Author offers biblical case for Molinism as middle way between Calvinism, Arminianism

In his chapter for the new book “Whosoever Will,” author Kenneth Keathley opens with two questions: “First, is it possible to know absolutely or even confidently that one is saved, and second, is it possible for those who currently believe they are saved to have assurance that they will remain in a state of grace until the day of redemption?”

He notes, “It is more than just a little ironic that though they travel different routes, many Arminians and Calvinists arrive basically at the same answer?assurance is based on evidence of sanctification.”

In a separate volume released by B&H Academic, Keathley devotes more time to the corollaries that arise out of certain central tenets of Calvinism. The new release, titled “Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach,” provides the author’s argument that only three of Calvinism’s five TULIP points can be defended scripturally.

Keathley examines both subjects through the lens of Molinism, finding the model faithful to the biblical witness. Luis Molina was a 16th-century Jesuit priest who is credited with arguing for “a strong notion of God’s control and an equally firm affirmation of human freedom.” Keathley also cites the Anabaptist theologian Balthasar Hubmaier for holding a similar position 50 years earlier.

“Like someone who comes to embrace premillennialism but remains unimpressed with the standard Dispensational eschatology generally associated with it, I see salvation as a sovereign work of grace but suspect that the usual Calvinist understanding of sovereignty (that God is the cause of all things) is not sustained by the biblical witness as a whole,” Keathley writes in his introduction.

He builds upon author Timothy George’s presentation of ROSES as an acronym to replace TULIP while admitting he and George do not “prune roses exactly the same way” since George favors reformed theology.

Both books?”Whosoever Will” and “Salvation and Sovereignty”?feature user-friendly indexes of subject, name and Scripture. While the content will stretch readers intellectually, laymen, ministers and theologians will find them informative.

In his foreword to Keathley’s book, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson describes the volume as essential reading for two groups?”those who are uncomfortable with Calvinism and feel that it has exceeded the actual witness of Scripture, while ignoring other major emphases in Scripture,” and Calvinistic friends who hold their convictions sincerely.

Encouraging the latter group to give it a read, Patterson writes, “Those of you who do not change your minds will nevertheless have been exposed to an irenic and profoundly Christian response, which without trace of uncharitableness should move all toward taking the gospel to the world until Jesus comes.”

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