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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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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Colswann1 » Wed May 01, 2013 12:28 pm

Paula22466 wrote:You are correct, Luther and Augustine also taught sola gratia. To say all of these great minds throughout Christian history and even until today were all wrong is, like Bea said, ludicrous at best.


Most of them were wrong on infant baptism, or were they right?
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Wed May 01, 2013 1:34 pm

Well, my dear Colin, I shoud thank you for bringing that up because I am quite "on the fence" concerning infant baptist, which should prove to all of my critics that I do not think I have everything figured out. :mrgreen:
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Wed May 01, 2013 10:17 pm

Paula, I think you are wrong when you say that Romans 1 has absolutely nothing to do with salvation. ALL of scripture has EVERYTHING to do with salvation. The entire Word of God is the story of God revealing Himself to mankind and redeeming us.

If I may be permitted to express what I think . . .and I'm not trying to be antagonistic, I just want you to see that in order to have a discussion, we are going to have to be able to say "I think." When I say, "I think," or "I feel,"I am doing it to separate my thoughts in response to the scripture I read or to my own life experiences or what someone else says from what God's Word says. I am not saying that what I think is always true; I am simply sharing what is going on with me as I struggle to understand what is happening to me and in this world where I live. In order to be able to test what we think with other people who will point us to TRUTH, we have to be able to share what we think.

Anyway, I sense/feel/think that what is troubling you most about this discussion is the "relativity" of our culture that you mentioned earlier. You are standing firm against that and want to make certain that that kind of thinking does not creep in here.

I don't feel like that is what is happening, here, though--it's not on my part, anyway. Nonetheless, I very much feel as if this conversation should be over for me. When it turns into me attempting to defend myself or my ability to have this discussion, then I don't need to be here anymore. The answer to the question is NOT about what I think, what I feel--it's also not about what Charles Spurgeon or Sproul or Chan or Wesley or any other man thinks. Yes, we learn from each other and the testimonies of those who have gone before us, but when we begin to identify ourselves with a particular person or sect or denomination or philosophy, we are on shaky ground. I may worship in a particular church because that is where I am most at home, but I would much rather be called a "Believer" or a "Follower of Jesus" than a Baptist or a Presbyterian or a Calvinist or Arminian or Molinist or whatever label we like to put on ourselves.

I appreciate the chance to discuss these things, as I have said before, because it encourages me to know that I have Brothers and Sisters all over the world who also struggle to understand a lot of things. It also causes me to search the Word of God and to ask for answers from the only One who can reveal them--and He's done that for me. He's done it by reminding me, "Why are you worrying about what I am going to do in the lives of other people, Frankie. You, follow me."

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Thu May 02, 2013 7:20 am

I'm sitting here this morning, in the midst of my own little struggle. I'm saying, "Just leave this alone and walk away from it. You're going to end up showing your own humanity, here, Frankie. You're actually responding in offense to something you took personally that may or may not have been directed at you personally when just a few days you ago you admonished others NOT to do the same thing. You need to just delete your previous comment and back out of this discussion and let it rest. You need to behave yourself or else you're going to end up pointing to self." Which is exactly what I'm doing right now. BUT . . . sometimes forgetting ourselves means we are willing to offer ourselves up, warts and all, to be used by the ONE who is higher than all of us. If we believe that we are His and everything about us--even our warts--can be used by a Holy God to reveal Himself to others, we have to be willing to speak even when being silent is more comfortable and a whole lot easier for us. The truth is, in the mix of all our voices, something beautiful and extraordinary happens. God DOES use us to speak to the hearts of others. We just don't always know who is listening and who needs to hear and who will respond to what He moves us to say. We respond to His prompting more than we respond to our own desires to preserve our pride or our dignity or even our personal peace. In fact, when the Spirit moves us to speak, we won't have peace until we do it--even if that means we end up throwing ourselves out there to be judged and evaluated by others.

