Let's give that tree a trophy for being so good!

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Skandelon, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    John Wesley made an excellent point when he wrote:

    Indeed, if man were not free, he could not be accountable either for his thoughts, word, or actions. If he were not free, he would not be capable either of reward or punishment; he would be incapable either of virtue or vice, of being either morally good or bad. If he had no more freedom than the sun, the moon, or the stars, he would be no more accountable than them. On supposition that he had no more freedom than them, the stones of the earth would be as capable of reward, and as liable to punishment, as man: One would be as accountable as the other. Yea, and it would be as absurd to ascribe either virtue or vice to him as to ascribe it to the stock of a tree.

    Calvinism makes men no more accoutable than a stock of tree. Imagine giving a tree a reward for its beauty, as if it had something to do with it. Or worse still, imagine punishing it because of the color of its bark, as if it was responsible for choosing its color. Trees, rocks, the sun and the planets do as they have been created for they are mere objects in nature. They can't react, reason, or respond. They can only be and do as they were created. Is that all we amount to as those created in the image of God? Are we no more free than a stump of a tree?
     
  2. whatever

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    Who said man wasn't free? We are all free to do whatever we want, and that's what we do, and we are accountable for it.
     
  3. Wes Outwest

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    I'm relieved to find out that I'm not totally depraved, but I am free to be if I want to!

    Gee! That means that I'm free to be righteous too...if I want to!
     
  4. whatever

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    "if I want to" - aye, there's the rub.
     
  5. Skandelon

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    You will NEVER want righteousness if left ON YOUR OWN.

    Just like you would never want ice cream if you were never introduced to it. In the first century Paul never said, "Man, I'd give up my donkey for a pint of Blue Bell." Why? Because he lacked knowledge. If someone were to introduce him to Blue Bell and give him a taste then he would have a decision to make. My donkey or a pint of Blue Bell?

    The same is true of God's means for reconcilation. Men won't seek reconcilation until they first know their is the need and means to be reconciled. Thus the need of the law and the gospel. The law shows the need and the gospel reveals the means. Without these, brought to us by God, men would be helpless. But to just assume that men cannot respond to a message of reconcilation because they are born without the knowledge of the need or the means for reconcilation is non-sense and completely unbiblical.
     
  6. Skandelon

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    BTW, I very fimiliar with the old, "We are able but just not willing" routine. I used it frequently.

    Tell me, if indeed we are able, then why do Calvinist quote John 6 which speaks of men being "unable" as proof for their doctrine of Total Depravity?
     
  7. whatever

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    Make up your mind - are we talking about freedom or ability?
     
  8. Window Wax

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    Do we have the ability to be free?

    "Calvinism makes men no more accoutable than a stock of tree. Imagine giving a tree a reward for its beauty, as if it had something to do with it. Or worse still, imagine punishing it because of the color of its bark, as if it was responsible for choosing its color."

    I have a pen in my hand... I will now place the pen on my desk. And now that I have placed the pen on my desk, I will punish the pen for making the "choice" to be placed on my desk.

    *Burns the pen*
     
  9. Skandelon

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    Both. For a man without the ability to respond is not free to respond. Nor is a man without the freedom to respond able to respond. If you're not able you're not free, period.
     
  10. GeneMBridges

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    You should know the answer to the question already. We differentiate between moral ability and natural ability. You falsely assume that either such a distinction does not exist or that natural ability presumes moral ability and vice versa.

    A parapalegic may desire (e.g. "want") to walk but be unable naturally.

    A nondisabled person may have the natural ability to walk but not want to and thus be unable for that reason.
     
  11. whatever

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    Both. For a man without the ability to respond is not free to respond. Nor is a man without the freedom to respond able to respond. If you're not able you're not free, period. </font>[/QUOTE]First you jump from "free" to "able", then you jump to "free and able to respond" (to the gospel I assume). I never said anyone was free to respond to the gospel.

    I am perfectly free and able to not fly. That does not mean that I am able to fly, nor am I free to do so. The unregenerate man is free and able to not believe the gospel. That does not mean that he is free and able to believe the gospel.
     
  12. Wes Outwest

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    I'm not too sure about that. I've passed through a number of "phases of life", and each phase brings with it a greater attraction toward righteousness, and a desire that the whole of mankind be likewise drawn. Perhaps it is only a matter of facing my own mortality, but I witnessed the same things in my own dad when he was living. The older and wiser he became the more inclined to righteousness he became. I never knew my father to tell a lie, or to short-change another in any kind of dealings, and none of his associates had a harsh word about him. What a man to admire.

