Molinism vs Calvinism: William Lane Craig and Paul Helm

Calvinism is a system of Christian thought known for a specific view of the predestination of believers. Molinism is a letter-known system known for a different view. If you’ve ever wondered about soteriology – that is, the doctrine of salvation – this podcast might be helpful to you.

The operative question in this debate is whether we make the choice to be saved, or whether God chooses who will be saved. Neither side of the debate accepts the idea that we can save ourselves, of course…but the two sides differ on whether free will is involved in salvation.

The King James Only Controversy

What is it?

The KJVO controversy is about whether Christians should consider only the King James Version of the Bible to be reliable and trustworthy. While there are a variety of views within the KJVO movement, the basic idea is simple: no other Bible will do.

The King James Only movement is largely built on the claim that modern Bibles are doctrinally corrupt…that they have strayed from responsible and accurate translation of the Greek texts. There are a variety of other claims in the movement. Here are a few:

  • The KJV is the only true word of God.
  • The KJV is the only English translation that can be trusted.
  • The KJV contains no errors.
  • The KJV was supernaturally translated by God.
  • The KJV is more perfect than the manuscripts from which it was translated.
  • The KJV contains no errors or problems with translation.
  • To understand God’s Word, everyone on earth should learn English…so they can read the KJV.
  • Any deviation from the KJV is wrong, and may create doctrinal errors.
  • Translators (and possibly readers) of modern Bibles have a sinister ulterior motive.
  • Modern Bibles are a perversion of God’s Word.
  • Modern Bibles like the NASB and NIV are part of a satanic conspiracy to lead the world astray.
  • People who use other Bibles are not Christians.

Which KJV?

There are a number of different versions of the King James Version. Most KJVO advocates do not use the version finished in 1611, but the Blayney version from 1769. Between the two are revisions from 1613, 1629, 1638, and 1762. After many years of discussing this issue, no KJVO person has suggested to me that one is better than the other. This is a serious problem for their point of view, as each differs from the others.

Errors in the KJV

Most KJVO advocates claim that the KJV is better than all other Bibles because it alone is without error. This is absurd, and demonstrably false. The errors in the KJV are too numerous to list here, but it only takes one error to prove them wrong. I’ve made note of a few that should be persuasive for anyone willing to consider the evidence. Unfortunately, I’ve never met a KJVO advocate that was willing to consider the evidence…they usually run away from it. If you’re a KJVO person who wants to discuss the evidence, please leave a comment!


Most adults realize that unicorns don’t really exist. KJVO advocates must overlook the nine times that the word “unicorn” appears in the KJV: in Numbers 23:22, Numbers 24:8, Deuteronomy 33:17, Job 39:9, Psalm 22:21, Psalm 29:6, Psalm 92:10, and Isaiah 34:7 (read on Biblegateway). The Hebrew word is RE-EM, and probably means an auroch or other, now extinct, wild bull.

Easter / Passover

In Acts 12:4, the KJV mistranslates Pascha as Easter, rather than Passover. I’ve written more about this in Easter in the KJV.

Jupiter/Zeus, Mercury/Hermes

In Acts 14:12, the KJV says that the people in Lystra called Paul “Mercury” and Barnabas “Jupiter”. This is in spite of the fact that the Greek uses the words “Zeus” and “Hermes”. (read on Blue Letter Bible)

Don’t trust the demons

In Acts 16 we read about a young lady, possessed by a demon, who followed Paul and Silas. The demon – according to the KJV – said that they were servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. Unfortunately, this is simply wrong. The Greek (the original language of the New Testament) doesn’t say “the way of salvation.” It says “a way of salvation.” The Greek word is Hodos, which means “a way” (see the definition in context). The demon wasn’t agreeing that Paul and Silas taught the only way to be saved…it suggested that they taught one of many ways. The King James is simply inaccurate here.