Having said ALL that, I feel led to say, be careful, Paula. Be careful making blanket statements like this:
Paula22466 wrote:Let's get something clear, my friends. There is no Bible, and no Christian (who understands the Bible) who contests the fact that God has made a choice concerning who would be saved and who would be lost before the world began (Ephesians 1:4, Matthew 25:34, Acts 13:48, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 8:29)


I know many Bible believing Christians who do not see the same thing you see in those scriptures. I, in fact, do not see in those scriptures a definitive line between God's establishing the Body of Christ (corporate election) and individual salvation. There are many who would argue that the verses you mention are talking about God deciding from the foundations of time that He would establish a people (the church as the Body of Christ--and it's not a denomination). How HE adds to that body is the "mystery." When you make a statement like that, I hope you do it carefully, realizing what you have said. You have said, in it, that those who do not see it the way God has led you to see it do not believe God's Word and have implied that they don't understand God's Word. Be careful making a statement like that. You realize that your own beliefs--or at least my understanding of what you believe--say that God's Sovereign Will is responsible for giving us understanding. So, your own beliefs have to say that God is responsible for all those people who don't see it like you see it. It is really God that you are accusing. From where I am, that is why some people in this discussion resist what you have to say.

THEY KNOW that they know God--and everyone in this discussion has claimed that the only reason they know God is because of Jesus. They talk to Him and trust Him and walk with Him and learn from Him--so for you to say that God has withheld something from them is an insult to the Savior who has made Himself known to them, and it is an insult to what "mystery" has happened in their own hearts.

Also--and please, do not misunderstand me--I am in no way, shape, or form discounting the previously mentioned scholars--but God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. That is scriptural. Jesus also exhorted us to come to Him as little children, knowing that we know very little and THAT IS A GOOD THING. We know what is most important. I cannot get to God but by Jesus. Our constant desire to know everything complicates the simple. I have just as much to learn about trusting the Lord and following Him from my 88 year old grandmother who has LIVED it her entire life and the eight year old new converts in my own church family as I do from the great scholars.

What God keeps showing me that He is about during this time in our history as men and women is unifying His Body. He wants us together, all proclaiming the ONE TRUTH that will save many. There is no way to the Father but by Jesus. When we do that, sheep will be drawn to the fold. When we sit and discuss who is and is not part of the Body, we are wasting precious time. Yes, we want to understand. Yes, there is a purpose for theological discussions. If you say you believe in God's Sovereign Will, then you must believe in His Will that the Body of Christ be as One and that He WILL get us to that place. We are only One when we preach Christ and Him crucified.

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Biblical Texts for Molinism

Postby mikeedwards » Thu May 02, 2013 7:55 am

I am adding this for your review about the scripture support for Gods knowledge of counterfactuals utilized in M. I also did this because it is much easier to quickly review this with our scripture tagger. Still reading Refreshing Grace, it is a good book not overly deep. It looks at A,C and M. I recommend it and if any of you are prime members at Amazon we can lend it to you on your Kindle when we are finished.

Molinists have often argued that their position is the Biblical one by indicating passages they understand to teach God's middle knowledge. Molina advanced the following three texts: 1 Samuel 23:6-10, Proverbs 4:11, and Matthew 11:23. Other passages which Molinists use are Ezekiel 3:6-7 NIV, Jeremiah 38:17-18, 1 Corinthians 2:8, Deuteronomy 28:51-57,, Matthew 23:27-32, Matthew 12:7, Matthew 24:43, Luke 16:30-31, and Luke 22:67-68. William Lane Craig has argued at length that many of Christ's statements seem to indicate middle knowledge. Craig cites the following passages: Matthew 17:27, John 21:6, John 15:22-24, John 18:36, Luke 4:24-44 and Matthew 26:24.[12] But, it should be noted that the most these texts indicate is that God has counterfactual knowledge. In order for this knowledge to be middle knowledge, it must be logically prior to God's free knowledge, something the Biblical texts mentioned do not seem to affirm or deny. However, William Lane Craig argues that if God’s decree were logically prior to His middle knowledge, that would “make God the author of sin and to obliterate human freedom, since in that case it is God who decrees which counterfactuals about creaturely free acts are true, including counterfactuals concerning sinful human decisions. Thus, we have good reason for thinking that if such counterfactuals are now true or false, they must have been so logically prior to God's decree.”[13]

Thomas Flint claims the twin foundations of Molinism are God’s providence and man’s freedom.[14] Molinism harmonizes texts teaching God’s providence (such as Acts 4:28 or Ephesians 1:11) with texts emphasizing man’s choice (such as Deuteronomy 30:19 or Luke 13:34).

