Saturday, September 19, 2009

One of James White's Criticisms of Molinism

Often James White points out that Molinism came from the Jesuits, whose founder, Ignatius of Loyola, was on a mission to combat Protestantism in general and the denial of free will in particular. While Molinism has some roots in the church fathers and the scholastics of the middle ages, it certainly was was first articulated and systematized using the scholastic method by the Jesuits. So while White's intent seems to be 'poisoning the well', his claims seem to have some basis. Should this be a concern for Molinists? I don't think so; what's interesting here is not Ignatius' intention but rather his method. Ignatius attempted to strengthen Catholic countries via education, so he help found schools and universities. Molinism is the result of intense study and serious reflection upon the issues related the God's foreknowledge and human freedom. The three early Jesuits most commonly associated with Molinism, Molina, Bellarmine and Suarez, were all unquestionably highly educated and bright. While reading Suarez, it's hard to not get the impression that the man read everything and I haven't seen a painting of him, I picture him as having an enormous egg where most people have a head. So throwing out Molinism because of it's association with Jesuits is a mistake for those who take education seriously.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Files: Vance A CRITIQUE OF THE POTTER’S FREEDOM

Laurence Vance's article A CRITIQUE OF THE POTTER’S FREEDOM by James White identifies, catalogues and handles White's rhetoric in favor of Calvinism. While the focus of the article is on rhetoric, Vance does make some incisive points. First, in some circles Baptist Calvinists are seen as only second-class Calvinists. Second, the fact that God is sovereign is obvious. If God was not sovereign he would not be God. The rulers of many countries have absolute sovereignty, but that does not mean they are holy or even good. The important
thing about God is that he is sovereign yet holy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Files: S. M. BAUGH AND THE MEANING OF FOREKNOWLEDGE: ANOTHER LOOK

Tom McCall and Keith Stanglin's article S. M. BAUGH AND THE MEANING OF FOREKNOWLEDGE: ANOTHER LOOK reviews Baugh's arguments that the meaning of foreknowledge in the NT renders "impossible" the "Arminian notion of 'foreseen faith'. Tom and Keith do a good job pointing out that Baugh assumes the irreconcilability of foreknowledge and free will from the outset (without arguing the point) and also that Baugh's view is contrary to the teachings of the early church. Unfortunately, the online article is incomplete and I couldn't find the rest of it via google, but what I read was interesting.