Listen to the KJV translators

Most Bibles have a preface, in which the translation team explains their motives and methodology. The KJV is no different. The 1611 version of the KVJ had an extensive preface, removed from later versions. Read the full preface. In it, the translators themselves demolish the KJVO controversy:

  • They didn’t intend to make a new translation, but to improve on previous ones
  • They acknowledged that previous Bibles were “the word of God” despite containing “imperfections and blemishes”
  • They wrote that translations will never be infallible.
  • They noted the supremacy of the original manuscripts over any translation
  • They wrote that one should not object to the continual process of correcting and improving English translations of the Bible
  • They were often unsure how to translate specific words or phrases
  • They did not always translate the same Greek or Hebrew words into the same English words

Questions and Objections

But the NIV takes out stuff

The primary target of KJVO folks is the New International Version (NIV). Their claim is that the NIV translators have removed crucial words and phrases from the Bible, undermining God’s word and leading unwitting people astray. There is a very serious flaw in this argument: they invariably use the KJV as the standard. Any word or phrase that differs from the King James is then suspect.

Is this logical? Of course not. The KJV translators themselves would object to this method. They would never consider the KJV to be the standard by which all future Bibles should be judged. Instead, they would recommend exactly what the NIV translators have done: go back to the manuscripts, in their original languages, and try to improve on the Bibles that already exist.

Trickery: comparing the KJV and NIV

The KJVO folks like to compare verses side by side, to show how the NIV (or other Bible) differs from the “right Bible” – that is, the KJV. That seems reasonable, on the surface. It’s a serious problem, however. It presumes that the KJV is always right, and that other Bibles are corrupt because, well, they’re not the KJV. The proper approach is not to compare one translation or version with another, but to compare all of them with all available ancient manuscripts.

There are more scholarly ways to describe this controversy, involving more complex considerations like different manuscript families, formal vs dynamic equivalence, and so on. This article is meant as an overview…a summary of the controversy and why I believe the KJVO folks have no real argument. If you have specific questions, feel free to ask them.

What I am NOT saying

I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the King James Version of the Bible. In fact, I recommend it. One could read the KJV and learn all they need to know about being in a right relationship with God. I’m not criticizing the KJV here…only the idea that the KJV is in any way superior to every other quality Bible. I agree with the KJV translators: it’s good, but not perfect. Those who claim that the KJV is better than any other Bible must not only claim it, but also demonstrate it. Simply put: they cannot.

Porn: Human Trafficking at Your Finger Tips

Would you protest a politician and then donate to their campaign? Of course you wouldn’t. When so many who are involved in porn are doing so against their will, why would you protest human trafficking and continue to watch porn?

Get involved. Take a stand. Make a change.

Why are so many young people leaving the church?

I read a lot about religion stuff, theology stuff, and church stuff. Two of my favorites are J. Warner Wallace (Cold Case Christianity) and Bobby Conway (One Minute Apologist). This video combines the two in a short clip about some of the reasons for young people leaving the church.

I would add to this another reason that young people leave the church: that many churches simply aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do. A friend told me last Sunday that their young adult son doesn’t want to come to church anymore because “it’s not relevant”. Who’s going to argue with that? Either the church is actually addressing issues that matter, or they’re not. While I don’t believe the church’s mission is to meet every need for every attendee, most of the churches I’ve been to in the past 40 years are missing the boat in significant ways. Those churches that seem to understand their mission (as laid out in the New Testament) seem to be larger, growing, and able to retain a larger number of young people.

What is a “Culture War”?

I heard someone say we are in a culture war. What is a culture war?


That’s a good question, Sandra. A “culture war” is when one group’s ideas about what society should be like conflicts with another group’s ideas about what society should be like. One historical example of a culture war is modern slavery, as it was practiced in Europe and America from the 1600’s to 1800’s. Some believed that slavery was wrong, and others believed that slavery was just fine. They fought over these ideas for a long time, and (thankfully) the non-slavery side eventually won the legal battle. Slavery still exists, of course…so the two sides keep fighting. The difference is that while slavery was once legal in the West, it’s now illegal.

What is a Culture War?

Most religions are at odds with the culture around them. Christianity, for example, teaches that we should love our enemies. Western society, on the other hand, accepts concepts like revenge as generally acceptable. These ideas conflict, so there’s a “battle” between those with different viewpoints over how society will end up. Clearly, there’s very little actual “battle” going on about love and revenge. More commonly, conflicts occur between Christians and Western culture over moral and ethical activities related to politics and abortion and sex and freedom.