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molinism
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Thu May 02, 2013 8:53 am

CD,I love you but NO, it's not okay, that we know very little (that we come to Christ that way- yes, but not to stay) It's a tremendous problem in Christendom when the atheists knows the Bible better than we do.

And yes, these kind of discussions are very important, not every discussion has to be evangelical. We are all saved here, after all.

I was not and would not imply that people here do not know God, I would imply and did imply that some here do not know their Bible. And I would gently imply that perhaps anyone who would take offense at my post might ask themselves if they truly know what their Bible says.

I will stand by my previous post
Paula22466 wrote:Let's get something clear, my friends. There is no Bible, and no Christian (who understands the Bible) who contests the fact that God has made a choice concerning who would be saved and who would be lost before the world began (Ephesians 1:4, Matthew 25:34, Acts 13:48, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 8:29)


I didn't really understand what you said, where you seemed to be disagreeing with the fact that God chooses. (although in previous posts you clearly said you believed it was a choice) It's true that some theologians see these passages as God choosing "in Christ" and others, God choosing individuals, either way, God is choosing before "the foundation of the world." But none can deny that God chooses and He does it beforehand. I'm not sure how anyone could get around it, it's perfectly clear. Then again, Mormoms, JWs, etc, get around bigger things than that I guess....

I have taught these passages many times, and when we are discussing them, the teacher in me tends to come out (I'm sure you can relate). This is a THEOLOGY forum.
This will be my absolute final word in this thread UNLESS and UNTIL someone wants to bring me some actual Scripture to discuss.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Thu May 02, 2013 9:21 am

Why did Jesus tell us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"?

From my understanding, that would have to mean that there are situations in our lives where God knows we will sin. That DOES NOT mean that is what God would want us to do, but He knows us and knows that we will and that the responsibility for that sin is not on Him but on us because we chose to satisfy our flesh in that given moment. If God wanted to, He could Divinely arrange circumstances in our lives where we are not tempted and not placed in situations where we must choose--but if you believe in God's ultimate Sovereignty, you must believe that He allows us to fall. WHY? Once again, it is to prove HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, HIS GRACE, HIS MERCY--His ability to take even our sin and use it to display who He is and our need for reconciliation with Him. God knows what we will do. He knows what we will choose, that does not mean that is what He wanted us to do. It means that He knew we would, but He had plans even to redeem our foolish choices. If you continue to read on in Romans (particularly Chapter 3), perhaps you might see what I see there. We exist to prove GOD'S righteousness, not our own. The very fact that we cannot fulfill the law proves who God is. He knew man would sin, but He did not create sin. He sent Jesus so that we might come to Him through faith in HIS PROMISE and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Romans 3:25-26). He knew some men (and women) would not trust that promise--but even their mistrust proves His Word. The battle is not about proving our "right standing." It is very much about proving GOD is exactly who He has said He is from the first moment He revealed Himself to mankind.

In order for me to pray saying, "Lead me not into temptation," I have to acknowledge the fact that God's Divine and ultimate purposes might include placing me in a situation where He knows I am going to sin or allowing me to choose to put myself in that situation. For me, here is where the "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" comes in. I do not know what paths God may ordain for me to walk. I don't even know where my own foolish choices may lead me. That is why the "Good News" is good news to me. My own sins and the sinful choices of other people will have consequences in this life--consequences that lead to the death of my flesh and to darkness. That is the ultimate truth. The wages of sin IS DEATH. HOWEVER!! In Him, through Him, by Him, my outward man may be perishing, but my inward man is being renewed day by day.

There is only one thing I can boast of--salvation from the fall--and it was a gift given to me (that I chose to accept) from the Creator of the Universe.

Does this make me a "Molinist," Mike? I would prefer to be identified with Jesus and Jesus alone, but human language will give us a label, won't it?

