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Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

For those who like to discuss and debate theology. This is a forum for people who enjoy strong and lively debate with people who may not be likeminded. Participants are requested to always treat other opinions with respect.

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Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby beaedwards » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:40 pm

Mike and I have been having a happy debate over the last several years. A new element has recently been added and I am desiring your valued opinions. :thankssign

Yes, I realize I am opening a theological can of worms.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Come forth » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:00 pm

Your husband just got awarded a medal for bravery in another, unrelated, post, and now here you go trying to top it off; he took the cake but now you want to put the cheery on it.

For me, it's not really about the logical arguments of molinism, and I guess I do see them as logical, the sovereignty of God or the free will of man. It is all about our relationship with God as a parent. And that has to contain all of the aspects of all of these beliefs.

God's sovereignty is beyond question; just as a mother and father's authority is beyond question over the life of a child. Without His divine will, awesome love, incredible and beyond understanding foreknowledge and predestination of our lives, we would be without hope.

But as that child grows the parents expect the child to grow not only physically but also in wisdom and understanding; to ask the right questions to come to understand cause and effect. The logical struggle of these questions, I believe reflected by molinism, are an essential part of growing up.

Ultimately all children leave the home and become responsible for themselves. But hopefully all will maintain a loving relationship with their parents for the rest of their lives. I, for one and I know one of many, grew up without this healthy parent/family relationship and it really has been very detrimental to my Dad/son understanding. I'm into what most call the twilight of life and I'm still struggling to mature; but that only serves to make the importance of the first two stages all the more clear.

however, all of that said, we cannot for one second claim to even begin to understand God in our human limitations. The problem with ALL of these theologies is that they ALL think they are right; but they are all only a part of a much greater picture. if we could understand God fully, we would be God.

A time is coming when we will see in the mirror clearly; but it isn't here yet. When it does come I believe that all of the proponents of each of these theologies are going to have to apologies to each other on two counts; for being so obstinate in not seeing what was right on the other side and secondly for not admitting the wrong on their own.

My last word is that we need to be very careful when we try to put God in a box of our own understanding. It is almost as if we have to do this, it is after all a part of growing up, but as we do it we must understand that we can never actually succeed; he will remain beyond our understanding until, in His own time, He reveals it all.

Blessings; Graham
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby beaedwards » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:57 pm

You made many points that echo my own.

You wrote


Come forth wrote:all of that said, we cannot for one second claim to even begin to understand God in our human limitations. The problem with ALL of these theologies is that they ALL think they are right; but they are all only a part of a much greater picture. if we could understand God fully, we would be God.

A time is coming when we will see in the mirror clearly; but it isn't here yet. When it does come I believe that all of the proponents of each of these theologies are going to have to apologies to each other on two counts; for being so obstinate in not seeing what was right on the other side and secondly for not admitting the wrong on their own.

My last word is that we need to be very careful when we try to put God in a box of our own understanding.


He and His ways are so much bigger than anything we can comprehend. He intended it to be a mystery!

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:15 pm

Bea, interesting. :) What is the debate and who is the Armenian?

Molinism, middle knowledge is a philosophy that's been around for a very long time but seems to be making a come-back. The biggest problem with it (for me) is the precious little biblical proofs.

Middle knowledge is man's way of trying to reconcile God's sovereignty and man's freedom - to try and make sense of it. Supporters also think it gives a more satisfactory answer to the problem of evil (I don't see it).

Most Christians will agree that God is sovereign over all things, except the things they don't want Him to be sovereign over. Personally, I do not see a problem with free will and God's sovereignty because man is free to choose - and the Bible says the unregenerate are slaves to sin, love the darkness, all are evil..etc. Man will always freely choose sin. God, in His GRACE (hallelujah) sovereignly chooses to free some from the bondage to sin. God is sovereign. Man is free. Waalaa :)
Last edited by Paula22466 on Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:18 pm

beaedwards wrote:You made many points that echo my own.

You wrote


Come forth wrote:all of that said, we cannot for one second claim to even begin to understand God in our human limitations. The problem with ALL of these theologies is that they ALL think they are right; but they are all only a part of a much greater picture. if we could understand God fully, we would be God.

A time is coming when we will see in the mirror clearly; but it isn't here yet. When it does come I believe that all of the proponents of each of these theologies are going to have to apologies to each other on two counts; for being so obstinate in not seeing what was right on the other side and secondly for not admitting the wrong on their own.

