Salvation & Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach

Salvation & Sovereignty

Salvation & Sovereignty

Of all the possible worlds God could have created, there is one in which you read Ken Keathley’s Salvation & Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach, become convinced that Molinism best explains the biblical teaching on salvation, and make a comment on this blog to that effect. But this raises the question, “Is that possible world the one which God sovereignly willed?” Well, perhaps the only way to know for sure is to purchase the book, read it, and make a (freely chosen) assessment of Keathley’s argument.

Keathley says he wrote the book because (1) he was convinced of certain central tenets of Calvinism but not convinced of certain of its corollaries; (2) he was convinced of certain aspects of Arminianism but not convinced of some of its corollaries. He writes, “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 argues that Timothy George’s ROSES acronym (Radical depravity, Overcoming grace, Sovereign election, Eternal life, Singular redemption) is more helpful than the TULIP acronym for articulating the biblical witness to God’s salvation. Further, he argues that Molinism (a doctrine named after Reformation-era scholar Luis Molina) provides a helpful conceptual framework for reconciling biblical teaching on God’s sovereignty with biblical teaching on human freedom.

Keathley states that he intends for his book to be an argument “towards the truth, rather than about the truth.” In other words, his desire is not to win an argument with Calvinists, but to work toward an understanding of the biblical testimony: “We are brethren, not adversaries, working in a mutual effort. Until we cross the veil, none of us has arrived on the journey of faith. So I look forward to this cooperative effort, convinced that the end result will be that we are better and more faithful witnesses of our common salvation. Calvinism and Molinism are much more similar than they are dissimilar, so I endeavor to avoid what might be called the narcissism of trivial differences.”

DTS Old Testament scholar Gordon Johnston’s review of the book is interesting: “Finally, an approach to the doctrines of salvation that breaks the impasse between the extremes of Calvinism and Arminianism. . . I migrated from Calvinism to Molinism several years ago, but have been unable to point others to a suitable primer-until now.”

We invite you to come study with Dr. Keathley, who teaches courses at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. level at Southeastern, where he is Professor of Theology and Dean of Graduate Studies. Keathley is also the co-author with Mark Rooker of the forthcoming 40 Questions about Creation and Evolution.