43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
A very consistent argument for both Divine sovereignty and free will,
This review is from: Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach (Paperback)Salvation And Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach
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.