Like God, Paul Takes No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked

Romans 9:1-5

A Comparison Between Patristic and Reformation Soteriology

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

There was little dispute over the doctrine of salvation among the early church fathers, at least not directly. The larger debates during this era though, such as the deity of Christ and the nature of the Trinity, were intertwined with, and sometimes rooted in, soteriological concerns. As John Behr points out, there were two basic axioms that directed the theological reflection of the church in its first few centuries: “The first is that only God can save. It is God who is at work in Christ. . . .The second axiom is that only as a human being can God save human beings.”1

A Major Flaw in the Compatibilist Understanding of Freedom

The Lack of Source-hood

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.


Are we free to choose our own path or has it already been determined for us by something, or someone, else? For the early philosophers, the largest threat to free will was fate. Later in history, Christian theologians struggled to reconcile free will with God’s sovereignty (theistic determinism). Ever since the modern era, the attack on our free will has mostly come from scientific progress in genetics, neuroscience, and psychology (physical determinism).1 Regardless of where the determinism comes from, the most perplexing question is: if everything in our lives has been determined, then how can we be held morally responsible for what we do?