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10 thoughts on “Salvation and Sovereignty

  1. Jake Rainwater Jake Rainwater says:

    In Salvation and Sovereignty, Kenneth Keathley of Southeastern Seminary provides a soteriology from a Molinist framework Based on the thought of 15th century Jesuit priest Luis de Molina, Molinism is an attempt to reconcile God s sovereignty and man s responsibility through the use of middle knowledge Between God s natural knowledge of everything that could be and God s free knowledge of everything that is, there is God s middle knowledge of everything that would be This middle knowledg In Salvation and Sovereignty, Kenneth Keathley of Southeastern Seminary provides a soteriology from a Molinist framework Based on the thought of 15th century Jesuit priest Luis de Molina, Molinism is an attempt to reconcile God s sovereignty and man s responsibility through the use of middle knowledge Between God s natural knowledge of everything that could be and God s free knowledge of everything that is, there is God s middle knowledge of everything that would be This middle knowledge is key for Keathly s soteriology After introducing and laying the framework in the first two chapters, Keathly borrows Timothy George s ROSES framework an alternate to TULIP to unpack his Molinist soteriology Keathly is a clear writer, and has the ability to bring lofty concepts such as the workings of the Molinism and soteriology down to an accessible level Further, Keathly provides some needed pushback against the traditional soteriological frameworks in a consistent manner Whether or not one agrees with his framework, one must admit that given the Molinist framework, this is a fair and consistent application to soteriology However, there are noticeable weaknesses in Keathly s work For a work that claims to be a third approach to Calvinism and Arminianism, it is heavy on the Calvinism critique Keathly often gives the Arminian approach in just a few paragraphs while dedicating pages and pages to interacting with and critiquing the Calvinist approach Often, these critiques are less than substantive Keathly often characterizes his views as biblical and dismisses the other views as non biblical Further, the authors that he interacts with are often narrow He spends an entire chapter interacting with R C Sproul Sr and Jr in his chapter on radical depravity Surely there aresubstantive academics that Keathly could interact with At multiple points in the book, I found myself wonder if this volume would beaccurately titled Salvation and Sovereignty Against David Englesma Additionally, Keathly notes that Calvinist tend to characterize Molinist as Arminians, and Arminians call Molinists Calvinist Keathly does nothing to help this I often found myself coming to the conclusion that his views are modified formulations of each framework It is internally consistent, yet I am unconvinced that it stands up against external critique My biggest issue with the book is the lack of exegetical work done If Molinism is the framework that does most justice to Scripture, then I would expect Keathly to demonstrate this Instead, the reader is left with occasional proof texting There is no serious exegetical work done at all in the volume Just because this is a pop level book it does not warrant a lack of exegesis books like What is the Mission of the Church by DeYoung and Gilbert have demonstrated that popular level books can have rigorous exegesis Keathly offers an alternative to the Arminian and Calvinist soteriological frameworks, but unless one approaches the book already skeptical of these two options, it is hard to imagine someone becoming convinced of the Molinist approach based on this volume


