Arminians, Freewill, and Original Sin

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, May 7, 2007.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    Would there be a brave Arminian out there that would explain to the list how the will of man is free and that men possess a free will if in fact they are born as sinners? If OS (original sin) is true, how can one be classified as free that cannot do anything other than to sin and that continually? How can the will of man be said to be free when in fact it is not able to do anything other than what it does (i.e., as a sinner, to sin and that continually) under the very same set of circumstances?

    All Calvinists, stand down, sit back, and relax. I believe we are about ready to coin a new name for a certain sect of believers. I believe I might call it Calverminianism. :)
     
  2. BobRyan

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    I would argue that the depravity applicable to "ALL" without exception in Romans 3 can ONLY be at the level of the sinful nature with which all are born. Because Paul describes himself in 1Thess 1 as an "example that should be followed".

    In Romans 6 this is called "slavery".

    I would also argue that Gen 3 shows a "supernatural" element of division placed between sinful man and Satan by God - placing hatred or war between the kingdom of Satan and the children of God.

    That is the second principle "applicable to all" without exception.

    The result is freedom to choose salvation - but apart from salvation it does not allow freedom from slavery to sin.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Is that slavery to sin from birth? If so, was there ever a possibility to do anything other than sin? If not, how can it be stated that all men have a free will? You speak only of a free will to accept the gospel. Are all men granted the choice of salvation at birth? If not, is the will free at birth and at first light of moral agency?
     
  4. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    BR, does the OT support your assertion that all have the opportunity to hear the gospel? Was it just as likely for a Gentile to have a right relationship with God as a Jew? Was salvation even offered to anyone outside of the Jewish faith in the OT? If so, under what circumstances? What did a Gentile have to do to be saved? Was the opportunity afforded via all hearing, or all being circumcised? Did all have the knowledge of circumcision and the law the means to a right relationship with God from birth? Who did Jesus say His message was originally for? Was it, at the start of His ministry, equal for all, or was His message and efforts direct to the lost sheep of the house of Israel?
     
  5. BobRyan

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    "To him that knows to do right and does it not - to him it sin" James 4:17
     
  6. BobRyan

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    Romans 10 and Romans 1 both argue that nature itself is the "preacher" and that it reaches all mankind.

    Romans 2:13-16 then goes on to illustrate the case of one who without access to scripture "does instinctively the things of the law SHOWING that the works of the law ARE written on the heart". And at the end of Romans 2 we see that such a thing can only happen through the agency of the Holy Spirit working on the heart.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  7. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Where does it call nature a preacher of the gospel? It indeed is a teacher, and some things concerning God and truth can be gleaned from it, but sorry BR, nature itself has never gave anyone the gospel by itself. God has ordained men to preach the gospel, not nature.



    HP: Very true. Just the same, because the Holy Spirit is working on the heart in conviction or instruction is no sign that the Holy Spirit, in and of Himself, reveals the gospel to any man apart from a man being used as the instrument to preach the gospel message to the lost.

    You have avoided my questions in my last post to you. Go back and reread them and try and give an answer to the list if you have an answer.
     
  8. Brother Bob

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    Romans 10:
    17: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
    18: But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.


    Rom 2:14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:


    Job 32:8But [there is] a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

    Eze 18:20The soul that sinneth, it shall die. 4: Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

    If the soul was dead at birth, it couldn't die!!
     
  9. Andre

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    I am more and more convinced that man does indeed possess a measure of "free will". In the present post, I will not make a Scriptural argument. Instead I will argue that the evidence of the real world makes it manifestly clear - the unredeemed do not continually sin. I think that the "data of life" clearly shows that fallen man is actually a mix of good and evil. Now I feel comfortable that this position is also consistent with the Scriptures, but that's for another post.

    I think we need to be honest and face the truth that the lost sometimes engage in genuinely good acts (I believe that many of you will argue that man in an unredeemed state is simply incapable of doing anything other than sin- correct me if I am wrong about this). The usual counter to the position that I hold is that the lost only appear to be doing good - their acts of apparent goodness actually have a sinister and self-seeking intent.

    Given what I have seen in my 4 dozen years of living, this seems rather implausible. I cannot prove my point - I do not have the ability to "peek inside" the mind of another. However, I will say that the evidence that I have been exposed to suggests strongly that whatever it may mean for man to be fallen, it does not involve a complete eradication of his capability to do good.

    I understand why texts like Romans 3 are seen to support a doctrine of total depravity - I think that such texts can legitimately taken as making a less strong claim about the extent of man's corruption.
     
  10. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: A very thought provoking and well thought out post. My question to you is, can one have simply ‘a measure of free will?’ Could you define for us the parameters of what you see the will as being free in and what you feel the will might be under bondage? What I gathered from your post is that you might tend to believe that man has some ability to exercise a free will in doing good at least at times, but you said nothing to answer the question if his acts of selfishness are also a result of a free will that I can recall.
     
  11. BobRyan

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    My argument in the above is not that all the details of the gospel get presented -- even John the baptizer did not have "all the details" and we know that even Christ's disciples pre-cross did not understand "all the details".

    But as Romans 1 points out the "Invisible attributes of God" are clearly seen even by pagans.

    And as Romans 10 points out --

    Romans 10
    17 so
    faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
    18 but i say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;
    “their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    and their words to the ends of the world.”




