So I got home from my local bible study last night and my head is buzzing. Here's the deal: At the beginning of the notes prepared by the “facilitator” it states that the only authority we are going to follow is God’s word. All notes contained in the outline are from Calvin, Henry, Piper, MacArthur and other reformed theologians/pastors. During the study there is open discussion but all comments are to be supported by God’s word. Everyone is welcome because there is no specific doctrinal mandate to follow a certain belief.
We are studying John 6 and this week the focus was on versus 35-40. In the notes that were handed out the introductory summary stated that “salvation is solely of the Lord for only those chosen by Him.” (Help me Lord, I’ve fallen in with Calvinists, and I can’t get out!)
Anyhow, here’s where I’m going. During the discussion the doctrines of election and predestination, God’s sovereignty vs man’s free will took center stage. I wanted to try to explain the differences between Calvinism, Arminianism and Molinism in a one-minute nutshell that can be easily grasped by the average lay person (can I get this on the One-Minute Apologist?), but couldn’t come up with anything at the moment. So after I got home and was able to do some reflection, I came up with the following analogy:
Open Theism (Arminianism): God has no idea what each will choose. William freely chooses to give God the thumbs up and Richard freely chooses to give God “the finger”. God doesn’t know what will happen next.
Fatalism (Calvinism): God has determined before the foundation of the world that William, predestined and elect by God’s unconditional grace, will give God the thumbs up. After being regenerated by the Holy Spirit and receiving saving faith from God, William gives God the thumbs up. Richard, without election or grace, in his depraved state gives God “the finger”. God has also determined and knows what will happen next.
Molinism: Both William and Richard have free will to make a choice about God and can give either a thumbs up or “the finger”. God foreknows there are possible worlds in which both give the thumbs up, there are possible worlds in which only one gives a thumbs up and there are possible worlds where both give “the finger”. God desires that both would give the thumbs up. God foreknows there are some worlds in which William freely gives the thumbs up and other worlds in which he freely gives “the finger”. God foreknows there is no feasible world in which Richard ever freely gives a thumbs up. God creates the actual world. William freely gives God the thumbs up. Richard freely gives God “the finger”. God foreknows what will happen next.
So what do you think of the analogy? Is it a good representation of the doctrinal views?
Read the book, don’t wait for the movie.
Have a little hope on me, Roger