Part One of this article was published on December 18, 2017. Over a month later, interest in the issues raised in the article remains high, and the questions over associations of evangelical leaders like Al Mohler, Tim Keller, Russell Moore, and Marvin Olasky continue to linger. Efforts to dismiss the well documented findings as the “ramblings of a crazed conspiracy theorist” by Ed Stetzer and others have failed to deflect attention on the facts. There are serious problems with the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission and The Gospel Coalition’s rhetoric and common source of communications with Libertarian think tank, The Acton Institute. SBC and PCA pastors and ministers who have followed the Reformed theological leaders in these circles have little if any clue that they were actually following Jesuit / Catholic Liberation Theology and social policy wrapped in historic Reformed Protestant teaching.
Acton in Evangelical Seminaries
Acton Institute, mentioned in Part One of this research, is headed by Father Robert Sirico, who has a history as a radical “homosexual faith activist.” Acton Institute is celebrated by Philanthropy Roundtable as a key player since the 1990s in synthesizing religion and democratic capitalism. Acton’s blog boasts such bold goals as rethinking Liberation Theology and Marxism from updated and fresh approaches of application, while oddly accusing Trump supporters of folk Marxism. The ironies run much deeper.
According to the “The New Evangelical Social Engagement” by Brian Steensland and Philip Goff, Acton Institute founder Father Sirico, “’combining free market approaches with Catholic social thought,’ argues that ‘there is no social justice without economic freedom …Instead of a vast welfare state, social justice is about people fulfilling their responsibilities in justice to their neighbor.’ Therefore, with the support of the Kern Family Foundation, Acton has sponsored curriculum initiatives at thirteen evangelical seminaries.” (p. 63) Continue reading
By now most of us have heard of former President Barack Obama’s covert operation “Organizing For Action.” OFA is a shadow government leading the resistance to President Trump’s voter mandated efforts to reverse many if not most of the Obama administration policies. Such well coordinated efforts by a “Shadow Government” are referred to as “The Deep State.” Wikipedia defines this type of electorate subversive manipulation thus: “In the United States, the deep state is an alleged entity that coordinates efforts by government employees and others to influence state policy without regard for democratically elected leadership.”
The Hand That Rocks the Evangelical Cradle
It shocks no one that the administration which has done more to undermine Constitutional Freedoms in the U.S. would wage a covert war to protect the radical policies it fought to put in place. What is shocking to many Christians are the radical renovations in and by evangelical leadership touted as a conservative response to Obama era challenges. In most cases the evangelical responses have proven to aid Obama’s dangerous polices rather than bolster defenses against them. The talking points in America have suddenly changed. Clarity over marriage and sexuality has been lost and language obscured in the face of Obergefell and nationwide attempts to open public school bathrooms to the sexually deviant at our children’s expense. Continue reading
Calvinists are deterministic in the compatible style. All determinists argue that events happen because they were determined to happen in the way they happened. Events are the result of God’s determined plan and salvation cannot be conditioned upon faith.
Arguing for determinism, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange wrote, “The singling out of one from another must finally be sought not in the human will, but in God who singles out one from another by His Grace.” He cites such verses as 1 Corinthians 4:7, Romans 9:15, and Philippians 2:14.
He specifically engages the issue of libertarian free choice in his argument against Molinism. He provides a good example of how determinists argue against libertarian freedom in general and as related to salvation in particular. Garrigou-Lagrange says, “Let us suppose that Peter and Judas situated in equal circumstances receive equal prevenient grace; then God sees Peter consenting to accept that grace, and hence singling himself out from Judas who does not consent, not on account of the grace, for an equal grace is indifferently offered to each. Therefore it is because the will decides to accept the grace. Thus do all Thomists argue against Molina, and they thus affirm as revealed the principle that can be called ‘the principle of predilection,’ namely, that no one would be better than another unless he were loved more and helped more by God.’” Here are my thoughts on his comments according to my understanding of Scripture.