My last word is that we need to be very careful when we try to put God in a box of our own understanding.


He and His ways are so much bigger than anything we can comprehend. He intended it to be a mystery!

With all due respect (seriously)..I get so tired of hearing this. No godly theologian thinks they have everything right and knows God perfectly. But God did give us His Word to know Him, to study Him and His ways, to understand Him to the best of our ability - and there is nothing wrong with trying.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby mikeedwards » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:41 pm

Hey All,

I did not know Bea was going to post this topic. We have spoke about it on and off. Usually I have never been that concerned with the argument. However for some reason, after hanging out with some strongly reformed guys, it has been on my mind. I know the arguments for Calvinism (C) better than Armenianism (A) but for most of my life had been naturally bent towards A, not realizing this because I did not know that A existed. I think most people who read the Bible and not books on theology come away from the Bible believing it is a personal choice, "I lay before you life and death, choose life". I know I did and anyone that ever mentioned Christianity to me presented it as a choice. It is not until we get into theology and looking for help in interpreting scripture that we are often led into the knowledge of A and C. Personally I see issues with both views and I am leaning towards Molinism (M). For me it seems to answer a lot of questions.

Here is some information on M for those who are not aware of it. In a way it brings to the picture to mind of Jesus driving a car. Inside the car there are legalists and liberals. They all keep reaching for the wheel and trying to grab hold and veer right or left. Jesus just keeps going straight. You see on one side of the road is the ditch called legalism and on the other side is the ditch called liberalism. Not focusing on Jesus and we can certainly end up in one of those ditches. We do help each other though. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone was in one camp or the other. We would be stuck in a ditch for sure.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/molinism-vs-calvinism
http://www.reasonablefaith.aorg/molinis ... e-election

Added Later on Middle Knowledge.
http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcrai ... ddle1.html

I agree with what Graham said, our vision is very limited.

Personally I am most interested on any of your thoughts on Molinism and corporate election.

Thanks for your membership and support.

God Bless, Mike
We need God's Grace because of God's Truth.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Come forth » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:05 pm

Paula said.

With all due respect (seriously)..I get so tired of hearing this. No godly theologian thinks they have everything right and knows God perfectly.


That is exactly why we need to keep hearing it and admitting it. Actually, while most theologians will agree that they do not have it all right, as you point out, it is still amazing how they will still declare themselves as either A, C or M; which means the ones they do not belong to are wrong. And, also with all serious, due respect, you yourself have clearly done this in the past while telling others they are wrong.

Mike, I need to look deeper into Molinism before I share more on that subject. Like you, I probably lean more that way, but never want to take a stand which in any way may limit my understanding of God.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:48 am

I would like to enter this discussion, but I have to confess to all of you my ignorance of the meaning of the terms and all the theology that goes along with them. I'm not sure if I even want to dig too deep into each of the philosophies themselves. I want to hear what scripture says. If I had to say that I had a "leaning," I think it would be more towards Calvinism because I definitely believe that no one can come to the Father unless the Spirit draws Him. I do not believe that man will choose all by himself to follow Jesus unless he's received a personal invitation from Jesus, and I think scripture backs that up.

In fact, look back through the entire scripture--even to the Old Testament--weren't they all chosen by God? God chose whom He would reveal Himself to.

I am very interested in what all of you have to share because this discussion can give us a measure of peace, I think, about how we share the gospel with others. When we realize that it is God who makes the hearing ear and the seeing eye, it frees us from the pressure of "getting it right" when we share. I don't mean that we don't have a responsibility to tell the truth of the gospel message--because we do, and if we don't get THAT right, we are accountable. BUT . . .when we've told the simple truth: "Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Him," we can leave the results in God's hands.

From my own personal experience of sharing the gospel and watching people walk away and still not choose Jesus, I can say that, although I have left it in God's hands to open eyes, I am still troubled for that person's soul. That's where my heart breaks, and it is not so easy to find peace for that person. That is where I have questions for God. Although I can take joy in my salvation, I still feel pangs for those who stand without and still wonder what will happen to them, even though the Bible tells us what will ultimately happen to them--and, I still pray for God to reveal Himself. I simply cannot imagine people walking away after seeing Jesus and knowing who He is . . .but THEY DO walk away all the time. They are "caught," "stuck." They are trapped in their own minds--still believing that what they have in themselves is as good as it gets. They love their lives here and cannot let go of their own thinking . . .WE ALL still struggle with that, even after we have met Christ. (At least, I do.)

