DIVIDING TWO CATEGORIES OF ‘-ISMS’


After thinking about the subject, I feel that we should separate ‘-isms’ into two categories.

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CATEGORY 1: God’s foreknowledge and human free will

If God perfectly and infallibly knows what we will do in the future, are we still free to make real choices?

If no, then either God still knows all but we are not free (determinism, many Calvinists); or God doesn’t know the future and hence we are free (Open Theism).

If yes – both God’s future knowledge and our free choices are true at the same time – one of the options is Molinism.

But if you notice, Open Theism and Molinism don’t say anything about how we are actually saved from sin. As it’s been said, Molinism is more of Theology Proper (what is God like?) than Soteriology (how are we saved from sin?).

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CATEGORY 2: How sin and salvation ‘work’

Calvinism says Total Depravity (Inability) has caused everyone from the moment of conception to not want God, hence we will never freely accept the Gospel. To overcome this, God sends Irresistible Grace to only some, which 100% guarantees they will accept the Gospel.

Arminianism agrees on Total Depravity, but says instead that God gives Prevenient Grace to everyone, which allows them to freely accept or reject the Gospel.

Provisionism rejects Total Depravity, instead saying that we already can freely accept or reject the Gospel (without needing any additional action by God, or because the Gospel itself is inseperably an action of God).

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So it’s actually possible (and perhaps more accurate) to state that we hold to one ‘-ism’ from each category.

“I am a Molinist” means that (at minimum) I believe God knows all possible outcomes stemming from human free will, and actualized one feasible world where Martin Luther is saved – but it does not actually describe Martin Luther’s condition before and after being saved.

Hence why Tim Stratton is fond of saying that one can be a Calvinist or Arminian while affirming Mere Molinism. (NB: Even when he adds ‘God is maximally great’ to make it ‘Soteriological Molinism’, it still doesn’t purport the mechanism of sin/salvation.)

“To clarify: to directly compare Calvinism with Molinism is to compare apples with oranges. This is the case because Calvinism is a soteriological system (issues regarding salvation) and Molinism is not.” – https://freethinkingministries.com/molinism-calvinism-apples-oranges/

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