Middle knowledge is a proposed solution to predestination vs. free will, to divine sovereignty and human responsibility, going all the way back to the medieval Jesuit priest Molina (so sometimes it's also called Molinism).
Paul gathers together three key terms here that most people don’t naturally think of as belonging with each other. Any one of them by itself is usually not enough. Two of them together are much better. But all three are necessary for a full-orbed personality of godly leadership.
Second Timothy 3:12 declares explicitly that whoever would live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted. This is more than suffering; this is suffering for one's faith. How many of us are persecuted for our faith and, if not, is it because nobody knows that we have any?
Not long ago an unsolicited e-mail asked me to comment on a skeptic’s blogsite that had posted a list of about twenty “historians” from the Jewish, Greek or Roman worlds of around the time of Christ. Here are my thoughts.
It is an amazing story. Before the fall of the iron curtain, only twenty years ago, there were no known Christians of any kind--Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox--in the little Soviet bloc country of Albania.
If we knew who those people were who had so hardened their hearts that they had committed what Jesus calls blasphemy against the Spirit (Matt. 12:32) so that God gives them over to their depravity (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28), we could stop praying for them, knowing it was pointless. But we don't have such knowledge.
I was reminded once again of how evangelicals even in the comparatively prosperous nations of Western Europe (and Ireland had the fastest growing economy in the world at one point in the last decade until the recent financial downturn) still lag noticeably behind even the average middle-class American Christian.