It’s worth noting that the early church (as we see in the New Testament) wasn’t engaged in a culture war. They lived in the Roman Empire and were subjects of a foreign power that threatened their existence…but “changing the culture” wasn’t a priority for them. They worked to spread the gospel. While I’m all for individual Christians taking part in the political process, the marriage between Christians and positions of power have historically caused problems. Were the church to stick with simply preaching (and living) the gospel, it’s my opinion that we would see a very different, and much better, world in a very short period of time. Christians are called to support one another, preach the gospel, and love everyone in practical ways. We are not called to change the cultures we live in, to create “heaven on earth” by dominating the political landscape, or to force anyone to live as believers should live.

Could this be the Holy Spirit?

A GodWords reader asks:

I am not baptized but I am a Christian. I had a strange occurrence where I was consumed with love and happiness that made me light headed and trembly. I also could not hold back the tears of joy. Could this be the Holy Spirit? And what does this mean for me moving forward?


Whether they realize it or not, every Christian has interacted with the Holy Spirit. Here’s what Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth:

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

That’s not the only place it says that, of course…there are several. The Holy Spirit dwells in every believer, so He’s been with you since you first trusted God with your life. This is true whether you have been baptized or not. Some people believe that any interaction with the Holy Spirit involves speaking in tongues, or prophesying, or something out of the ordinary. While those things may happen, it’s much more common to experience the kinds of things you’ve described to me. The Holy Spirit is directly involved with us in all kinds of ways, and the Bible talks about some of them. He convicts us of sin, for example (John 16:8). He helps us understand spiritual things…we couldn’t understand them without Him (1 Corinthians 2:14). He guides us into all truth (John 16:13). He leads us, empowers us to serve God, and a whole bunch of other things.

I’ve experienced what you’ve described. Sometimes it seems that my heart is wide open toward God, and that my spirit is communing with His Spirit. In those times, I’m not actually trying to do anything specific, or thinking anything in particular…my soul is simply crying out to Him. Yesterday, it happened twice, which isn’t a usual occurrence. Once was while I was singing (this happens fairly regularly), and the other was while my pastor was reading a passage from Matthew 23 (this had never happened before). I would expect that, as you grow in your walk with Jesus, you will experience this a number of times. While it’s a mistake to chase this kind of experience rather than chasing God Himself, it’s certainly not a mistake to put yourself into the right circumstances to connect with God. That’s why Christians, throughout history, have spent time in prayer, studying the Bible, singing, sitting in contemplation, being alone with God, and so on. Again…it’s not the feeling we should be looking to reproduce, but we should look for opportunities to be in direct communication with God all the time. Sometimes it will an amazing emotional experience, sometimes it will be a learning experience, and sometimes it will be God teaching you to rely on Him more completely.

A Higher Authority: Church vs Bible

Which is the greater authority? The Bible, or the Church?

Is the Church over the Bible, or is the Bible over the Church? That’s the question Michael J. Kruger addresses, in response to an article by Friar Stephen Freeman. In his article, entitled There Is No “Bible” in the Bible, Freeman lays out what appears to be a very poorly constructed argument. Kruger’s article addresses Freeman’s main flaws better than I might, but I’d like to focus on one point in particular.

Freeman makes the following claim: The word “Bible” simply means “book.” Thus, it is a name that means “the Book.” It is a particularly late notion if for no other reason than that books are a rather late invention. There are examples of bound folios of the New Testament dating to around the 4th century, but they may very well have been some of the earliest examples of such productions. This isn’t just a bad argument, it’s ridiculous. By claiming that books are a modern invention, Freeman suggests that Biblical authority is a modern, Protestant invention as well.

First, the word book isn’t all that new. In fact, the Christian Scriptures are referred to as ta biblia as early as 223 AD. John Chrysostom wrote of ta biblia as early as 388 AD. These are well before the Reformation, and can’t be considered, as Freeman claims, a “by-product of the printing press”.

It’s easy to make crazy claims. It’s so easy that one can search the internet and find almost every claim imaginable. Unfortunately, many people are easily swayed by such claims, and are quickly led astray by claims that don’t deserve an audience. Take the time to read both articles, and think through the evidence, and come to your own conclusions.