    The full text quoted in vs 18 above is as follows


    Psalms 19
    1 the heavens are telling
    of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands.
    2 day to day
    pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

    3 there is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard.
    4
    their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them he has placed a tent for the sun,

    5 which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
    6 its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

    Clearly Paul is appealing (again) to nature's voice in declaring the truth of God
    (as we already saw in Romans 1) - so that "they (the people - Jew and gentile) did hear" - fulfilling the
    condition –
     
  12. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Beating the pulpit does not add pertinent evidence BR, to support your false claims. Repeating the same verses over and over does not prove your point in the least. The verses you quote do NOT state or imply that to receive some truth concerning right and wrong or the fact that there is a Supreme Being equates to having the gospel preached to them.

    All truth comes from God, and because man receives some enlightenment, enough to convict his heart of sin to some degree is again no evidence that the gospel has been granted to them. The heathen do NOT have the gospel preached or presented to them until someone is sent and gives them the message. Your insistence to the contrary is simply unfounded and not in accordance to truth.
     
  13. Andre

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    Good point. I did forget to make it clear that I believe that acts of evil are indeed at least sometimes "free" in the sense that the person who commits them has some measure of control over that decision. This may not always be true. I do believe that people can enter a state where they truly are enslaved to sin. However, I believe that to get to that point they made free will decisions to sin.

    I shamelessly confess that part of the reason that I believe in freedom to choose evil is the incomprehensibility of the notion that I am culpable for acts over which I have no control. I do not think this notion makes any sense at all and I humbly suggest that those who claim to believe it do not really believe it. However, I also think that the Scriptures support this view.

    I suspect that people will claim that I am "filtering" God's Word through the lens of "human comprehensibility". Stated more simply, they will claim "it does not matter whether the doctrine makes sense to us, it is there in the Bible".

    Well, at least for now, I will stick to my guns on this and make the following generalization: doctrinal statements that are ultimately non-comprehensible to us as human beings in the world of experience that we inhabit, are ultimately useless items of knowledge and can have no real influence on how we live and our role in the building of the kingdom.
     
  14. BobRyan

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    Far be it from me to pound the pulpit.



    You claim that but then you don't show it. By direct contrast we have

    Romans 10

    16 However, they did not all heed the good news[/b]; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?"
    17 [b]So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    18 But I say, surely
    they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;[/
    b]
    "THEIR [b
    ]VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH,
    AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD."




    16 However, they did not all heed the good news[/b]; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?"
    17 [b]So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    18 But I say, surely
    they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;[/b]
     
  15. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: The verses you use beg the question, hear what? The gospel or enough light to convict them that they are not living up to the light of their own conscience, nor living in light of the implications of responsibility to a Creator?

    Your refusal to distinguish between light of conscience and some knowledge of the existence of God, from the light of the revealed gospel message through the Word of God and His messengers, is indeed appalling. The blood of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of missionaries cries from the ground in response to such a blatant refusal to accept the facts as they are and have been for centuries. Contrary to the presuppositions guiding your search of the Word of God, Scripture testifies to no such notion as you imply. i.e., that all receive the gospel message. Such is simply not the case.
     
  16. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: I am sorry Brother Bob. It just dawned on me that I had written a response to you on this and just as I got finished, lightening struck, killing the power, and wiped out my post. I meant to rewrite it, but simply forgot to. Such comes with age I suppose.

    Good observation. I agree with your post. We are alive and well at birth, born with a clean moral slate, although possessing many sinful propensities. Sin comes as we start to yield our members in agreement to these propensities, not because we were born dead.
     
  17. BobRyan

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    The sin problem for an "infant" includes his/her natural predisposition to sin - the weakened moral nature that "naturally" seeks out sin. In Romans 3 we see this being described as the attribute for "all" and that "no not one" is exempt from it.

    However an infant has no concept of sin and can not commit a sin knowingly or any other way. It simply experiences emotions and is incapable of moral decisions.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: You are clearly not far from the truth by this post. The problem I see is that you confuse a ‘natural predisposition’ with ones ‘moral nature.’ The truth is that ones natural disposition does in fact have a great influence upon ones moral nature that is eventually, subsequent to entering the age of moral agency,’ developed. The problem is that one does not have a moral nature until it acts morally. It cannot act morally, i.e., with accountability as you so aptly point out until it becomes a moral agent at the age of accountability. Until that age one can have a proclivity to sin, or developed sensibilities that will indeed influence it to make sinful choices once it reaches the age of accountability. Do not confuse the sensibilities, present before or after the age of accountability, as ‘moral’ or sinful. Sin lies in the will, not in the influence to sin as presented to the will by the sensibilities. One is a proclivity or influence to sin, while an act of the will subsequent to the age of accountability is indeed sin.



    HP: Amen! Now, just be consistent with that statement and admit that if you have no concept of sin, one cannot sin. “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” “Where there is no law, sin is not imputed.” Infants simply do not sin. They, as you so aptly pointed out, are following the impulses of their sensibilities and are incapable of moral decisions. In a state where one is incapable of moral decisions, it is impossible to predicate morality of their actions. If it is impossible for morality to be predicated to their actions, no ‘moral nature’ can be predicated either. Ones ‘moral nature’ is a result of moral intents, intents which you clearly admit as not possible in infants. You are indeed close to the truth in this matter BR!
     
  19. BobRyan

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    As I have said before you sound like an Adventists - you are making the Adventist argument regarding sin.

    Even as an adult to be "tempted" to sin - to have a sinful nature, to have a weakened fallen nature is still not "sin" nor "sinning". When Paul describes the struggle that he has in Romans 7 with "sin in my members at war with the law of my mind" that struggle is also "not sin".

    Sin is a conscious decision to rebel against what God has said.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Well stated BR. I believe you have said this in accordance to truth and the revelations of Scripture and reason.

    We indeed hold like beliefs in some critical areas. I sure hope this agreement does not kill our discussions.:laugh:
     

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