The Five Points of Free-Willism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by npetreley, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    It should be obvious, no matter which side you take on the debate, that the free-willism represented on this board bears no resemblance to either the 5 points of Calvinism or the 5 points of the Remonstance. Therefore, I would like to create five (more or less - it doesn't have to be exactly five) points of Free-Willism.

    This is not a joke, and it isn't an attempt to take pot-shots at free-willers. I really would like to establish what most free-willers believe in a condensed form, so that the points are easier to address. I hope the free-willers will contribute to this.

    I compiled the following from my observations over the years. Please amend these points as you see fit. In all cases, "man" means mankind, and refers to men and women.

    1. Limited Inability: Man is fallen, but not so damaged by the fall that he is totally unable to will or to do good. Man does not have enough good in him to save himself, but since man remains created in the image of God, man has enough good in him that he is able to incline himself toward salvation if he so wills. Man is also not so fallen that he is unable to love God of his own free will. (scripture?)

    2. Age of Accountability: Man is born saved and innocent. (I understand that free-willers do not say the words that man is born saved, but I don't know any other way to interpret this. Feel free to "fix" or "amend" if necessary.) If man dies before reaching the age of accoutability, man is not held accountable for sin and deserves heaven. Man does not become a sinner until he knowingly and willfully commits the first sin. (scripture?)

    3. Sovereignty Sovereignly Abdicated: It is God's sovereign will to abdicate His sovereignty to man with respect to salvation. God remains sovereign over all things except man's salvation, but this does not mean God is not sovereign, since it was His sovereign decision to abdicate His sovereignty in this matter. (scripture?)

    4. Resistable Grace: It is God's will that all men be saved, but God does not impose His will upon man. God gives man enough grace to be saved, but not so much as to ensure man's salvation. Man may resist God's grace and refuse the gift of salvation, thereby thwarting God's will that all men be saved. (scripture?)

    5. Free Love: The driving force behind the previous points is that God wants man to love Him, but does not consider love worth having unless man gives love to Him freely, i.e. according to man's own free-will. This requires point #1, that man is not so fallen as to be unable to love God of his own free will. (scripture?)
     
  2. webdog

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    Have a real axe to grind lately...huh? Quite sad...
     
  3. npetreley

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    Huh? I thought the above was quite an objective representation of what free-willers say. If you don't agree, then feel free to edit it and correct it to fit your soteriology. That's the point.
     
  4. Jkdbuck76

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    I look at #2 and I can say that I believe that people are sinners from birth. Why? We have the capacity for it at sons of Adam.

    I'm not an arminian or a calvanist..... I don't know what I am theologically speaking.

    I wrestle with this stuff all the time and if I come across as a smart aleck or a big ol' grumpuss, I apologize.

    But again, I can't agree with #2 since we're born with a sin nature. We're not sinners because we sin, rather we're sinners because of our nature.
     
  5. npetreley

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    I agree with you, but I'm only reflecting what the free-willers on this board say. I can think of at least two people off the top of my head who say we aren't sinners until we commit our first sin.

    That's how they interpret Paul saying things like the following in Romans: "But sin is not taken into account when there is no law" - and "Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died." They interpret this to mean we are spiritually alive at birth (which is why I say "born saved"), but sin springs to life when we are able to discern right from wrong, after which we sin and die. Then we must be raised to life again through salvation.

    No, I don't agree with any of this, but I'm not asking for 5 points of something-else-ism. I'm asking for 5 points of free-willism.
     
  6. webdog

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    Sin is violation of God's law. Being born is not a violation of God's law. You are a sinner because you sin...that's the definition of what a sinner is.
     
  7. npetreley

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    See? So point #2 is an accurate representation of what free-willers believe (which makes me wonder why webdog had a problem with my 5 points).
     
  8. Plain Old Bill

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    Romans 5:12 tells us we are born with a sin nature.
    God does give us a choice and He is soveriegn so that choice is His to give or not give. It has nothing to do with anything good or bad about man.It has to do with God deserving our freely given love and devotion.
    Thank God for Grace I don't want justice. It again is God who seeks us out and convicts us of sin. It is God who tells us of our need for Him.It is also God who allows us the choice to accept or reject Him.If we were forced to go to heaven it would'nt be heaven for us.

    I honestly appreciate your attempt at understanding points of view other than your own. Even when people disagree on some things they can get along and work together because of the things that they do agree on.

