Calvinists Please Explain Something for Me...

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by InTheLight, May 28, 2013.

  1. InTheLight

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    As I understand the Calvinist concept of free will, no one truly has libertarian free will because our sin nature influences our choices such that we could never select the path of righteousness. You might say that our sin nature determines that we don't have (true) free will.

    So how can the Westminster Confession of Faith say that God determines people to be predestined, "so they may come most freely."? [Article X]

    I mean, if God determines you will come to Him, how is that "coming freely"?
     
    #1 InTheLight, May 28, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2013
  2. jbh28

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    In the first part, I would say that no one has libertarian free will because we always choose in accordance to our nature. Now, our nature is sinful, so we that's why we don't want to come to Christ. We may want to be saved from the penalty of sin, but don't want to come to Christ.

    God changes the hear, removes the old stony heart and puts in a new heart. Thus we freely believe the word and believe on the blood of Jesus.

    The same way that we all make choices every day, but yet God has ordained all that comes to past. God has a plan, I make my free choices, God's plan wins.
     
  3. canadyjd

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    My understanding is this. A person's will is bound by sin and other influences so that it is not "free" to choose against its nature. People make decisions, but the decisions are made in accordance with the sinful will's desires. Unless God intervenes, a person will not desire the things of God, they make no sense to that person.

    God intervenes by the power of Holy Spirit to "free" us from that power. When Holy Spirit regenerates us, we can then see the truth of the sinfulness of our beings and our condition before God. We can also see and understand the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Our wills are then free to choose Christ as our Savior.
     
  4. InTheLight

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    This is precisely why it is so confusing. You seem to be saying God intervenes and causes a person to have free will. Correct? So if almighty God influences me, changes my heart, changes my will, how is that "free will"?
     
  5. DrJamesAch

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    There is a very good explanation of how Calvinists adopt compatible free will , but not libertarian free will.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Daomzm3nyIg
     
  6. InTheLight

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    So if a person has been regenerated, could they then freely choose to reject Christ? If they wanted to?
     
  7. InTheLight

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    Ok, that person is not a Calvinist. If there is one rock solid truth in the Cal, non-Cal debates it is that an adherent will claim that a detractor is misrepresenting their views!

    So I'm not going to put much stock in his explanation.
     
  8. jonathanD

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    An agent is free if he does what he most wants to do.
     
  9. InTheLight

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    In the first phrase quoted above, a non-Cal could easily say, "when the Holy Spirit convicts us" instead of "regenerates us".
     
  10. InTheLight

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    No, a free agent has the ability to choose A, choose not-A, or choose something else. Desire doesn't need to be part of the equation.
     
  11. jonathanD

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    I'm explaining the compatibilist understanding. If you insist that freedom must be contra-causal, you will never agree with a Calvinist on freedom (which is fine).
     
  12. salzer mtn

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    A sinner has a free will to sin because his will is in harmony with his nature. A cow won't eat a steak, a lion won't eat hay. I could say they have a free will but the truth is their will is bound by their nature.
     
  13. HeirofSalvation

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    Jonathan and JBH have explained the concept pretty well here's the difference as I see it

    A person has "libertarian" free-will just in case he might have done other-wise. In other words there is an ontologically "real" possibility that it could have occured.

    Calvinists do not believe in libertarian (Jonathan called it contra-causal) free will.

    They would say a person is "free" if there is no external compulsion.
    That the person is not "compelled" to do something they do not WANT to do.
    A Calvinist (most of them anyway) accept a compatibilist view which defines a person's freedom of will differently than someone who believes in LFW

    A "choice" in the compatibilist understanding is guaranteed by primarily internal conditions, namely:
    Whichever states of being direct your greatest DESIRES at any point in time.
    Compatibilists invariably would argue (as JBH says) that people ALWAYS and ONLY choose based upon what their greatest desire is at any time.

    So, the Calvinist view is that God's regenerating Spirit would change your desires and that since your desires have changed, you would come to Christ "freely".

    Nonetheless, this differs from contra-causal freedom wherein nothing serves to "guarantee" those choices. So, unlike LFW that individual COULD NOT actually have "chosen" otherwise, because the conditions necessary for a differing choice were not present. It is satisfactory to compatibilist undestanding to call something a "free choice" if there is no external compulsion.

    As a liner note:
    Not EVERY "Calvinist" necessarily believes this way. Most do now. Some versions of Calvinism don't really take anything like "choice" much into the equation at all.
     