  2. Evan Minton Evan Minton says:

    For as long as I ve been a Christian, I was what one would call a classical Arminian I believed that God loved all people, that Jesus died on the cross for all people, that God sent prevenient grace to all people which was resistible, and that human beings have libertarian free will However, at the same time, there were parts of scripture that troubled me While I did and still do affirm every doctrine I just listed, there were portions of scripture that seemed to strongly support Calvinistic For as long as I ve been a Christian, I was what one would call a classical Arminian I believed that God loved all people, that Jesus died on the cross for all people, that God sent prevenient grace to all people which was resistible, and that human beings have libertarian free will However, at the same time, there were parts of scripture that troubled me While I did and still do affirm every doctrine I just listed, there were portions of scripture that seemed to strongly support Calvinistic doctrines such as unconditional election, perserverance of the saints, and that God has meticulous sovereign control over all things I found Arminian attempts to interpret these passages to be strained and it seemed like they were trying to shoehorn these passages into their theology At the same time, I couldn t affirm that Jesus only died for the elect or that only wanted certain people saved because The Bible overwhelmingly contradicted such a notion in a multitude of places to say nothing of it impinging on Perfect Being Theology Praise God for the work of Luis De Molina Through Molinism, I have found a soteriological stance and a stance on divine sovereignty and human freedom that incorporates the insights of the Calvinists while avoiding the exegetical and philosophical problems Calvinism has, while also incorporates the biblical truths Arminians defend In this book, Kenneth Keathley provides a statement that acts as an abtract for the entire book He writes In his book Salvation and Sovereignty , Kenneth Kealthey explains in a summarized form why he is a Molinist Keathley speaks for me when he writes So why do I embrace Molinism Because, like the Calvinist, I am convinced The Bible teaches that 1 God is sovereign and His control is meticulous 2 man is incapable of contributing to his salvation or of even desiring to be saved 3 God through Christ is Author, accomplisher, and completer of salvation i.e., salvation is a work of grace from beginning to end and 4 individual election is unconditional and 5 the believer is secure in Christ However, like the Arminian, I am also convinced The Bible teaches that 6 God is not the Author, Origin, or Cause of sin and to say that He is, is not just hyper Calvinism but blasphemy 7 God genuinely desires the salvation of all humanity 8 Christ genuinely died for all people 9 God s grace is resistible this means that regeneration does not precede conversion and 10 humans genuinely choose, are causal agents, and are responsible for the sin of rejecting Christ this means that the alternative of accepting salvation was genuinely available to the unbeliever As we will see, there is only one position that coherently holds to all ten affirmations, and that is Molinism In science, one should go with the hypothesis that has the greatest explanatory scope of the data I think the same should go for theology which some have dubbed the mother of all sciences Classical Arminianism and Classical Calvinism can explain certain portions of biblical teaching, but they cannot explain the ENTIRETY of biblical teaching Molinism far exceeds Classical Arminianism and Classical Calvinism in explanatory scope in explaining the soteriological data This is one of the primary reasons that I consider myself a Molinist In this book, Kenneth Keathley provides biblical defense for the 10 affirmations that lead him to Molinism as the best explanation I won t ever write a book defending my own soteriological position because I believe Keathley has already done that I can t think of a single line of this book I disagree with If you are like me and you find yourself unsatisfied with your current soteriological position perhaps you re an Arminian of the Roger Olson variety or a Calvinist of the John Piper variety , then I highly admonish you to buy and read this book Keathley provides the perfect middle ground between hard Arminianism and hard Calvinism Keathley provides a Molinistic view of soteriology that explains the entirety of biblical teaching


  3. Josh Starr Josh Starr says:

    I must put aside my respect for the author, who was my pastor and my professor, as well as my delight at his erudition and wit, to address the content of the book According to Patterson s forward, this book was never meant to change my mind as a a Calvinist So my goal then was not to be convinced of its truthfulness but to answer a question that I had is molinism rooted first and foremost in the Bible or philosophical answers to the questions of the Bible.My criticism can be summed up thus 1 I must put aside my respect for the author, who was my pastor and my professor, as well as my delight at his erudition and wit, to address the content of the book According to Patterson s forward, this book was never meant to change my mind as a a Calvinist So my goal then was not to be convinced of its truthfulness but to answer a question that I had is molinism rooted first and foremost in the Bible or philosophical answers to the questions of the Bible.My criticism can be summed up thus 1 The arguments against Calvinism appeared to me to be misfires which do not address the best arguments against molinism or the best arguments for Calvinism Double jeopardy being debunked by an American court case not biblical precedent is a good example 2 The book was satisfied to prove the building blocks of molinism to be biblical and yet rarely showed in the text that the system itself was biblical contingency was shown, not middle knowledge Is this a good book Yes It s well written by a highly intelligent pastor theologian.Did it convince me to give molinism biblical credit No.I would recommend it mostly for calvinists who have not had their believes questioned by a really smart proponent of another view


