Problems with Middle Knowledge

The problems with the doctrine of “Middle Knowledge” are so profound and extensive that the committed Christian who loves the Lord and obeys Scripture can have nothing to do with it.

Historical Problems
The first problem that the supporters of Middle Knowledge face is that it is not a part of apostolic and historic Christianity. In Jude 3, we are told: to contend earnestly for the Faith which was once for all of time delivered unto the saints.

Protestant theologians have always believed and taught:

If a doctrine is new, it is not true.

If it is true, it will not be new.

The Reformers, the Puritans, etc. spent a great deal of time and energy tracing their doctrines in church history all the way back to the first century. Why did they do this? They had two reasons that weighed heavily on their mind.

First, from Jude 3, it is obvious that “the Faith,” i.e. the body of doctrines that constitutes biblical Christianity, was delivered once and for all of time in the first century in the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles (Eph. 2:20; 3:4-5). The Christian Church is to defend the doctrines given by the Apostles (Acts 2:42). If a doctrine was not taught by the Apostles, it does not constitute a part of “the Faith.”

Second, Jude used the aroist tense when he used the word paradoqei,sh| (delivered) to emphasize the finality of the Faith. When it comes to doctrine or morals, there will be no “new” revelations after the New Testament. The principle of sola scriptura means that what we believe and how we live is to be determined by Scripture alone.

This understanding works well when we deal with the Book of Mormon, the Divine Principle or the visions of Ellen White. They cannot be accepted because they teach new doctrines that were not a part of biblical and historic Christianity.

It is a wonder to us that some of those involved in the Middle Knowledge doctrine will refute Mormonism by pointing out the recent origins of Smith’s doctrine and then turn around and say that the fact that the doctrine of Middle Knowledge is of recent origin has no bearing on issue! Hypocrisy has no limits!

What should we do with doctrines such as Middle Knowledge that have appeared only in recent church history? All the Protestant and Roman Catholic reference works that deal with the history and origin of the doctrine of Middle Knowledge state that it was invented by a Jesuit priest by the name of Luis Molina as part of the counter-Reformation.

The Jesuits were given the task of retaking those countries that had been won over by the preaching of the Protestant Reformers. They used two methods to overcome Protestantism.

First, they tortured, murdered and made war on Protestant nations to force people to return to popery. The Jesuits during the Thirty Years War and in the Inquisition slaughtered several million Protestants. (See Foxes Book of Martyrs for the details.)

Second, they invented doctrines that would undercut the four foundational truths of the Reformation: salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone. According to the standard reference works, the doctrine of Middle Knowledge was invented by Molina to undercut the Reformation doctrine that we are saved by grace alone and not as a reward for anything done by us.

Does God reward us with the decree of salvation on the basis of what He foresaw we would do by our own power? Thus He decreed to save us because He foresaw that we would repent and believe? Is God’s grace given in response to what we will do before (and thus without) His grace? Does He love us because He foresaw that we would first love Him? 

Does He choose us because He foresaw that we would first chose Him? For Molina, the decree to save us is a reward for what God foresaw we will do by our own power.
Many Catholic theologians were horrified by what Molina invented and labeled it as nothing more but a modern twist on the old Pelagian heresy. They almost succeeded in getting one Pope to condemn it.

But opposition to Molinism died down once it was seen that it deceived Protestants quite easily. Jesuit universities in Protestant countries made a point of indoctrinating Molinism into those Protestants who foolishly chose to be educated by them.

As these Jesuit-trained Protestants rose to prominence in Evangelical circles, they in turn introduced the Jesuit doctrine of Molinism in Protestant circles. But, knowing that the average Protestant was suspicious of anything coming from the bloodthirsty Jesuits who had murdered their forefathers, it was decided to rename the doctrine “Middle Knowledge” instead of “Molinism” in the attempt to hide its Jesuit origins. But a rose by any other name still smells the same.

A few Protestant supporters of Molinism such as William Lane Craig have admitted the Jesuit origin of the doctrine and even warned that Molina had defective views of grace. But the vast majority of those who teach it either ignorantly or deceptively teach that it a part of historic and biblical Christianity.

Since Molinism (or Middle Knowledge) is clearly of recent origin, it is not a part of “the Faith once for all of time delivered to the saints.” Thus it cannot in principle be found in Scripture because the authors of the Bible died many centuries before Molina invented the doctrine.

How then can those who teach the doctrine of Molinism find it in the Bible? By reading it back into biblical texts and thereby committing the fallacy of issegesis.