Salvation And Sovereignty: A Review Essay -- By: Steven W. Ladd

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 07:1 (Spring 2010)
Article: Salvation And Sovereignty: A Review Essay
Author: Steven W. Ladd


Salvation And Sovereignty: A Review Essay

Steven W. Ladd1

Ken Keathley’s Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach addresses an amalgam of important issues usually discussed in connection with theology proper and theological anthropology, but here it is applied to soteriology. The issues on which the book touches are God’s contemplative activity, the God/World relation, human decision making capacity, and the salvation process that can be said to occur in light of Molinist postulates. It is a tall order, indeed, especially in a relatively short 210 pages of text. Yet it is doubtful that many will say Keathley has failed to do justice to these issues, though many more will not agree with his conclusions. One must keep in mind his theological approach and that Middle Knowledge itself is not always the focus of the text. Molinism is at the heart of the work, though much of it appears to be little more than a critique and reworking of soteriological tenets that stem from Calvinism’s TULIP.

Molinism presupposes human volitional capacity of a more libertarian sort than Reformed anthropology offers. Thus, in the eyes of many, Keathley’s critique of Calvinism aligns him by default with Arminianism. His view of Molinism, however, admits to a far more robust notion of God’s sovereign control over creation than many Arminians allow. In offering Molinism, Keathley’s aim is to find a better articulated notion of God’s omniscience than most Arminians express and a more palatable notion of man’s freedom and responsibility than typically is offered in Calvinism.

The book is concise, almost uncomfortably so in light of the major issues taken on. Still it is clearly written, well documented, and, thankfully, published with footnotes, helpful tables, indices, and a selected bibliography. Keathley employs a theological approach to what is Molinism, why it is (re)appearing in the foreknowledge/free will debate, and why Timothy George’s ROSES2 reform of the TULIP is utilized. The work may be criticized for lacking the philosophical rigor of most works on Molinism, but such a critique is to ignore its self-imposed and refreshing theological approach. Salvation and Sovereignty should become required reading for seminarians in the field of theology, and advanced laity should welcome it as well.

Keathley’s thesis is that the ROSES paradigm explained from a Molinist perspective is a cohesive presentation of evangelical commitments to the fullness of God’s sovereign control over creation and the reality of God’s design of humans who make real decisions...

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