  4. Dorian Driscoll Dorian Driscoll says:

    So much to say about this book First off, this book is generally not like many of the books in this debate, and Keathley s tone is abundantly indicative of this I m not a Calvinist, but I ve read books that seem to have nothing but hatred for them, that seem to delight in attempting to destroy the system, and this book isn t one of them Sure, Keathley has his issues, and that s the point of the book, but his attitude is admirable In fact, I think it s due to the very fact that he isn t gener So much to say about this book First off, this book is generally not like many of the books in this debate, and Keathley s tone is abundantly indicative of this I m not a Calvinist, but I ve read books that seem to have nothing but hatred for them, that seem to delight in attempting to destroy the system, and this book isn t one of them Sure, Keathley has his issues, and that s the point of the book, but his attitude is admirable In fact, I think it s due to the very fact that he isn t generally part of this debate.Also, this book was probably the biggest influence in my becoming a Molinist Bear in mind, I m a huge fan of William Lane Craig who is arguably the most famous Molinist on the popular apologetics scene, but I guess I had imbibed so much Calvinism that I bristled at his idea of possible worlds versus feasible worlds, and his admission along with Plantinga, it should be known that if a person refuses to perform a certain action under freedom permitting circumstances, that even though it s possible for him to do so, it may be the case that every time God places him in those circumstances, he would freely do the contrary I couldn t stomach the notion that there are some people God couldn t save because of the obstinacy of their wills.The main reason, however, that this book turned me into a Molinist isn t necessarily because Keathley avoids this pitfall In fact, I m not sure whether he affirms the same thing as Craig or not It s because it broadens the scope of Molinism so that believers inof an almost absolute view of God s sovereignty are free to affirm all the positive aspects of Molinism without capitulating to an Arminian or even semi Pelagian view of freedom you can retain an essentially neutered version of libertarianism that won t leave you with but some people are just too stubborn.Keathley s ambulatory model, for instance, contrary to what Calvinists have said, is thoroughly monergistic It s just its compatibility with the capacity for resistance that bothers them, and I can sympathize But what I realized is that properly formulated, whatever resistance is posited by the non Calvinists is whether they understand it or not qualitatively different from the resistance of an Arminian interpretation, because it is better interpreted as merely one of the means albeit a negative one God employed in damning someone In fact, any resistance, if interpreted on the view that God can save whomever, whenever, whatever, of necessity is part of the plan since Molinism entails an election informed by foreknowledge and middle knowledge, and is not primarily based upon foreknowledge, as in the case of Arminianism In the end, what Keathley s ambulatory model shows us is that a person can claim no credit for letting God save them, because and I wish Keathley had phrased it thusly to choose to do nothing is the logical equivalent of doing nothing not doing anything, and there is no way around this at all A person literally does nothing in contribution to his salvation, because choosing to do nothing is logically equal to doing nothing, and no Calvinist ought to object to this except on the grounds that it s compatible with monergism and they don t like that.Further, Molinism is compatible with the idea that God could have saved everybody if He had wanted to I m setting aside the extremely problematic usage of everybody which equivocates terribly Indeed, as W.L Craig has himself said in a Defenders podcast some years back, you could affirm what is known as Congruism, which is an interpretation of Molinism which affirms, essentially, that God can save everybody Craig has said openly that he does not support such a view there you go, Calvinists, go nuts , but he does not say it is false.Ultimately, Keathley s book lays the groundwork for some vastlypowerful arguments in favor of Molinism, and this is the reason I eventually became a molinist


  5. Luke Nix Luke Nix says:

    Excellent book Look for my full chapter by chapter review on Faithful Thinkers in the coming weeks.