Once the better choice is made by Peter, the consequences of salvation do clearly make Peter an essentially better person, but obviously that is only because of grace. Therefore, according to Extensivism, both the choice and the betterment resulting from the choice are due to the grace of God. To wit, no aspect of salvation in Extensivism (or existence for that matter) happens apart from grace. It is neither necessary nor expected that this fit Calvinism’s determinism; only that it fits what we find in Scripture. Thomists (Calvinists) seem not to be able to conceptualize God’s plan being comprised of his equal love and help for everyone, including grace-enabled freedom to choose differently. We should not be surprised to find Calvinism’s exclusivism here since it pervades the core tenets of Calvinism—unconditional election, limited atonement, and selective regeneration.
First, I would note it is not the will per se that decides, but it is the libertarianly-endowed Peter and Judas as the efficient causes of their actions who decide. Each decides and carries out his decision by exercising his will. Second, being so constituted to possess libertarian freedom is solely a grace act of God in creation, and therefore, not some rogue force operating outside or contrary to the plan and grace of God; it would only seem to be so in a Calvinistically-determined system. Third, the ability to exercise their will in choosing is always by grace, regardless of their choice. Peter’s choice to consent was no more a choice provisioned by grace than Judas’s choice to not consent. Each is able to choose differently because it was the will of God for man to be able to do so. That is to say, God’s endowment of man with libertarian freedom does not attenuate the need for and presence of grace. Consequently, Garrigou-Lagrange’s issue seems to be with God’s decision to endow man with libertarian freedom. What if God said to him, I chose for the will to work libertarianly rather than deterministically as you teach? Would he say that cannot be?
It may be cogently argued that equal grace is the raison d’être (reason for being) for otherwise choice resulting in different outcomes, as Extensivism contends. Garrigou-Lagrange says that Peter’s singling himself out is “not on account of the grace, for an equal grace is indifferently offered to each. Therefore it is because the will decides to accept the grace.” In this, he presupposes, but does not demonstrate, if individuals can exercise their will differently given the same grace, that such ability cannot be the result of grace. But there is actually no reason, outside of a deterministic system, why a person’s freedom to will different outcomes cannot be because of grace as indeed Extensivism argues.
He is simply limiting the purpose of grace to ensure a certain outcome rather than grace enabling man, at times, to create different outcomes. This means that Garrigou-Lagrange’s limitation is not imposed by Scripture, logic, the inability of God, or a deficiency of grace, but rather determinism’s narrowness precludes such a state of affairs. He seems to have simply drawn his conclusion that the equal grace did not include the will (technically the efficient cause) to be able to choose differently within the same grace, which is, in fact, the essence of libertarian freedom. Therefore he says that the singling out is “not on account of grace” (if libertarian freedom was true). But Extensivism contends that the singling out is precisely because of grace that affords otherwise choice in an equal opportunity.
Garrigou-Lagrange’s portrayal is that if a person can by an exercise of his will choose a better outcome than someone else, it demonstrates a greater grace and love from God. This conclusion is true in Calvinism’s determinism but it is not demonstrated in Scripture nor is it logically necessary in a non-deterministic approach such as Extensivism. Extensivism contends Scripture teaches everything is by grace, including libertarian freedom and its entailments.
 Compatibilism contends that determinism and moral responsibility (free choice) are compatible; hence the name. Free choice is not attained by lessening the deterministic nature of compatibilism. Rather, it is derived from defining free choice to mean so long as one chooses from his greatest desire, he has made a free choice. Importantly, the greatest desire is determined; consequently, compatibilism provides only a determined free choice.
 Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The One God, tr Dom. Bede Rose (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1944), 462. Garrigou-Lagrange was a prominent 20th century neo-Thomist. See also Thomas P. Flint, Divine Providence, The Molinist Account, ed. William P. Alston (New York: Cornell University Press), 117.
 “Theological Determinism” from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource, http://www.iep.utm.edu/theo-det/ accessed 1/3/16. See responses by indeterminists to his argument.
 Garrigou-Lagrange, One God, 463, quoted by Flint, Divine Providence.
 Extensivist is used in the place of non-Calvinist.