Calvinism and Free Will

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by JustChristian, Nov 2, 2007.

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  1. JustChristian

    JustChristian
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    Both Calvinism and a free will perspective have support in the Bible. I'm not going to repeat all the scriptures that have been posted on this subject but I certainly could. Why then, do some people feel that only their view is correct and the opposing view is heresy? I don't know. I believe that this is an inherent weakness in organized religion. Everyone wants to believe that only their beliefs are correct and everyone else is in serious error.

    Both of these perspectives recognize that the death of Christ on the cross is the central event which allows us to achieve eternal life. One believes that God has chosen them and the other believes that through the preaching of the gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit they are provided with the opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior. Both believe that salvation necessarily results in a "born again" change in the believer. Both accept the fact that a true conversion experience results in perseverence of the believer until the end.

    The difference seems to be in the fact that Calvinists somehow believe that allowing men to choose Christ or to reject Him reduces the Sovereignty of God. How can a man have any impact on the Sovereignty of God? God is sovereign. That's a fact. Free will advocates tend to ignore that since God is omnipotent He therefore knows the outcome of every decision including the one to accept Christ as their Savior.

    What's the conclusion. Both sides seem to think that they can understand God's ways and His decisions. In reality, neither can do this. From man's perspective, therefore, there is noargument. Both sides are right and both sides are wrong.
     
  2. TCGreek

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    1. Who or What was your source for those distortions of Calvinism and man's responsibilty?

    2. What do you mean by free will?
     
  3. JustChristian

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    My own beliefs. As a Baptist, I have the right and responsibility to determine what I believe. Free will is the ability to choose from several alternatives. Of course, it's never really free since we all have constrauints including our sinful nature.

    Now it's time for your distortions.
     
  4. npetreley

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    I don't think that's THE difference, but it's a fact. If God turns a decision over to man, then God is not sovereign in that decision. To say that God lets man decide X but God is still sovereign over the very same decision is a logical impossibility. God abdicates His sovereignty on that decision when He turns the decision over to man.

    I don't think free-willers ignore this at all. This seems to be their basic premise - that God foreknows our decisions and elects/saves those who make the right decision.

    Your premises are flawed, therefore your conclusion is flawed.
     
  5. TCGreek

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    1. Bastistbeliever has bought into what open theism is selling but really don't know what to do now with the biblical data.

    2. But npet. you have exposed the weaknesses of this reductionist approach to the God of Scripture.
     
  6. Humblesmith

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    No, this is not true.

    The logical impossibility would be if we were to say "God lets man decide, and God does not let man decide." THAT would be a logical contradiction. Another logical contradiction would be if we were to say "God is sovereign, and God is not sovereign." But to say that "God is sovereign, and lets man decide" is not a logical impossiblity in any way, shape, or form, since the two are in different senses.........God is eternal, man is temporal; God is the primary, efficient cause, man is the secondary, instrumental cause; etc., etc.

    Posing God's total sovereignty to be at odds with man's decision for God is a fundamental flaw in this whole debate. It's only an impossibility because we try to make it one. Many theologians over the centuries have held to both, including Aquinas, Shedd, Hodge, Chafer, and others.
     
  7. Brother Bob

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    Does God turn the decision over to men to sin or not?? And does that take away His Sovereignty???

    What if God in His sovereignity, created man subject to vanity, in other words God created man subject to sin or not?? Wouldn't God still be sovereign if he created man to choose, regardless of how man chose??

    Is God the Author of sin???

    Scripture says that He is the Author and finisher of our faith and during the time of our faith, you say we sin.

    BBob,
     
    #7 Brother Bob, Nov 2, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2007
  8. npetreley

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    It absolutely is a logical impossibility. You don't think so because you keep leaving out the important detail in your argument. Webdog does this, too. As long as you leave out "OVER THAT DECISION" you can construct a sentence that sounds logical, but isn't.

    If God abdicates His sovereignty over a decision, i.e., lets YOU decide, then God cannot be sovereign over that decision. That's a logical impossibility. And if God is not sovereign over a single decision of a single man, then God is not absolutely sovereign.
     
  9. Humblesmith

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    I'd suggest starting with Irving M. Copi. He has an excellent introductory text that is a classic.
     
  10. TCGreek

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    I'd suggest starting with the Holy Scriptures. God has an excellent introduction text that is the all-time classic for man.
     
  11. convicted1

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    This kinda stuff keeps getting hashed about in one form or another and neither side will "budge" in their stance.

    Now, that being said, I believe that God, in His all knowing way, knows those who will come to Him when He calls them. I do not believe man on his own, can or will come to Him. Luke 6:44 is a good example. But, those He knows won't come to Him, He will give them a call, even though He knows the way they will choose.

    Let's put it this way; when Jesus went to the cross He took ALL sins(past, present, and future) with Him and nailed them to it.....I hope that ALL christians believe this. Now, if He took ALL sins to the cross when He died, He did for EVERY man and woman. If the so-called "non-elect" have no chance, then why did Jesus take ALL the sins of the WHOLE world to the cross, and then not offer ALL a chance to be saved, as some on here believe?It just doesn't make since. If He took the sins of the WHOLE world to the cross, then ALL who know to do good, but doeth not, will have a chance to be saved!! He took ALL sins upon His striped back! He will give all a chance, even if He knew they would reject Him. That doesn't make Him less sovereign, just MORE-LOVING!! Glory to God!! Praise to Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD!! He died for a wretch like me!!

    Willis
     
  12. Alex Quackenbush

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    This statement reflects a significant misunderstanding of Divine Sovereignty, not to mention if you attempted to universally prescribe this theologically, it results in disaster.

    Take the simple command to believers: "...be ye filled with the Spirit" or "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind".

    Both are actions done by God but are not done by God until YOU decide to yield or take in Bible doctrine. Man volitionally decides to yield to the Spirit, man volitionally decides to take in Bible instruction, God fills them with His Spirit, God transforms them.

    But as I said, attempting to prescribe this theologically universally would be and is the direction of disaster. Divine Sovereignty need not be incorrectly viewed or defined to support and defend its reality. But in improperly defining Divine Sovereignty one forces injury to other Bible doctrines and definitions.
     
    #12 Alex Quackenbush, Nov 3, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2007
  13. belvedere

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    This is where the difference lies. Do we humans "achieve eternal life", or is it a gift from God? I know what the Bible says...
     
  14. JustChristian

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    Didn't God give Adam and Eve the choice of whether to obey His command not to eat from the tree of good and evil? According to you this reduced the sovereignty of God. If this was done in this specific instance why not in general?
     
  15. JustChristian

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    You have bought into actions which violate this warning:

    Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
     
  16. npetreley

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    They had a choice from THEIR perspective, but it wasn't a real choice. The outcome was already decided. There was no chance that they would obey. God knew exactly how they would react and foreordained it to be so. God didn't force anyone to sin, but sin was an inevitable part of the plan before creation.

    I mean, think about it. God is not stupid, yet even I know that if I had wanted Adam and Eve to have remained innocent, I would not have planted a forbidden tree in the garden, and I would not have allowed satan in there. Duh.
     
  17. JustChristian

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    If God CHOOSES to allow man to make a decision then God is still in control.
     
  18. Alex Quackenbush

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    Interesting...interesting. So God's foreordination was based on God knowing before hand "exactly how they would react". Interesting.
     
  19. webdog

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    I agree. It's inconsistant.
     
  20. npetreley

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    Yes, it's called primary and secondary causes. Remember, however, that we aren't like Adam and Eve. So it doesn't apply the same way to us. We're dead in trespasses and sins, so there is only one choice WE will make.
     
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