I do not believe that salvation is something that man can choose to believe in unless his heart is changed first, and that only happens after a personal moment of revelation. Each one must hear the voice of Jesus. If it is simply a change of mind without the supernatural "regeneration" of a person's heart coming first, then it is an act of a person's will. People can choose to walk toward Jesus, but until they hear Him inviting them and lay down their hearts to Him, all their actions are works of "man" and not the supernatural act of God.

If we could choose "righteousness" all on our own, why did Jesus have to die? I'm pretty convinced that the only "right" thing we can choose to do on our own is fall at His feet and claim HIS righteousness and all the Grace that comes with that--and, we can't even do that until we see ourselves in need of that. The call is personal. The relationship is personal. There has to be a moment in time for each and every one of us where we KNOW we have entered into LIFE with Jesus. We are all like Lazarus, dead in our graves, until we hear Jesus calling us forth. Dead men and women cannot bring themselves to life.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby pheeweed » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:59 am

carpenterdaughter wrote:
If we could choose "righteousness" all on our own, why did Jesus have to die? I'm pretty convinced that the only "right" thing we can choose to do on our own is fall at His feet and claim HIS righteousness and all the Grace that comes with that--and, we can't even do that until we see ourselves in need of that. The call is personal. The relationship is personal. There has to be a moment in time for each and every one of us where we KNOW we have entered into LIFE with Jesus. We are all like Lazarus, dead in our graves, until we hear Jesus calling us forth. Dead men and women cannot bring themselves to life.


So well said.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby mikeedwards » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:21 am

I really would like people to read the information on Molinism. Named after a 16th century Jesuit it suggests a corporate election. In other words God determined from the beginning of time that anyone who chose to place their faith in Jesus would be the chosen the elect. God has placed the call to anyone/everyone just like the Kings invitation in Matt 22:9

8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

The King, God knows who they are, who will accept but we still have free will to choose. This would be opposed to Calvinism and God only giving His grace to the elect, certain people to come.

You will find many detractors of Molinism because it is not well known and it is attacked by theologians from Calvinism & Armenianism persuasion, much larger groups. However the information I posted is from one of its staunch supporters and strongest defenders of Christianity around the world at Universities and world stages. Bill Craig is a stand up guy who loves the Lord. I did not chose Molinism because of Craig. I had trouble with Calvinism and discovered Molinism which seems to fit better. Craig who I highly respect just happens to be a supporter.

I am not usually theologically deep and this argument has never really interested me before. Bea is much deeper and is attending Moody online. However after spending a month with a Calvinist pastor and friend while he open air preached six times a week for his 26th year in Florida. God really peaked my interest. I like the Calvinist thought that God chose me. I like it because it seems so foolish for God to choose me. However one of my biggest issues with Calvinism is that God says over and over He is not a respecter of persons. Giving some the ability to be saved and not others seems to me as though God would be respecting persons. This is why I lean towards a corporate election as promoted in Molinism. To me it answers many questions and reading scripture like Romans 9 in this light really opens things up.

I know these type of debates can get heated but I am asking all to refrain from any attacks. I honestly am seeking information here. We should do this in an respectful manner so we can all explore these thoughts. We are working together here.

God Bless, Mike
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:00 pm

Bea is attending Moody online? Way to go Bea! :coolsign

I suppose us women will have to take the theological reigns around here.

Kidding!

Kind of.

I'll be back later to give more of my opinions on middle knowledge, and why it's not biblical (in a kind, non-threatening sort of way, of course). Mike, thanks for the reminder: we are all in this together, sometimes we forget.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:02 pm

carpenterdaughter wrote:
If we could choose "righteousness" all on our own, why did Jesus have to die? I'm pretty convinced that the only "right" thing we can choose to do on our own is fall at His feet and claim HIS righteousness and all the Grace that comes with that--and, we can't even do that until we see ourselves in need of that. The call is personal. The relationship is personal. There has to be a moment in time for each and every one of us where we KNOW we have entered into LIFE with Jesus. We are all like Lazarus, dead in our graves, until we hear Jesus calling us forth. Dead men and women cannot bring themselves to life.


