Be forewarned; I’m not a prolific writer. I’m not of academia, nor am I a well-recognized theologian. I’m just a very rural and a very small church pastor who simply wants to guard over Christ’s most precious possession here on earth as He has entrusted to me no matter how few they are. It’s my task to content for the faith, affirm sound doctrine, and confront those things which would lead His sheep into confusion and then eventually division. It is with the intent of simple shepherd-like protection that I approach, with suspicion, what seems to be the latest Christian interest, the theology of Luis De Molina, or what is referred to as Molinism.
Typically, one would begin with defining what it is that you disagree with. I will leave that to the followers of Molinism itself to define their own theological system. My intent here is to simply illustrate three main reasons why I cannot ascribe to this relatively new theological system.
First, there is a historical issue. Luis De Molina (1535-1600) was born in Cuenca, Spain and resided in Madrid. He was a Roman Catholic who was of the order of the Jesuits. The Jesuits were sanctioned in 1540 by Pope Paul III with one mandate: to defeat Protestantism and regain worldwide Papal rule. Now, it would be strange to become a member of an order and yet not hold to the order’s one main purpose. It is reasonable to consider intent, the intent of what Molina was trying to accomplish in his theological system, in full view of his affiliations. Molina may not get much play in the Roman Catholic world today, but I think historically, it is fair to question his motives and intentions that he had at that time in which he proffered his theological arguments. And they are new arguments. Often, you here that the Reformers, and their theological arguments, were just as new, dating around that same time period. But, that ignores the meaning of the word ‘Reformers’. You can’t reform what is new. You can only re-form what lost it’s original form. Unlike Molina who offers a brand-new take on God’s knowledge, the autonomy of man, etc.…, the Protestant Reformers sought to go back to the original 1st century church to reclaim Her original doctrinal form, not make something new.
Secondly, there is a scriptural issue for me. The continual argument, so it seems, made on behalf of the Molinistic system, is that it is logically coherent and not explicitly in contradiction to scripture. Now, there are arguments made that many-a-denomination, and other Christian world divisions, have views that are also not specifically derived from scripture; the proper mode of baptism being an example. But the problem that I find is that the essentials, those core Christian beliefs that are central to the faith, essentially needed in order to call yourself a Christian, very much are derived from scripture. If a Christian claims a view to be central, to be core to the belief system they have, typically they will submit their views to be scrutinized by scripture. From what I have experienced, the Molinist excuses himself from such scrutiny, claiming that logical coherency and the absence of explicit contradiction with scripture is enough to validate one’s retention of such a belief system. But, in the end, it just seems to come down to a philosophically coherent theory versus ‘thus sayeth the Lord’. I’m always inclined to trend toward the later.
Finally, there is an issue of an elitist/high academia persona. Molinism takes the simplicity of the scriptures out of the common man’s world of understanding and places it into the elite world of academia. Scriptural understanding never was intended to be solely shared thru the gate-keepers of high academia but rather revealed to every man and woman by the Holy Spirit. It reminds you of past history where bibles were literally chained to pulpits and men were burned at the stake for translating scripture into their native tongue. One shouldn’t have to attain a degree in philosophy in order to understand God’s Holy revelation. If philosophy is now the gate-keeper of scriptural understanding, someone should inform the Holy Spirit that He’s been fired. Scripture is for all and its revealed to all that the Spirit wills to reveal it to. It is for the PhD as well as the graduate of only the 4th grade. C.H. Spurgeon serves as a good example of the Spirit working within a man whose wall was absent the many framed degrees that now seem necessary to understand God’s revealing Himself to mankind.
Again, I don’t claim to be a theologian, just one looking our for the sheep. And I can say that this troubles the flock.