Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge. By Kirk R. MacGregor. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015. 292 pp. Hardcover, $24.32.
Kirk MacGregor has written a tour de force on the life and theology of Luis de Molina. Luis de Molina, the originator of Molinism or “Middle Knowledge” was a Spanish Jesuit priest who lived and developed his theology in the late 1500’s, during the era of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. He died in Madrid in 1600.
Middle Knowledge seeks to adequately explain and reconcile scriptures which express God’s decrees and sovereignty over the affairs of man with scriptures that equally reflect the libertarian free will and choice of individual men. Molina’s views were rejected by a large portion of the Catholic church at the time when written. They found acceptance, for the most part, only within Jesuit circles for centuries, until “re-discovered” by evangelical thinkers in the mid-1970’s. Over the last 40 plus years, Middle Knowledge has emerged and become a very popular view to explain the tension between the free-will of man and the sovereignty of God across many diverse theological systems within evangelicalism.
MacGregor’s book is the most comprehensive work written to date on Molina and his views. It reflects original work in Molina’s writings never before done to the knowledge of modern scholarship. And while it thoroughly develops and reflects the theological teachings of Molina, it does so within the historical context of his life and doctrinal development within the church. Readers will enjoy and come away with a better understanding of key people and issues and the doctrines that surfaced as a result from the early beginnings of church history until the time when Molina wrote.
Free Grace readers do need to be aware, however, that both Molina and MacGregor hold to Lordship salvation, and this surfaces at a few places in the book. Similarly, Molina held that any “believer” that fell away from the faith was really not a believer at all and had not surrendered his life to Christ. But as long as the Free Grace reader is discerning, the book will be enlightening and helpful for their theological growth. Many individuals within Free Grace circles embrace Middle Knowledge as a rational way of harmonizing sovereignty and free will.
I heartily recommend reading Luis de Molina for a better understanding of Middle Knowledge and personal growth in the theological doctrines of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will!
Grace Evangelical Society