Roger E. Olson, “An Excellent Critique of Molinism as Incompatible with Arminianism”

, posted by Steven Wolf

[Please Note that SEA does not take an official stance on Molinism. Members can hold to Molinism or reject it. We do have some members who hold to Molinism and many who do not. Our site has articles from Molinist and non-Molinist perspectives.]

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.

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.

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