I have a question about Calvinism.

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Scarlett O., Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    How does the passage in the story of the rich, young ruler (specifically Mark 10:21), where Jesus looks at the young man and loves him fit in with a Calvinistic viewpoint of no free will?

    It appears that Jesus loves this man and sincerely desires him to follow Him. He even personally asked the man to follow Him. But the man rejected Jesus because he could not obey the first commandment even though he claimed to perfectly obey commandments 5-10.

    I'm not looking for a debate. I will not reply as to debate. I just am curious how a person who believes in no free will reconciles Mark 10:21 with that belief.

    As a side note, I believe in the absolute Sovereignty of God. I also happen to believe that the free will of man is inside the Sovereignty of God, not outside, as a separate and conflicting thing, but inside, as a created thing and governed thing.


    I'm truly only interested in reading responses.
     
  2. Zenas

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    I'm not a Calvinist, Scarlet, but I think you have analyzed it quite well here.
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: You are on the wrong portion of the list to avoid discussion or debate on an issue. This is a debate forum the last time I checked. :smilewinkgrin:

    You need to do some more explaining. Obviously you must see free will as limited by God's sovereingnty. You also speak of free will as a created thing. How can those be true and the will be free?? Freedom is at antipodes with necessity, and necessity not freedom is what you seem to be painting a picture of.
     
  4. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Very perceptive Zenas, very perceptive. :thumbsup:
     
  5. Jerome

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    "Did the young man inherit eternal life after all ? I think he did; I think he did; because Jesus loved him. . . .I should be heartily glad if all my hearers went away sorrowing when they were not converted; I should think it was a hopeful sign."

    . . . .your decision shall furnish an unerring clue to your destiny. "
    --Spurgeon, "Lovely but Lacking"
     
  6. Tom Butler

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    Let me quote C. H. Spurgeon, Calvinist: The predestination of God does not destroy the free agency of man, or lighten the responsibility of the sinner. (Sermons, Vol 13, p. 30)

    James P. Boyce, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Theologian, Calvinist: Free agency belongs to the nature of an intelligent moral creature. He must have freedom of choice, or he could not be responsible for his action. The very essence of responsibility consists in the power of contrary action, had one so pleased. (Abstract of Systematic Theology, p. 224)

    John Gill, Theologian, Calvinist: ....the human will of Christ, and the will of angels and glorified saints are determined only to do that which is good; and yet they all choose that good freely. Besides, neither the disability of man, nor the efficacious influence of grace, at all hinder the freedom of human actioins. A wicken man, who is under the strongest bias, power and dominion of his fruits, acts freely in fulfilling them; as does the good man in doing what is spiritually good; and never more so than when he is under the most powerful influences of divine grace (Cause of God and Truth, pp 184, 185)

    What these theologians seem to be saying is that human beings are not under compulsion, but act freely according to motives. Since many of the threads on the BB pit Calvinism/electon against free will as if they are mutually exclusive, these quotes will be helpful in our discussion. Their quotes notwithstanding, it will require some more discussion to see how election and free will can be compatible.

    In a later post.
     
  7. Tom Butler

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    E. Y Mullins, President of SBTS 1896-1928 is considered by many to be the most influential Southern Baptist theologian of the early 20th century. He was not a Calvinist, and would be considered moderate-conservative by today's standards. Here is what he wrote:

    Freedom in man does not imply exemption from the operation of influences, motives, heredity, environment. It means rather that man is not under compulsion....

    Some hold that freedom in man means ability to transcend himself and act contrary to his character.....This is an untenable view of freedom. It makes the will a mere external attachment to man's nature rather than an expression thereof. Freedom excludes compulsion from without, it also ecludes mere caprice and arbitrariness. Freedom is self-determination.
    (The Christian Religioin in its Doctrinal Expression, pp. 258, 259).

    Another writer, T. P. Simmons, Calvinist, wrote:

    God cannot transcend himself and act contrary to His character. Neither can man. God is ever determined to do good. Natural man is ever determined to do that which is spiritually evil. A regenerated man is determined, in the main, to do that which is good. When he commits evil, he is for the moment, determined to do evil. The will of God is never compelled or restrained by anything outside His own nature. The same is true of man....