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Thu May 02, 2013 11:31 am

Paula, you are right I took offense to your statement, and I am still taking offense. What offends me is your saying that because I do not see what you see in the same scriptures I do not understand or know God's Word. That offends me very much. Why? You are right. There is MUCH in scripture that I cannot completely explain. There is MUCH more that I should study and learn. I am guilty as charged of not knowing enough of God's Word--but your own admonition is that we do not have understanding unless the Sovereign will of God gives us understanding. What good is my will to study and learn if God won't reveal Himself to me? Calvinism argues that we can't know unless God reveals the TRUTH to us, so why would you, then, say we need to study scripture?

What is the point if there is not a meeting place between our free will and God's Providence? I am offended because you are wrong to say that because I don't see what you see that I don't understand scripture. I have a lot to learn from you, but when you present what you know to me from that place that says that I don't understand unless I see it the way you see it or because I don't know my Bible, I am going to immediately put up a wall against you and begin to defend myself and not share anything with you at all because you will disqualify what I see, arguing that I don't know God's Word. If what you see is TRUTH, we're all going to end up seeing it your way, eventually, aren't we? Maybe you believe that . . .maybe you are right. Today, I do not have a peace saying that.

I believe that the Holy Spirit of God calls us all to repentance, but we do not all choose to accept the Grace God offers through Jesus Christ. Why DON'T we all choose life? Calvinism would say because God chooses to whom He will offer Grace and that when God offers Grace, we will automatically choose it because Grace is irresistible. GOD DID offer Grace to all of mankind. His name is Jesus. People reject Him daily, and God's Word tells us that the only unforgivable sin is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. How can men reject Him unless they have been offered Him? If you believe Calvinism, then people who have never been given an opportunity to accept or reject Jesus have an "out." They have a way to put the responsibility on God and not themselves for their rejection of Christ. If they have never been offered Christ, they can argue that Jesus' sacrifice covers their guilt under God's law. I dont' think God's Word gives people that "out." He KNEW the Pharisees would reject Him, and He knew why, but He still offered them the opportunity to choose not to.

I understand, that it may appear that I am "waffling." I am absolutely not questioning the Sovereignty of God. I am also not ready to say that it doesn't appear that God goes to greater lengths to capture the hearts of some than He does others (Paul, for example), but that is not because He isn't willing that ALL should come. He simply knows that no matter what Grace is extended, there are those who won't. That truth right there is why we will have tears that need wiping in heaven--at least that's the way I've come to understand that scripture. I am going to be weeping and crying over those who would not see what was right in front of their faces the entire time. God allows this blindness and does not violate our free will to reject His Promise. He has shown who Jesus is and people refuse to believe because they trust their own reason or would rather live to satisfy their flesh than trust in the Promise of God.

I'm not waffling . . .maybe I am discovering that I believe the same thing a lot of other sheep believe and that someone gave that belief a name: "Molinism." Why does it matter? I don't know . . .but evidently it does, or I wouldn't be sitting here having this discussion. See, I do believe in Divine Providence, but I also had somewhere else to be today, but I chose to be here, instead. Where is God going to take me after this? I don't know. I will trust that He will use it for my good and His Glory--that's where my will meets His Sovereignty. He knows my heart. He knows that although I struggle at times to understand and to obey, because I am one of His Sheep, I will obey Him. He is my hope and my life. God knew when He gave me life, that He would seek me and I would accept being found. I could have rejected Him. I could have turned Him away, but I didn't, and that has made ALL the difference in my life.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Thu May 02, 2013 12:00 pm

Last thing, and hopefully I am finished for now . . .

How can we truly understand what Grace is if there does not exist the rejection of Grace? God allows evil and the evil choices of men so that we will better know Him and His Righteousness. We cannot understand what a gift He gave us, if He does not allow to exist those who refuse the gift. Jesus said that "this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent." (John 17:3)

If anything I say confuses someone else, I apologize for that. And, Paula, I respect very much your knowledge of scripture and have no doubt in my mind that we both want the same thing--more understanding of who God is and to be better equipped to choose correctly how to live or see correctly how to live in this strange place that is not our home. I am sorry if anything I say hurts you or appears to damage your calling. That is definitely not my intent. And right now, I want very much to rest, even, from this discussion.

