June 12th, 2012
A few years ago Ken Keathley, Professor of Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, presented a paper at the SBC’s Building Bridges Conference. Keathley is a Molinist and the title of his paper [on election] was “How to be a Consistent Infralapsarian.” This paper was the primary content in the chapter on election in his book Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach. There is an audio version of his presentation but all the links I found online were broken. Be sure to download the draft of the paper in the link above and read through it. He outlines a very robust model of election and reprobation. (As a Molinist I, of course, affirm much of what he argues.) Nonetheless, you cannot deny that he is being biblical and consistent in his model of election.
I had a review of Salvation and Sovereignty published in the Midwestern Journal of Theology you can read. Concerning Keathley’s chapter on election, his paper, this is what I had to say:
Keathley’s understanding of sovereign election, which he calls “consistent infralapsarianism,” follows from his understanding of overcoming grace. Under this view, 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.
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June 11th, 2012
I. The Argument
William Hasker has a deep commitment to the position that man holds a high level of libertarian freedom. In his section on “Freedom, Necessity, and God,” Hasker takes the libertarian to task by challenging him with free will’s compatibility with divine foreknowledge. Hasker’s argument states that because God foreknows an agent’s action the agent necessarily fulfills that action.
- It is now true that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (Assumption).
- It is impossible that God should at any time believe anything false or fail to believe anything which is true (Assumption: divine omniscience).
- Therefore God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (Inference from 1 and 2).
- If God has always believed a certain thing, it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that thing. (Assumption: the inalterability of the past).
- Therefore it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (Inference from 3 and 4).
- It is not possible for it to be true both that God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow, and that I do not in fact have one. (Inference from 2).
- Therefore it is not in my power to refrain from having a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (Inference from 5 and 6). So I do not have free will with respect to the decision whether or not to eat an omelet. 
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June 8th, 2012
I did a review of Ken Keathley’s Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2010) in the Midwestern Journal of Theology 9 no. 2 (Fall 2010) issue. Below is the first paragraph of the review and a link to download the whole PDF version (with appropriate copyright information).
Molinism seems to be a mere drop in the bucket of theological thought with little attention in Church history. Ken Keathley’s Salvation and Sovereignty surely brings hope of resurgence to the little known school of thought. With an exemplary effort to reconcile some of the most difficult theological doctrines. Keathley demonstrates amazing consistency in his pursuit for a Biblical understanding of salvation and divine sovereignty. Just as the Calvinist has his TULIP so does the Molinist have his ROSES. The acronym may be understood as “R” for radical depravity, “O” for overcoming grace, “S” for sovereign election, “E” for eternal life, and “S” for singular redemption.
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June 8th, 2012
Irenaeus, in Against Heresies, 4.37.2-3, averred in the face of Gnostic determinism that the prophetic rebukes for spiritual evil and exhortation of spiritual good presupposed human ability to obey, as did the religious teachings of Jesus. Hence both Old and New Testaments substantiated the self-determination of humanity. By libertarian freedom I mean that our freedom is a derived freedom, humans are not completely independent or completely autonomous. In Molinism, unlike Calvinism, God is completely sovereign over the eternal destinies of a world of libertarian free creatures who have, in Augustinian terminology, “free choice” and not merely “free will.” For Augustine, “free choice” (i.e. libertarian free will) entailed the freedom to choose between opposites in both the physical and spiritual realms. Thus fallen humanity, by virtue of the imago Dei, can freely choose whether or not to respond to God’s prevenient grace. By contrast, Augustine defined “free will” (i.e. compatibilist free will) as the ability to choose without any external constraint between the options compatible with one’s nature. On this view, unregenerate humans, due to original sin, lack the ability to choose between spiritual good and evil. Just as a bad tree can bear bad fruit or no fruit at all, unregenerate humanity can either perform spiritual wickedness by actively rebelling against God or do nothing spiritual at all by displaying passivity toward God. 
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May 30th, 2012
The Matthean account of Jesus pronouncing judgment on the cities of Choarzin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum may be found in Matthew 11.20-24. This passage of Scripture contains a historical context of six particular cities that were condemned for their depravity. The following contains a grammatico-historical examination of the text, which is an example of the doctrine of revelatory judgment applied, a verse often used to support the soteriological problem of evil, and is a problem passage for the doctrine of transworld damnation. The purpose of Jesus’ pronouncement of judgment on these cities was to convey the depravity of man.
II. A Grammatico-Historical Exegesis
Before any critical examination of the text can be made a conclusion on the genre must be established. The book of Matthew is a Gospel, which is a genre in and of itself. Many studies performed in modern scholarship of the Gospel literature link the Gospels with Hellenistic biography. Hellenistic biographers did not feel compelled to include all periods of an individual’s life or to narrate in chronological order. The selected events were carefully ordered to promote a particular ideology. In slight contrast to Hellenistic biographies, Robert Guelich proposes formal and particular genera for the Gospels:
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May 5th, 2012
The dynamic theory of time (A-theory) holds that God is not timeless and relates to the actual world within the bounds of time. First advocated by J. M. E. McTaggart, this entails a tensed knowledge of God and that all events are not simultaneously real, there is only one absolute now. Given that the General Theory of Relativity is true, objects in motion tend to slow down. This in no way takes away from an absolute now; Lorentz advocates that this absolute now cannot be measured because measuring devices are in motion. God’s relationship to time would be the absolute now. Dynamic theory holds that façon de parler (in a manner of speaking), prior to creation (cf. Jude 25); God was timeless and so entered time to relate to man.
The static theory of time (B-theory) holds that God is omnitemporal and continues to exist timelessly (atemporal) since creation. There are no tensed facts. Yesterday is just as real as today, which is just as real as the year 2039. God is simple under a view of timelessness. If God is simple then He cannot be temporal, for a temporal being is related to the various times at which it exists: It exists at t1 and at t2, for example. But a simple being stands in no relations.
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May 4th, 2012
Humans possess a certain level of libertarian freedom, prima facie. The arguments supporting the free will are the evidence of human volition, moral accountability, and moral duty. In the end, there are no good reasons to believe the contrary. By libertarian freedom I mean that our freedom is a derived freedom, humans are not completely independent or completely autonomous. In Molinism, unlike Calvinism, God is completely sovereign over the eternal destinies of a world of libertarian free creatures who have, in Augustinian terminology, “free choice” and not merely “free will.” MacGregor explains that for Augustine, “free choice” (i.e. libertarian free will) entailed the freedom to choose between opposites in both the physical and spiritual realms. Thus fallen humanity, by virtue of the imago Dei, can freely choose whether or not to respond to God’s prevenient grace. By contrast, Augustine defined “free will” (i.e. compatibilist free will) as the ability to choose without any external constraint between the options compatible with one’s nature. 
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May 2nd, 2012
In the chapter titled “A Reformed Tradition Not Quite Right” in David Baggett and Jerry Walls’ book, Good God, they contend that the fundamental divide between Calvinism and [say] Arminianism is how God’s love and goodness are understood. This section is a [ironically] five-point objection to Calvinistic compatibilism. Before the authors make their case they assemble a philosophical justification for their method. Their epistemic framework gives a strong platform for the acceptance of a priori natural revelation going into the biblical hermeneutic. Without further ado they present their case against compatibilism (I once heard Dr. Baggett say that it’s not adieu, as it was once corrected in the drafts by the editors.)
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