Tag Archives: coherence

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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Choose your theological mystery or conundrum

If we hear most loudly in Scripture the description of a world in which God has given moral creatures significant control of how things turn out, why would we thank and glorify God when good things occur? But if we hear most loudly in Scripture the description of a world in which God has maintained meticulous control, why would we feel responsible when evil occurs rather than holding God accountable? The synergist conundrum “I would … 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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Compatibilism: a puzzlement for both Arminians and Calvinists

It has dawned on me that, despite the strong Arminian criticism of compatibilism, their statements regarding justification are actually an affirmation of the essence of compatibilism! Hopefully, though both groups charge one another with incoherence, we can be thankful that essential truths of Scripture are being affirmed, even though we can’t figure out how. The puzzlement of Calvinists Calvinists are used to strong objections from Arminians that their belief in God’s meticulous divine control of … Continue reading

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Must God maximize his own glory?

I believe that the Almighty Triune God, Creator of all that exists, naturally does all his works for his own glory. For him to do otherwise would be an unimaginable and impossible idolatry. This is why we are enjoined to do everything we do for God’s glory (1 Cor 10:31). I take this to be a confession common to Christians in all communions. Perhaps, however, Reformed theology has been particularly prone to emphasize the glory … Continue reading

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Why does God reward the good deeds of believers?

In a book review yesterday, Roger Olson expressed his puzzlement about how God’s giving rewards to believers in the final judgment coheres with Calvinism’s monergistic understanding of sanctification. He wrote: “My fear is that Spence, and Calvin before him, rob rewards of any meaning and imply that God is actually rewarding himself and not believers. If that is the case, why mention rewards at all? Why preach or teach heavenly rewards as motivation for obedience … Continue reading

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On monergistic providence and synergistic salvation

John Marshall wrote an interesting comment on my post “What makes a theological statement newsworthy?” I will answer it in this post rather than in the comment thread, to allow for broader interchange. John wrote: “I am an undergrad in the UK and working on a dissertation on providence and I am wondering if we should make some kind of distinction between God’s will/providence in natural events or lots being cast and his divine agency … Continue reading

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The appeal of Calminianism

Every now and then, I hear some one say that they are Calminian. By this, they generally mean that they do not wish to affirm determinism (that God is meticulously in control in the world, so that even moral creatures always act according to God’s eternal will [Calvinism]), but they also do not want to affirm indeterminism (that God has chosen not to have that comprehensive control, so that moral creatures can be libertarianly free … Continue reading

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A divine self-limitation model of providence – 1

Roger’s model of divine self-limitation In my last post in this series, I described Roger Olson’s objections to Calvinism’s model of meticulous divine providence. I am pleased that in that fourth chapter of Roger’s book, Against Calvinism, he briefly outlines his own understanding: divine self-limitation. God gave moral creatures libertarian freedom even though this would permit them to thwart his will, because “he loves and respects them enough not to control them” (100). In Roger’s … Continue reading

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