More and more all of the time, I am painfully aware of just how limited our flesh is, and I long for home. I long for that place where it all makes sense, and I can cease from all kinds of struggles.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby beaedwards » Thu May 02, 2013 1:14 pm

Wow sisters,
I have been following this thread and am astounded at the extent of both of your wise Godly wisdom...you two make my brain hurt.
I agree with you both and with most of what you proposed, so I suppose that makes me an Molinist (yikes-does that mean I'm on the fence) although as you both essentially said (I think) to hell with the labels :roll:
I surrender.
Let us simply preach/teach/speak the Word in season and out of season to the glory of God.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Thu May 02, 2013 7:58 pm

Amen, amen, and amen, Bea. Lord, help me.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby pheeweed » Thu May 02, 2013 11:29 pm

I've found that when I have conversations with people who don't agree with Calvinism, some of what they disagree with isn't Calvinism at all. CD, that's what I see in this statement.

carpenterdaughter wrote: Calvinism argues that we can't know unless God reveals the TRUTH to us, so why would you, then, say we need to study scripture?


God doesn't just drop the truth about Himself into our consciousness. He reveals the truth about Himself by His Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul talks about the simple words that he used with new believers and the more complicated wisdom he used with mature believers. But the point I want to make is that the Spirit gave Paul the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths (I Corinthians 2:13). Those are the words that the Spirit inspired Paul to write in his letters - the scripture. We need to study scripture because that's how the Spirit reveals spiritual truth.

The other thing you say that isn't what Calvinism teaches is this:
How can men reject Him unless they have been offered Him? If you believe Calvinism, then people who have never been given an opportunity to accept or reject Jesus have an "out." They have a way to put the responsibility on God and not themselves for their rejection of Christ. If they have never been offered Christ, they can argue that Jesus' sacrifice covers their guilt under God's law.


According to Romans 1, people know the truth about God, because He reveals it to them, but they refuse to worship Him as God. Whether they ever hear about Jesus or not, they have already rejected God. So they are already responsible for their damnation. Romans 3:10-12 reinforces that. All have sinned; no one seeks God. Everyone is condemned by his/her own actions. But God, in His mercy, chose to save some for His glory. How and why He chose whom He did is the mystery, but no one can blame God for not being chosen because everyone is guilty, even if they never had a chance to accept or reject Christ.

BTW, that's what I think is missing from Mike's story about the father and his sons. The open rebellion of the sons.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby jo555 » Fri May 03, 2013 2:50 am

I see the conversation is still quite lively. Well, still short on time, but thought I would share this.

Heard a story once, and think the pastor / preacher was Spurgeon, but unsure. Anyway, so the story goes . . .

This lady walked up to pastor and said, "Pastor, I don't understand how God could say He hated Esau."

Pastor responds with, "That is not my problem. My problem is, I don't understand how He could say He loved Jacob."

Love that story . . . I could relate as I've had my issues with both sides in the past, but believe I get it now. It's awesome. Anyway, hope it put a smile on your face as it did me when I first heard it.

And it may be that pastor got it too (to a degree anyway, maybe), but looking to stress a point.

Well, I'm off again . . . until next time . . .
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Fri May 03, 2013 7:51 am

Just wanted to say to Bea and whoever else needs to hear it, I'm thinking this morning that I am not so "wise." Perhaps if I had been "wiser," I would never have even entered this conversation. The only wisdom that is worth having comes from God's Word. I think Paula would agree with me on that, and I believe that is what she expressed, and Phee is right, too--we cannot unlock the wisdom from the scripture all by ourselves, which is most likely Paula's original point, too. The Holy Spirit reveals His wisdom to us through scripture.

Sometimes God teaches us wisdom by letting us make fools of ourselves, too, and then affirming it through scripture. That is where my will meets His Providence. He makes sense of my foolishness.

Just wanted to throw that out there. I apologize to you, Paula, for choosing to be offended by what you offered to this discussion. I was wrong to do that.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Fri May 03, 2013 7:04 pm

No need for apologies sister :)

My goal is never to embarrass or offend only to drive the masses to their Bibles! For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13
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