Tag Archives: human freedom

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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Monergism/synergism, compatibilism/incompatibilism and the nature of human freedom.

Recently I have had some correspondence with a gentleman who has read a bit of what I have written and who has had questions. Among his recent inquiries was this one: Could you please explain to me the difference between compatibilism and monergism? Similarly, what’s the difference between synergism and libertarianism? I tried looking it up, but I can’t seem to really understand the differences in these concepts. His questions are common, and quite natural, given the complexity … Continue reading

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W. L. Craig’s understanding of freedom: Molinism or monergism?

 In December, I wrapped up my review of Four Views on Divine Providence, dealing with responses to Greg Boyd’s Open Theist proposal. In that post, I expressed my surprise concerning William Lane Craig’s redefinition of libertarian freedom, in which he denied that it entails the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), often described as the “power of contrary choice.” Craig proposed instead that a libertarian account of freedom requires only “the absence of causal constraints outside … Continue reading

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Boyd’s open theist model of providence

            We come now to the fourth model in Four Views on Divine Providence, as Gregory Boyd puts forward his understanding as an open theist.  Gregory A. Boyd’s model of providence Christocentric criteria proposed for assessing models of divine providence Boyd posits that Jesus is the key to understanding the nature of God’s governance in the world and so he identifies four christocentric criteria by which models of providence should … 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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A Molinist model of God’s providence

              In Chapter 2 of  Four Views on Divine Providence, William Lane Craig presents a Molinist perspective. A restatement of William Lane Craig’s model of divine providence William Lane Craig begins his presentation by noting that Christian theology has traditionally affirmed God’s knowledge of conditional future contingents, what philosophers often call “counterfactuals.” Craig defines these as “conditional statements in the subjunctive mood, such as “If I were rich, I … Continue reading

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Restorationist and Open Theist responses to a determinist model of providence

I have described and interacted with W. L. Craig’s Molinist response to Paul Helseth’s omnicausal (determinist) model, and now we’ll consider the other two responses presented in Four Views on Divine Providence. Ron Highfield’s response Ron Highfield, representing what Dennis Jowers calls a “Restorationist” position, notes that his view and Helseth’s view are closer to one another than to either of the other two positions. But Highfield attributes his “fundamental agreement with Helseth’s view,” not … Continue reading

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Horton on effectual calling and perseverance

Michael Horton’s presentation In chapter 5, Michael Horton takes up the fourth and fifth points of  “TULIP,” which he places in covenant context. He distinguishes the Sinaitic covenant of law from the Abrahamic covenant of promise/grace, and he then unpacks the new covenant doctrines of effectual calling and perseverance. The overarching truth which Horton unfolds in this chapter is the conviction that “all that Christ has won for us, outside of us in history, is … 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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My compatibilist proposal

Incompatibilism: the core of Olson’s objection to Calvinism In our journey through Roger Olson’s Against Calvinism, I have drawn attention to the prominence of theodicy in Roger’s objections to Calvinism. In his view, God would be a moral monster if he were meticulously sovereign but deliberately rendered certain the horrific evils that have occurred in human history. Among those evils, the assignment of many human beings to hell ranks high. If the Calvinist account of … Continue reading

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