This model is monergistic while still affirming soft libertarianism.

SOVEREIGN ELECTION

  • God elects all individuals who would freely cease to resist his saving grace.  God will so arrange the world, via strong and weak actualizations, to bring about a person’s experiences and circumstances in which they would freely refrain from rejecting him.  God is both sovereign in actualizing salvation and permissive in allowing the reprobates to go their own way.

ETERNAL LIFE

  • It’s possible to lose your salvation but you won’t.  There is a possible world in which the elect individual freely ceases to persevere in the faith and apostatizes.  God’s elect freely persevere by his preserving grace.  His grace enables us to persevere.  It is infeasible that the elect apostatize given Scriptural warnings and God’s preserving grace.

SINGULAR REDEMPTION

  • This holds to a penal substitutionary view of the atonement.  Salvation is provided for all but only efficacious for those who believe.  This is in contrast to limited atonement where salvation is only provided for an efficacious to the elect.  This isn’t general atonement either where salvation is provided for all but secured for none.  Atonement is provided for the non-elect, but because of their unbelief the atonement serves as condemnation and testifies against them.

Again, please don’t generalize my position with every other Molinist either.  So much more can be added to each point, so I recommend Keathley’s book for more details.


5 Responses to “A Molinist’s Soteriology”

  1. Max,

    Thanks for the post. What does the Molinist do about what Paul says in Romans 8:6-8?” For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

    Given that unde Molinism the sinner freely chooses God, it seems difficult to affirm that a fallen sinner would ever have the capacity to freely choose given that their mind of an un-regenerate person is set on the flesh, and therefore unable to submit to God’s law. It seems that under Molinism, God seeks out the sinner, but then leaves the choice up to the them. But, if that were true, then the sinner would never freely choose him because in his freedom, the sinner chooses to fall in the way of his depravity, not holiness. What would be your response to such an argument?

    Thanks for taking the time to read and I look forward to your response. – Josh

    • Before I construct a large detailed response I wanted to clarify one thing. The sinner doesn’t freely ‘choose’ God. The sinner can freely ‘respond’ to God. The efficacy of saving grace is initiated by God, the antecedent, and the sinner’s positive response to that grace is the consequent. So I don’t see a conflict with the passage. It would be in conflict if the sinner chooses God (it wouldn’t be a response since there’s no antecedent action) without God’s initiation first. I don’t see the need to affirm that God cannot bring about an efficacious, positive response in a sinner. In the latter part of your question you seem to beg the question that man still can’t respond even though God initiates. I’m not aware of a convincing reason why we should think that we cannot positively respond to God’s grace. We cannot initiate a relationship with God but we can respond to it. It’s not a general efficaciousness either. Not everyone gets the same grace so it’s not like there is wasted grace. Those who are non-elect may not receive the same appropriation of saving grace (if any, or even more) because God knew how they would have responded had that been given to them.

  2. How does Molinism account for those who have never heard.

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