An Excellent Critique of Molinism as Incompatible with Arminianism
Robert Picirilli is a Free Will Baptist theologian who is, like all Free Will Baptists, an Arminian, not a Calvinist. I am not a member of any Free Will Baptist church or institution, but I have always felt an affinity with the Free Will Baptists. I have moved among non-Free Will Baptists during my adult lifetime as a Baptist, but I have stayed clear of any that are confessionally Calvinist. Many of the Baptist churches I have belonged to, spoken at, served as interim pastor of have both Arminians and Calvinists as members. (But most members of those churches would probably claim to be “Calminian” which I consider impossible–logically.) I have taught at two Baptist institutions of higher education for thirty-six years. Both have had both Arminian and Calvinist professors and students. I have never lived where there was/is a strong Free Will Baptist presence or I would at least visit one of their churches. I have met some of their pastors and interacted with some of their theologians. Overall I would have to say I am probably not quite as conservative theologically as they are. But that’s a subject for another time.
Dr. Picirilli is writing a two part critique of Molinism (which I explained in the immediately preceding post here) especially as it is being used by self-identified Arminians. He and I agree completely that Molinism (with middle knowledge used by God for providential control) violates the spirit of Arminianism. The “spirit of Arminianism” is not free will per se but the character of God. Molinism leads directly into the main problem with Calvinism–divine determinism in which God is (would be) responsible for sin and evil. I repeat my oft-quoted maxim that “God is in charge but not in control” where “in control” means “meticulously controlling everything that happens.”
Here is the link to Dr. Picirilli’s first essay of his two-part series. I urge you to read it and part two when it appears. I will post that link here then. I can only say that I wish I had written this first part; it is an extremely clear and well-reasoned explanation of why Molinism does not belong in Arminian theology.
Footnote: I have said before that I have no special problem with middle knowledge if God did not/does not use it providentially to control creatures’ decisions and actions. But that is really the only point of middle knowledge in what is generally known as “Molinism.” If someone wants to say ONLY that God HAS middle knowledge but does not use it to control everything, then I am not disturbed. I would still disagree for philosophical reasons because I do not think counterfactuals of freedom are philosophically plausible.
Here is the link: https://www.fwbtheology.com/can-arminians-be-molinists-part-1/
Copy and paste it into a web browser.
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