I really enjoyed this interview of Dr. Stratton from the Apologetics 315 podcast. I’ve had non-Christians in previous workplaces raise the problem of free will vs divine sovereignty. After all, they say, how can humans be responsible for their choices if God is all-powerful? If God is all-powerful, then surely he must control everything, and there’s no space for free will. Right?
Here is the show description:
In this episode, Brian Auten and Chad Gross interview Tim Stratton of Free Thinking Ministries. They discuss the topic of Molinism as it relates to God’s sovereignty, human free will, and why it matters. Tim’s book on the subject is Human Freedom, Divine Knowledge, and Mere Molinism: A Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Philosophical Analysis.
1:03 – Intro to Tim Stratton
1:41 – Why Molinism on the podcast?
3:20 – Welcome to Tim Stratton
3:54 – How Tim became a Christian
9:37 – God as a maximally great being
10:43 – Tim’s dissertation
11:18 – What does Tim find compelling about Molinism?
12:42 – The Mere Molinism Facebook group
16:14 – What is the problem that Molinism is trying to solve?
22:47 – How to briefly summarize Molinism?
23:41 – Defining terms: Middle knowledge and counterfactuals
31:39 – Scriptures that affirm counterfactuals / middle knowledge
41:53 – Why us the term “mere” Molinism?
46:22 – Can Molinism be applied to salvation?
48:21 – Does this chess analogy work?
52:10 – Objection: Molinism is not derived from scripture
58:23 – Objection: Who cares? That’s just for scholars and theologians
1:02:45 – How Molinism saved Tim’s marriage
1:06:20 – Where to find Tim’s resources
Tim Stratton’s reconciliation of divine sovereignty and free will is interesting to me. He keeps God as the sole initiator of salvation. And that’s good. But it also makes sure that human who resist God’s leading are responsible for their choice to resist God, and that’s also good. We want salvation to be 100% by faith alone in Christ alone. But we don’t want God to be the cause of people not being saved. On Stratton’s view, God wants everyone to be saved. If anyone is saved, it’s because God did ALL THE WORK to lead them and secure their salvation with the death of Jesus on the cross. But, on Stratton’s view, humans do get a choice – the choice to trust God or not. And so, if a person is not saved, then it’s their fault – not God’s.
If you hear this challenge from non-Christians, be sure to listen to the podcast. You can find a written version of his argument on his web site, Free Thinking Ministries.