    God prefers holiness at all times, but in consideration of his plan as a whole, , He purposed to permit sin, because it is, in some way, necessary to the working out of his plan. This is analagous to the fact that man has conflicting preferences, but he always follows his strongest preference, ; and in doing so, his will is wholly and absolutely free.
    (A Systematic Study of bible Doctrine, p 185.)

    More to come.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    T. P. Simmons again:

    Man cannot do otherwise than continue in sin so long as he is in his natural state. But his continuance in sin is not due to outside compulsion or restraint, but to his own character, which causes him to choose darkness rather than light. He continues to sin for the same reason that a hog wallows in the mire. He continues to sin for the same reason that God continues in holiness. Thus he is fully a free agent. (Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine, p 185.)

    This is probably the most controversial of the quotes I have made. Non-Calvinists will likely disagree with some of it, since it basically denies a major non-Calvinist point--that all men, in their natural state, have within them the ability to choose or reject Christ.

    At the very least, I hope I have given everyone something to chew on. And some may be surprised to read that Calvinists do believe in free agency.
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    HP and Scarlett O,

    I'm sure it's just me, but the type style and color of your posts are a bit hard on the eyes.
     
  10. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    At the heart of the Calvinist notions concerning the will is their false definition as to what freedom of the will consists of. It is the tool of deception to take terms such as freedom of the will and twist it to imply something in actuality contrary to freedom. Many, including the Calvinist, do just that. Let me clarify.



    There are those that speak of freedom of the will, but they define it as ‘freedom to do as one wills.’ There is not the least shred of freedom in that if it is examined in the light of truth. Freedom can only exist where the possibility exists that one can do something other than one does under the very same set of circumstances. Freedom can only exist if there are two or more possible consequents for a given antecedent. If there is only one possible consequent for a given antecedent, freedom is a chimera and does not exist.

    If the outcome is necessitated apart from man choosing, and what is ‘seen’ as his choosing is simply the necessitated results of force or coercion, it matters not if one says that such a one is ‘free to do as he wills,’ he is not under freedom but under coercion.



    If freedom of the will exists, God must allow man to actually be the first cause of forming his intents. Many things may influence the will of man, but nothing can determine the formed intents apart from man himself if freedom of the will is present. Deny this truth and you not only deny true freedom of the will, but you deny morality at its core. Freedom lies not in the relationship sustained between the will and the actual carrying out of the intent, but rather freedom only lies antecedent to the doing, in the actual formation of the intent. The will sustains to the doing the relationship of necessity. One can ‘only’ do as they will. If they do something different, it is living proof that they formed a different intent. Again, freedom of the will only exists prior to the actual doing, in the formation of the intent, in being the first cause of them.
     
    #10 Heavenly Pilgrim, Jan 18, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2009
  11. Tom Butler

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    I don't think anybody wants to set God's sovereignty and His own free agency at odds with man's free agency, because the scripture teaches both.

    Acts 2:22 "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."

    Here, clearly, we have both. Those who were responsible for the crucifixion operated freely and without coercion, thus are held responsible; yet, Peter here says the crucifixion was the result of the determinate counsel of God. Flip Wilson's character Geraldine excused her behavior as "the devil made me do it." Obviously, that doesn't fly here, nor does "God made me do it."

    I don't recall anyone on this board or anywhere else giving this testimony: "I'm saved, I know I'm saved, but I didn't want to be saved. In fact, I don't want to be saved now. But I'm saved because God made me do it. I wish he'd leave me alone. I love evil. I don't want to go to heaven. But God forced me to be saved. I had no choice."

    I know, that's an extreme example, maybe over the top. But it speaks the argument that anything less than total free will must necessarily involve coercion, which is wrong.
     
  12. Scarlett O.

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    Sorry.

    Thank you for all of your replies.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    What I hope has happened here is to correct a common conception that Calvinism denies free will. I think we all understand that there are limits to our will. I will to fly like a bird, but I can't. And maybe we'll quibble over the definition.