Brilliant
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Come forth » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:18 pm

CD wrote

If we could choose "righteousness" all on our own, why did Jesus have to die? I'm pretty convinced that the only "right" thing we can choose to do on our own is fall at His feet and claim HIS righteousness and all the Grace that comes with that--and, we can't even do that until we see ourselves in need of that. The call is personal. The relationship is personal. There has to be a moment in time for each and every one of us where we KNOW we have entered into LIFE with Jesus. We are all like Lazarus, dead in our graves, until we hear Jesus calling us forth. Dead men and women cannot bring themselves to life.


This is extremely well said; however it is not Calvinist because, even though the personal choice is to simply fall at the feet of the Lord, it is still personal choice.

It is impossible for us to be righteous in our own strength or to even consider the power of our choice to be stronger than the evil which our hearts store. This is where the argument of these different voices fails; it doesn't understand the truth behind the choice that one makes. I cannot make a choice to fight my carnal nature alone and be saved. However, as you so beautifully put it, I can choose to believe the truth that in Him all things are possible and fall at His feet in surrender.

I firmly believe that many parables and Scriptures support Mike's point about God calling everyone (2Peter 3:9) and that it is His desire that none should fail to choose life. When we do choose life, that in no way detracts from the Truth that life is only available to us because of what God the Father has done to make it available; but nor does it detract from the fact that if we do not choose life then death is the alternative.

As I look at either A or C I see that one minimizes God's Sovereign power and authority while the other turns God into a despot who creates humans for the fires of hell (or whatever your understanding of hell is). Neither accepts the truth of the other. At first glance, I still need to study more, molinism appears to want to embrace the truths of the other two; and that sounds far more Scripturally sound to me.

Of course, it is the supporters of any one of these concepts who become the opponents of the others. There is a grave danger in having an open mind to the beliefs and ideas of how Scripture is interpreted, but there is also a great need for us to be open to hear the Truth. As we explore these thoughts and ideas in a forum such as this we can become the prophetic counsel that leads us deeper into the Light of Truth.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:32 pm

Come forth wrote:Paula said.

With all due respect (seriously)..I get so tired of hearing this. No godly theologian thinks they have everything right and knows God perfectly.


That is exactly why we need to keep hearing it and admitting it. Actually, while most theologians will agree that they do not have it all right, as you point out, it is still amazing how they will still declare themselves as either A, C or M; which means the ones they do not belong to are wrong. And, also with all serious, due respect, you yourself have clearly done this in the past while telling others they are wrong.

Blessings, Graham.

Graham, I don't know of anytime in the recent past when I have abruptly told someone they were "wrong." I may have shared my views and given biblical support for those views and said why the opposing view is not biblical. The sum of all of that means, "This is what I believe and why." I agree that occasionally we do need to be reminded we do not know everything perfectly about God, but allow me to remind you there are many truths in the Bible which are crystal clear and if someone denies those truths - they are WRONG.

According to your philosophy, we should allow every heresy known to man to infiltrate the church since no one can be sure of anything anyway. Yes?

If you are strictly speaking of A vs. C - the Bible is also crystal clear that salvation comes by faith alone in Christ alone, it's the avenues of how we get to that saving faith that we argue over. If I believe we get there by God's sovereignty, don't I have the right to say so? The reason I don't preface every comment I make with, "I don't know God perfectly, but..." is because it's only stating the obvious.

Having said all that, I want to say I do agree with that because we are Christians we ought to speak to one another with love and respect and if I have not done that, I apologize. However, let's not confuse love and respect with a refusal to take a stand on orthodoxy, because I will defend it to the death.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:41 pm

Come forth wrote:
As I look at either A or C I see that one minimizes God's Sovereign power and authority while the other turns God into a despot who creates humans for the fires of hell (or whatever your understanding of hell is).

When you look at either A or C - are you looking in the Bible? (not accusing, just asking) How can you say that C "turns God into a despot who creates humans for the fires of hell," when we know people go to Hell because they sin. Right? Hell is the punishment for breaking God's Laws, Romans 6:23. Hell is the eternal prison, the consummate conviction, etc. So, tell me how is God responsible for "creating humans for the fire of hell"? Don't you believe people sin out of free choice? Surely you don't believe people sin because God decrees it. If people sin because they freely choose to sin, they go to Hell because they choose to.
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown

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