One theological question that has perplexed Christian thinkers for centuries is how God’s sovereignty relates to human free will. If God is sovereign and directs all the affairs of the world, how is it that humans have free will? Are humans just puppets or do they in fact have significant freedom to choose their own actions and destinies?
One way this topic has been approached is by Molinism, named for the sixteenth century Spanish Catholic Jesuit priest Luis de Molina (1535-1600). He believed that God has three types of knowledge. He named them natural, middle, and free knowledge. Middle knowledge is the type that most concerns us in this view, but we need to understand natural and free knowledge first. Continue reading
Every year it’s a good idea to create a list of books to read. For one thing, it helps to maintain the discipline to read throughout the year. It is, however, also good to keep a list of books one has already read, so one can see how much he has accomplished in one year. My reading list from last year (2019) included the following major works. Note that this is not an exhaustive list. It just represents the major works: Continue reading
“If you are not with me, then you are my enemy.” ~Anakin Skywalker
As Star Wars fans know, at the end of “Stars Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” Anakin Skywalker turns evil, joins the “Dark Side,” and sets out to destroy his former Jedi Master, Obi-Wan. Just as these two begin to duel, Anakin chides Obi-Wan, “If you are not with me, then you are my enemy.” Such a statement illustrates well much of the current American political atmosphere. Unfortunately, it illustrates not just the polarization among Democrats and Republicans in general, but it describes Christians who politically disagree. But it’s more than just mere disagreement among Christians. The political disagreements have led to personal attacks, and much like Skywalker’s comment, it has led to an attitude of “you vs. me” in the church. I call this political posture “Skywalker Syndrome.” As we go forward into 2020 and approach yet another presidential election, Christians, although disagreeing, need to keep in mind the faith we share and strive for unity. Continue reading
We in America love our ideologies, and we gravitate toward others who affirm our preconceived notions. If you already dislike a certain politician, then find a blog or article that affirms the worst about him or her. If you really like a politician, then discredit a negative news story by claiming “fake news” or calling people names. So why not just create our own theology in the same way? Well, we American Christians do this as well, so I thought I would help all of us out and develop a 10 point plan on how to do this effectively. By following this plan, you will be able to convince everyone else of the legitimacy of your theological view by making it look biblical. In addition, people will think you’re smart! Continue reading
A student of mine once commented, “We don’t know which religion is true, so we might as well just believe in what we want and be happy!” This statement captures well a very popular idea today. It basically says that there really is no such thing as truth, and even if there is, no one can really know it. This idea calls into question the very foundation of being able to talk about God and knowing things about him, or doing what we call “theology.” Continue reading