    But I hope you'll no longer describe the Calvinistic viewpoint as "no free will."
     
  14. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Free will has nothing whatsoever to do with the ability do ‘anything imaginable’ like a human flying like a bird. Man cannot will anything known as an absolute possibility to accomplish. What does that have to do with any conversation as to what constitute a free will? We are addressing the area of morals, not flying like birds. We are dealing in areas that are blameworthy and praiseworthy morality, which flying like a bird does not apply. The limits you speak of are not remotely associated with any discussion of freedom of the will as it involves morals.

    Calvinism does in fact deny a free will in the realm of morals, in spite of all insistence to the contrary. I believe I explained that clearly in my post #10. Their freedom of the will does not involve freedom at all. ‘Freedom to do as one wills,’ which is exactly the Calvinist position, has absolutely nothing to do with freedom and has everything to do with necessity, force or coercion. You may need to read that post again.
     
  15. Nicholas25

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    I lean toward Arminian theology, but I do believe that God has to draw the sinner to repentance (John 6:44/6:65). I do not believe that one in their natural state can't choose God, because the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). As of now I believe that man can choose or reject the convicting power of God. :)
     
  16. MorganT

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    First let me say, I believe in Predestination. WHY? Because its in the Bible. Its really simple when you understand it. Im going to try and show you the way that I understand it. Lets look at some text.

    Eph 1:1-14 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus. (2) Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ; (4) according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (5) having predestined us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (6) to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He has made us accepted in the One having been loved. (7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, (8) which He caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding; (9) having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, (10) for an administration of the fullness of times, to head up all things in Christ, both the things in Heaven, and the things on earth, even in Him, (11) in whom also we have been chosen to an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will, (12) for us to be to the praise of His glory, who previously had trusted in Christ; (13) in whom also you, hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of our salvation, in whom also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (14) who is the earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.


    Rom 8:27-30 And He searching the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers. (30) But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, those He also justified. And whom He justified, these He also glorified.

    Here is my understanding of Predestination. Predestination is GOD's Knowledge, he knows everything from the beginning to the end. We as people have FREE WILL and it has nothing to do with GOD's Knowledge, its just that GOD being GOD already knows the outcome, he is not a puppetteer but simple the Alpha and Omega and he knows how the world began and he know how it will end and he knows every detail in between. Predestination is simple GOD's knowledge. Nothing more, nothing less. I dont really understand why people have a problem with God knowing everything but yet we call him GOD. Predestination is a big word for what he knows. This is my understanding of Predestination and how free will goes hand in hand with Predestination.
     
  17. Jerome

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    "Concerning the rich young ruler of whom it is said Christ "loved him" (Mark 10:21), we fully believe that he was one of God's elect and was "saved" sometime after his interview with our Lord. . . . It is written, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out," and this man certainly did "come" to Him." ---Arthur Walkington Pink, The Sovereignty of God
     
  18. Amy.G

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    He also rejected Christ and went away sorrowful. To say that he was saved later is just opinion and has no biblical proof.
     
  19. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: There is some wisdom and logical common sense at work.:thumbsup: :applause:
     
  20. Jim1999

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    I have done this before, but it bears repeating. Draw two circles, one within the other. The outer circle represents the absolute sovereignty of God. The inner circle represents the Permissive Will of God. Within this circle is humankind and their full nature related to being a person. They have a mind and it has freedom to determine where and what they do,,,,,,,but, it remains under the permissive will of God,,,,,"thus far, and no further." Jonah had the free will to disobey God's command to evangelize a nation. Jonah refused and went his own way. God demanded obedience and had Jonah thrown overboard,,,Jonah obeyed God, in his own determinative will, and preached at Nineveh.

    Do not confuse the eternal attribute of God's foreknowledge with any events regarding salvation and predestination. Man is dead in sins from Adamic times and he is spiritually blind. He cannot make spiritual decisions regarding eternity. First God moves, then man responds. It is not man's free will,,which operates only in the human realm. It was God's determinative will that called man out of sin into His marvellous light.

    This is classic Calvinism. It does not deny free will, but places it in its proper perspective.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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