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Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach Paperback – January 1, 2010

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About the Author

Kenneth Keathley is professor of Theology and dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he earned his M.Div. and Ph.D.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Academic (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805431985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805431988
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Salvation And Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach
by
Kenneth 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.
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I recently became a Molinist, but hadn't found a book that I could fully understand until this one. I am a huge William Lane Craig fan, but so many times I find myself having to go back and reread the same paragraph several times before I understand it. As you may or may not know, Dr. Craig is one of the most prolific thinkers of our time, and is a self proclaimed Molinist. His works are great, but sometimes hard to fully comprehend. Kenneth Keathley steps in and makes Molinism more understandable. Although it is not void of difficult ideas to understand, it is, I believe, written more for the laity.

Dr. Keathley begins by defining several terms associated with this field, and continues to do so as new ones arise. He goes on to show that not only is Molinism biblically supportable, but that it is also logically consistent. He sets forth many arguments that Calvinists need to think about and reply to. He notes the subtle dangers of accepting determinism and compatibilism and challenges his readers to seek the truth. He explains how soft libertarianism honors Scripture best by affirming both God's sovereignty and man's freedom. I don't want to give too much away, so I will stop here, but I highly recommend this book. It should be noted that Keathley is coming from the reformed tradition, so it is NOT anti-Calvinist (too much literature these days is). However, like he says in at the beginning of the book, the Reformed tradition and its TULIP have some problems that must be dealt with. I believe Dr. Keathley provides a biblical response to some important questions raised by any truth seeking Christian. Even if you are not convinced of Molinism, this book will still provide some valuable insights into God's relationship to humankind as well as challenge the way you think.
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In recent years Reformed theology has experienced a significant resurgence. Books, blogs, seminaries . . . the evidence is hard to miss. Several of the emphases of the Reformed resurgence have helped restore much-needed balance to evangelical Christianity. It is unfortunate that the Reformed have often been branded with stereotypes that are ill-founded, unfair, and at times blatantly ignorant.

Many believers, however, are not comfortable with a fully Reformed soteriology. Neither are they willing to accept the alternative Arminian position. Variously called "four-pointers," "moderate Calvinists," "Calminians," and other less-repeatable epithets, they seek to reconcile two equally Scriptural truths: the free-will of man and the sovereignty of God.

In Salvation and Sovereignty, Dr. Kenneth Keathley advances the cause for just such a median position. He argues for a soteriology that finds this balance, while avoiding the respective blind-spots of both alternative systems and remaining faithfully based in Scriptural truth.

Based on a Molinist understanding of God's middle knowledge, the author replaces the familiar TULIP with a soteriology of ROSES:

R - Radical depravity,

O - Overcoming grace,

S - Sovereign election,

E - Eternal life,

S - Singular redemption.

Each point reconciles the Biblical truths of the sovereignty and free will.

Whether the author is successful in this "balancing act" will largely depend on the presuppositions of the reader. This book will not satisfy critics from either side. In fact, this "middle ground" could become a theological "no-man's-land." I suspect Keathley will be critiqued by both sides, with each labeling him as the other.
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