  6. Pastoralmusings Pastoralmusings says:

    Salvation And Sovereignty A Molinist ApproachbyKenneth Keathley Kenneth Keathley is professor of Theology and dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina Keathley is a man who found himself struggling with traditional Calvinist reasoning regarding TULIP Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints , yet was also convinced of many good points that are made by Calvinists What Salvation And Sovereignty A Molinist ApproachbyKenneth Keathley Kenneth Keathley is professor of Theology and dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina Keathley is a man who found himself struggling with traditional Calvinist reasoning regarding TULIP Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints , yet was also convinced of many good points that are made by Calvinists What would he do After all, he agreed with three points out of five,but did not agree with limited atonement or irresistible grace Not only that, but he couldn t totally embrace T,U, or P as they are presented by Calvinists The choice was to be inconsistent in many ways, or to find a way to be both consistent and Biblical Keathley chose the latter, and has built upon the ROSES acronym Radical depravity, Overcoming grace, Sovereign election, Eternal life, Singular redemption Keathley then sought to place all of this in a molinist perspective Molinism Named after Luis Molina posits that God is indeed in control, and yet affords man free will Molinism teaches that God exercises His sovereignty primarily through His omniscience, and that He infallibly knows what free creatures would do in any given situation pg 5 This allows for God to indeed be sovereign, but it also allows for man to be truly free in that his choices truly are his own, and count as something other than a necessary response to Divine stimuli Because God knows all things He knows all possibilities as well as which possibilities are feasible In other words, God not only knows what could happen, He knows what will happen in any given circumstance, and He chooses to create the world in which all circumstances and choices bring the most glory to His name In the world that God chose He both knows all things and man is free to make his own choices Thus God is sovereign and man is free Keathley uses the Molinist perspective to set forth the following God is both good and great, so He wants to save all and does save all who believe human freedom is derived and genuinely ours, so it is not absolute, unlimited, or autonomous God s grace is both monergistic and resistible, so salvation is totally of grace, but grace can be scorn and refused God s election is both unconditional and according to foreknowledge, because God s sovereign choice is informed by foreknowledge but not determined by it pg 11 the saved are both preserved and will persevere and Christ s atonement is both unlimited in its provision and limited in its application, so we can indeed say that Christ died for each individual, but only believers enjoy the benefits of Jesus sacrifice While it may take a while for it all to soak in Indeed, I plan to go back and read portions of the book again to gain a better understanding of the issue , this perspective is a very reasonable one It is the one toward which I had already found myself moving, but was unable to ariculate.This book is not deep philosophy, or difficult doctrine It is a well written book that will be a great blessing to anyone struggling with the inconsistencies of Calvinism or Arminianism I highly recommend it


  7. Jacob O& Jacob O& says:

    Keathley writes my second full book on Molinism with a bit differently than William Craig This summer I ve had to wrestle with reformed theology like never before I believe Molinism holds the answer, but Keathley didn t let me completley off the hook.His main contribution to the debate is a riff on the popular TULIP acronym first composed by Timothy George, which turns the slogan into ROSES It goes like this Radical depravity The old term, total depravity, gives the impression that fa Keathley writes my second full book on Molinism with a bit differently than William Craig This summer I ve had to wrestle with reformed theology like never before I believe Molinism holds the answer, but Keathley didn t let me completley off the hook.His main contribution to the debate is a riff on the popular TULIP acronym first composed by Timothy George, which turns the slogan into ROSES It goes like this Radical depravity The old term, total depravity, gives the impression that fallen humanity always is as bad as it possibly can be The new term, radical depravity,correctly emphasizes that every aspect of our being is affected by the fall and renders us incapable of saving ourselves or even of wanting to be saved.Overcoming grace The old term, irresistible grace, seems to imply that God saves a person against his will The new term, overcoming grace, highlights that it is God s persistent beckoning that overcomes our wicked obstinacy.Sovereign election Often the term unconditional election is presented in such a way as to give the impression that those who die without receiving Christ did so because God never desired their salvation in the first place The replacement label, sovereign election, affirms that God desires the salvation of all, yet accentuates that our salvation is not based on us choosing God but on God choosing us.Eternal life The old term, perseverance of the saints, leads to the notion that a believer s assurance is based on his ability to persevere rather than on the fact he is declared righteous in Christ The purpose of the new term, eternal life, is to stress that believers enjoy a transformed life that is preserved and we are given a faith which will remain.Singular redemption A particularly unfortunate concept, limited atonement, teaches that Christ died only for the elect and gives the impression that there is something lacking in the atonement As we will see, many Calvinists prefer terms such as definite atonement or particular redemption We will use the label singular redemption to emphasize that Christ died sufficiently for every person, although efficiently only for those who believe In fairness, there are very, very few Calvinists who would accept the TULIP acronym without heavy modification Nevertheless, I agree with Keathley that ROSES better represents what the Bible says