  14. Aaron

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    If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

    The difficulty of the noncalvinist is his carnal notion of liberty. Freedom, properly understood, is slavery to Christ.
     
  15. InTheLight

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    I understand the Calvinist concept, unfortunately for me it is not consistent.

    OK, so the Calvinist denies that God predestining a person for regeneration is NOT an external compulsion? Makes no sense. This is the crux of the quandary.

    But according to Calvinist theology no person wants to be regenerated, however, because of irresistible grace they cannot refuse. That is compulsion, is it not?

    Ah, OK, change the definition to make the theory work. Got it.

    This idea denies acts of self-sacrifice which happen world wide on a daily basis.

    But God's regenerating Spirit is compelling you to come to Christ "freely" so it cannot be called free will.
     
  16. InTheLight

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    I'm not insisting that freedom must be contra-causal, I'm saying it may be or it may not be.

    The Calvinist idea of freedom is contradictory. The lost person could never come to Christ freely because he is bound by his sin nature. But the regenerated person has "free will" to come to Christ because he is bound by the Holy Spirit's new nature.
     
  17. jonathanD

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    InTheLight,

    Do you find libertarian free will (or contra-causal freedom) to be a Biblical concept? Particularly, do you see it as something implicitly shown in Scripture that is necessary?

    I'm not trying to play "gotcha" or anything like that. I'm genuinely interested. When we begin speaking of freedom, we go into the realm of philosophy. I think that is good and right.

    My question comes from the regular statements that "free will" (almost always meaning libertarian freedom) is necessary. I just want to know why? Is it biblical? Philosophical? A blend?

    If I have time, I'll make my case for compatibilistic freedom through the Scripture. Sadly, I've had some external compulsion to go to youth camp (leave tonight at 11pm), so I may have to wait until next week to really interact.
     
  18. jonathanD

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    Arminians also believe that the sinner could never come to Christ freely because he is bound by his sin nature. The difference is that arminians believe that God has provided prevenient grace to "unbind" the will from sin and raise it to a level of neutrality.

    The calvinist would say that prevenient grace (distinguished from common grace) doesn't have biblical evidence. They would say that those who are not regenerated will never come to Christ and that those who have been regenerated will always come to Christ. Both parties are acting according to their volition. Their wills have not been violated. Both are free.
     
  19. InTheLight

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    I do, certainly in Genesis 2 through Gen 3:6. Also elsewhere.

    Haven't really thought about it in terms of necessity. But yeah, I guess it would be.

    I guess it would be a blend. Biblical ("whosoever will may come", "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord", etc.)

    I would enjoy hearing your viewpoint. I do understand what compatiblistic freedom is, I want to know HOW it can be.


    :laugh:
     
  20. DrJamesAch

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    The Calvinist Uniformity Conundrum

    THE CALVINIST UNIFORMITY CONUNDRUM

    1. God can determine belief systems and cause uniformity among believers if He wanted to.

    2. God wants uniformity among believers. Philippians 2:2-5

    3. God determines all things, and God especially determines all things that He wants.

    4. Therefore all belief systems of the elect should be uniform and all Calvinists of one mind.

    Subjectively, the arrogance of the Calvinists proves that they themselves believe that all belief systems should be uniform. The fact that they consistently condescend to anyone that does not agree with is proof of that. Calvinists themselves argue for uniformity of belief.

    If a Calvinist was honest with his theology, he would say that all who disagree with him are not saved. After all, if "Calvinism IS the] gospel" then anyone who disagrees with it is not saved. Mark 1:15 ("Repent and believe the gospe]")

    So even in a Calvinists own attempt to convince others of their position, if the Calvinist wholeheartedly believes he is right, then he is effectually arguing that uniformity of beliefs are predetermined. If the Calvinist does not admit this, he would have to admit there's a possibility that he could be wrong, but if there is a possibility he could be wrong, then that would cast doubt on his election, because 1 Peter 1:4 says to make your calling and election SURE.

    Not all Calvinists are uniform. Not all Reformers are uniform. Reformers won't readily admit they are Calvinists and Calvinists won'd admit they are Augustinians. The typical Calvinist will try to argue, "Well not all Christians agree with each other". As true as that is, other Christians don't have a system of theology whose logical conclusion would demand uniformity, thus having disagreements would be acceptable.

    The lack of uniformity in the belief system of Calvinism according to Calvinist determinism destroys the entire system. The Calvinist must either admit that God can NOT determine all things, or that God does not WANT to determine all things, or that He does NOT determine all things to escape the conundrum.
     

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