Tag Archives: Calvinism

Does hypothetical knowledge Calvinism have an odd ontology of personhood?

In an ETS paper in 2013, John Laing critiqued Bruce Ware’s model of providence which is very much like my own “hypothetical knowledge Calvinist” model. In a long post on March 10, I explained why John Laing is wrong to think that hypothetical knowledge Calvinism is vulnerable to the grounding objection that Calvinists and Open Theists bring against Molinism. Next, I responded to his second criticism, that it has an “odd notion of necessity/possibility” (pp. … Continue reading

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Does hypothetical knowledge Calvinism have an odd notion of necessity or possibility?

In a long post on March 10, I explained why John Laing is wrong to think that hypothetical knowledge Calvinism is vulnerable to the same grounding objection that Calvinists and Open Theists bring against Molinism. The second criticism Laing made of hypothetical knowledge Calvinism (in his Nov/13 ETS paper) was that it has an “odd notion of necessity/possibility” (pp. 8-11). Laing agrees with me that hypothetical knowledge Calvinism’s idea of constraints upon God in his … Continue reading

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A Calvinist’s ruminations on an Arminian view of God’s providence

I did not identify any of the models that I presented in Providence and Prayer as an/the “Arminian model.” Arminianism developed within the Reformed tradition as a distinctive position derived from a synergistic understanding of salvation. As a theological framework, it is therefore fundamentally synergistic, affirming that God has limited his ability to ensure that the history of the world turns out according to the will of his eternal purpose, in all its particulars. Within … Continue reading

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Is “hypothetical knowledge Calvinism” vulnerable to the same grounding objection which makes Molinism problematic?

At the ETS meeting in Baltimore in November/13, John Laing read a paper entitled “Middle knowledge and the Assumption of Libertarian Freedom: A Response to Ware.” Though Bruce Ware and I have never collaborated, we reached similar conclusions about the usefulness of God’s knowledge of counterfactuals in his deciding what world he would create, and I appreciate the work he has done. In Providence and Prayer, I had called my model of providence “middle knowledge … Continue reading

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DeYoung reviews Fischer’s “Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed”

              A few of the major Arminian bloggers whose posts I follow have spoken very favorably of Austin Fischer’s book, Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed. The book sounds very interesting but I don’t know when (or if) I’ll get to read it. So I was delighted to read an extensive review by Kevin DeYoung, a very fine Presbyterian pastor from whose writing I have benefited on previous occasions. Fischer’s … Continue reading

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Why pray, if God’s will is going to be done whether we pray or not?: comparing Molinism and hypothetical knowledge Calvinism

Perhaps the most pressing question regarding prayer is whether it makes a difference. That is a question which synergists are particularly likely to put to monergists because, when God’s will is done in meticulous detail (not just as a general permission of libertarian freedom), it can look as though genuine petition is meaningless. In my book on models of divine providence I lay out the models in order of the degree to which moral creatures determine … Continue reading

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The double intent of the atonement and the nature of hell

An interesting discussion arose in the Facebook group of Rethinking Hell, in regard to my identification of the genuine issues involved in the choice of annihilationism or endless conscious punishment as the biblical teaching concerning hell. (I’ll not mention names, because of the informal nature of FB conversation and the closed membership of the group.) One commenter doubted that I was right to identify penal substitutionary atonement as a non-issue, because he claimed that I … Continue reading

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“Monergism” and “Determinism:” Are they useful terms?

I had brief correspondence recently with an evangelical theologian whom I am going to call “Peter,” so that I can cite some of our private conversation without putting him on public record. For my purposes here, what he said is the important thing, not who he is. Our brief interchange prompted me to ruminate about the terminology we use to describe a Calvinist understanding of God’s role and ours, in salvation and in history more … Continue reading

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Is sanctification synergistic or monergistic?

Monergist and Synergist soteriologies Calvinism is monergistic in its soteriology, as evidenced particularly in two points in the well known acronym, TULIP – unconditional election and irresistible (or efficacious) grace. These points identify salvation as God’s sovereign work, in which God chose to glorify himself by saving particular people, in Christ, without any conditions on their part except those which God himself efficaciously enables them to fulfill, so that salvation is God’s work from beginning … Continue reading

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God’s great grace to the non-elect

Calvinists put a great deal of emphasis on the grace of God. What makes our theology problematic to many synergists is that we frequently preface God’s grace with the adjective “sovereign,” to indicate that God has the right to be gracious to whomever he wills and, since by definition no grace is “deserved,” no one has ground to complain about how God treats them. What is often not apparent to synergists, who are distressed by … Continue reading

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