    Granted, I am Christian, and the object of my faith is Jesus Christ. But the more of this natural life I experience, the greater is my human desire to see the whole of mankind become righteousness oriented.

    Yes, I understand that may be the Holy Spirit's work in my life, but even in my work environment where I am surrounded by unbelievers, the attraction to righteousness is strong.

    Perhaps if I did not have faith in Jesus....but alas if no faith in Jesus righteousness may not be a topic of my thoughts. But we'll never know if that is true because we are not equipped with a righteousness switch that can be turned on and off.
     
  13. Wes Outwest

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    Both. For a man without the ability to respond is not free to respond. Nor is a man without the freedom to respond able to respond. If you're not able you're not free, period. </font>[/QUOTE]First you jump from "free" to "able", then you jump to "free and able to respond" (to the gospel I assume). I never said anyone was free to respond to the gospel.

    I am perfectly free and able to not fly. That does not mean that I am able to fly, nor am I free to do so. The unregenerate man is free and able to not believe the gospel. That does not mean that he is free and able to believe the gospel.
    </font>[/QUOTE]If one is free and able to believe in anything, that one is free and able to believe the gospel. freedom and ability are not stifled by the subject matter. It is foolishness to think otherwise.
     
  14. whatever

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    Somebody better tell Paul:

    1 Cor. 2:14 (ESV)
    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
     
  15. Wes Outwest

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    Pauls statement does not change the fact of the ability God gave every human being to believe. Every man is equipped adequatly to be able to believe, and truly every man does believe in something.

    The things of the spirit of God are hard for many a man to accept, because God is invisible to all but the spirit filled.
     
  16. GeneMBridges

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    Lots of problems here.

    First, the text says man is not able to understand...

    You say that he is able to understand.

    Second, you say that any lack of understanding is because he is not spirit filled.

    Okay, then why is he not spirit filled?

    Because man does not believe?

    Okay, then why does he not believe?

    Because he does not understand.

    Why?

    The text says man does not understand because he is not able to understand. It does not attribute lack of understanding to lack of spirit filling, nor is anything said about man's inability being attributed to lack of understanding. The text says what it says. It says man does not understand because he is not able to understand, no more, no less.

    Wes, you have yet to deal with the distiction between moral ability and natural ability.

    God gave man the ability to walk, correct? This is natural ability.

    A parapalegic may want to walk, but he lacks the natural ability.

    A nondisabled person may have the natural ability to walk but be unable to do so because they do not want to do so. In other words they lack to moral ability, e.g. desire/motivation.

    In the same way, no Calvinist says man has no faith at all. What we say is that man lacks the ability to exercise what faith he has in a salvific way because he is inherently so corrupt that he does not want to do so. Thus he is morally unable. In that sense the faith to save is a gift from God, in fact it was purchased by Christ at Calvary, because God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. Certainly then faith, since salvation is by grace through faith, is a spiritual blessing that was purchased at Calvary in the atonement.

    You have yet to tell us why, then, in your view, some believe and not others.
     
  17. Wes Outwest

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    I don't agree with you GeneMBridges!
     
  18. GeneMBridges

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    Wes,

    my entire point is that you disagree based on your theories not on Scripture. You need to deal with Scripture.

    The Scripture that was cited does not mean what you say in any way. Deal with the text and tell us why, based on a meaningful interaction with the Scripture, not on your theories.

    If you have a theory, then show that it is supported in Scripture or is logically infered in Scripture.
     
  19. Skandelon

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    So are you arguing that men are able to natually believe but not morally believe? Please explain.

    What is the point in even bringing up that men are "natually" able. Does it matter? It doesn't avoid the argument I have presented, because either way the men are not able to respond in faith and thus are no more free than a stump of a tree.

    So, in this analogy walking = belief (which you say men has the natural ability to do (right?). But the problem is that he doesn't have the desire, nor can he.

    What is the point of speaking of his natually ability if his moral ability (desire) will never allow him to act within his natural abilities? Doesn't it afford the same argument either way?
     
  20. Skandelon

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    Do you guys ever stop and listen to yourselves? This is just double talk.

    Of course unregenerate men are free and able to not believe, but what passage gives you the authority to say that unregenerate men can't respond in faith to God's message sent for the purpose of reconciling the world to himself?
     

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