  8. Josh Pannell Josh Pannell says:

    A good discussion of many of the problems in both Calvinism and Arminianism However, I find it difficult to understand a position which tries to find itself on both sides Is election really both unconditional and by foreknowledge of faith Is the atonement really both limited and universal I find that people who try to bridge the gap this way often are ether Calvinists or Arminians by another name, the same seems to be true here.Also, there are times Keathley borders open theism in his explan A good discussion of many of the problems in both Calvinism and Arminianism However, I find it difficult to understand a position which tries to find itself on both sides Is election really both unconditional and by foreknowledge of faith Is the atonement really both limited and universal I find that people who try to bridge the gap this way often are ether Calvinists or Arminians by another name, the same seems to be true here.Also, there are times Keathley borders open theism in his explanation of Abraham s testing and God taking the kingdom out of Saul s hands Keathley s view of overcoming grace seems to be the same as prevenient grace a grace which frees the will so that man can make a choice.Lastly, Keathley uses the typical argument of mystery is not a good answer to which Paul seems to say you have no right to ask that in Romans 9 19 29 You will say to me, therefore, Why then does He still find fault For who can resist His will But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God Romans 9 19 HCSB Keathley discusses nothing new here is this book This book presents a good discussion of a semi historic arminian view I have given it two stars not because I did not enjoy it, but because it does not do what it claims Good book


  9. Taylor Hohulin Taylor Hohulin says:

    Really great read for anyone trying to make sense of how God s sovereignty and man s freedom can coexist The book tends to lean towards an approach of presenting some of the issues that staunch Calvinists face and then presenting a solution provided by a Molinist way of thinking What I appreciated was that Keathley treated me like an idiot He closely followed the tell you what I m gonna tell you, tell you, then tell you what I told you formula in every chapter, and the repetition was really Really great read for anyone trying to make sense of how God s sovereignty and man s freedom can coexist The book tends to lean towards an approach of presenting some of the issues that staunch Calvinists face and then presenting a solution provided by a Molinist way of thinking What I appreciated was that Keathley treated me like an idiot He closely followed the tell you what I m gonna tell you, tell you, then tell you what I told you formula in every chapter, and the repetition was really helpful for me He also fleshed out terms like causal determinism, limited atonement, and other tricky theological concepts so I didn t have to bounce back and forth between the book and Wikipedia to process the arguments.I definitely feel like I leanin a Molinist direction after reading, though I m now evenconvinced that most of the debate in this realm comes down to people who essentially believe the same thing, but disagree on how best to put God in human terms What I like about the Molinist approach is it creates a lot of philosophically satisfying ways to live in the tension between God being sovereign and man being free


  10. Jason Craig Jason Craig says:

    Probably the best book I ve read on the Salvation debate Calvinism vs Arminianism Unlike other books that focus on winning the argument at the expense of the other view points, Kenneth actually tries to explain the opposing view point which is difficult given the number of variations even within Calvinism and then layout the case for the Molinist view point He focuses primarily on the Calvinist position but does give a cursory overview of the Arminian position I was disappointed in how l Probably the best book I ve read on the Salvation debate Calvinism vs Arminianism Unlike other books that focus on winning the argument at the expense of the other view points, Kenneth actually tries to explain the opposing view point which is difficult given the number of variations even within Calvinism and then layout the case for the Molinist view point He focuses primarily on the Calvinist position but does give a cursory overview of the Arminian position I was disappointed in how little time he spent on Romans 9, and I didn t come out convinced that Molinist had there theology perfect , and he is honest enough to admit that all the positions have trouble with some passages including Molinist If your looking for a short read its the best book of the subject I ve read so far


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Salvation and Sovereignty ❰Read❯ ➵ Salvation and Sovereignty Author Kenneth D. Keathley – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk In Salvation and Sovereignty, Kenneth Keathley asks, What shall a Christian do who is convinced of certain central tenets of Calvinism but not its corollaries He then writes, I see salvation as a sove In Salvation and Sovereignty, Kenneth Keathley asks, What shall a Christian do who is convinced of certain central tenets of Calvinism but not its corollaries He then writes, I see salvation as a sovereign work of grace but suspect that the usual Calvinist understanding of Salvation and Kindle - sovereignty that God is the cause of all things is not sustained by the biblical witness as a whole Aiming to resolve this matter, the author argues that just three of Calvinism s five TULIP points can be defended scripturally and instead builds on the ROSES acronym first presented by Timothy George Radical depravity, Overcoming grace, Sovereign election, Eternal life, Singular redemption In relation, Keathley looks at Salvation and Sovereignty through the lens of Molinism, a doctrine named after Luis Molina that is based on a strong notion of God s control and an equally firm affirmation of human freedom.