    This whole thing makes me a little bit crazy. I have read Calvin's Institutes,Why I am not a Calvinist,and am now in the process of reading why I am not an arminian.I don't believe I'm either.:godisgood:
     
  9. npetreley

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    Thanks! I'm afraid #2 is going to be a sticking point, though. It seems free-willers disagree on that point. I'm not sure what to do with it, then. Perhaps we can simply remove it, but I'm not sure that does the position justice. I believe whether or not we are born in sin is a very important point. But this isn't about me. If free-willers believe it isn't important, I'd say remove it.
     
  10. Plain Old Bill

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    You might think about rewording that to"be held accountable for sin before the age of accountability".:godisgood:
     
  11. npetreley

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    Okay, how about this for the amended #2:

    2. Age of Accountability: Whether or not man is born sinful or innocent is a point of contention. In either case, man is not held accountable for sin until he is mature enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. If man dies before this point, God either considers the man innocent, or imputes innocence to man and man inherits heaven by default. (scripture?)

    That last line is meant to emphasize that man must somehow be innocent in order to enter heaven. I think even free-willers would agree that sinners will not enter heaven, so the man must either be innocent from birth, or innocence must be imputed to the man.
     
  12. Plain Old Bill

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    I think that's a well thought out statement. Just a note on the road ahead,you will never get anybody to agree on the age of accountability.:godisgood:
     
  13. Plain Old Bill

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    I would also note that you will find people on both sides of the fence on OSAS as well as people all over the map on pre-mid-or post tribulation rapture or even amilliniallism.:godisgood:
     
  14. Analgesic

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    As I understand it, the thinking behind #2 isn't that children are born "saved", but rather that they have not yet had the "chance to choose" (i.e. it's closely linked to #1) and therefore will not be held accountable for that which they had no opportunity to avoid. The divergence is in how Calvinists think about how God's essential quality of being "just" relates to the process of salvation. I think #2 would be better amended to reflect this alternative view of what God's justice entails, since the age of accountability issue is only a subcategory of it.
     
  15. npetreley

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    Well, when someone says you are not a sinner until you commit your first sin, I'd say that person is innocent. Whether or not you use the word "saved" or "innocent", it amounts to the same status before God, doesn't it? Either way, you go to heaven.

    But it's a moot point now anyway. The amended #2 simply calls our "starting point" a point of contention and goes straight to accoutability.

    How would this work, with respect to justification?

    2. Age of Accountability: Whether or not man is born sinful or innocent is a point of contention. In either case, man is not held accountable for sin until he is mature enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. If man dies before this point, God either considers the man innocent, or imputes innocence to man and man inherits heaven by default. Either way, God's justice is satisfied. (scripture?)
     
  16. IFB Mole

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    We read how David's baby dying young went to heaven and how Jesus said,
    "suffer the little children to come unto me for such is the Kindom of Heaven".

    I suppose even babies are saved by Grace but then how does a baby have faith? Would an infant dying of crib death be sent to hell becuase they do not have faith in God or does God save all infants who die young or we do not know which babies go to heaven and which ones don't since it is still by God's Grace which ones do go?

    The Bible implies that young children do go to be with the Lord upon death - saved by God's Grace.
     
  17. npetreley

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    Does this mean you are satisfied with the amended point #2?
     
  18. pinoybaptist

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    brother npetreley:

    my own position with regards to babies is that those babies and infants who die in the womb, at birth, or at infancy, belong to the elect of God.

    First, Revelation tells us that " the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" (ch.20, v.12).

    Babies, infants, toddlers, fetuses, have not done works that they have to account for. God has not condemned man on account of his sin nature, but on account of what that nature brings out in him.


    I am sure that their being elect of God is not a big problem to God since He knows who among His people will be born where, when, and how.

    FWIW.
     
  19. Dale-c

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    npet, this is a good thread since it seems that the "neither arminian or calvinist" crowd is all over the board and hard to discuss with.
    This will be very helpful.
     
  20. IFB Mole

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    I would say it more like this:

    1. Limited Inability: Man is totally depraved but not absolutely depraved, by the fall, so he is able to will or to do good. (i.e man does have enough good in him to perform good works, since man remains created in the image of God, man has enough good in him that he is able to incline himself toward acknowledging there is a God - a God consciousness). Man is also not so fallen that he is unable to believe there is a God of his own free will, but apart from the Gospel he has the inability to “save himself”

    2. Age of Accountability: Man is born a sinner but innocent of its condemnation only if a man dies before reaching the age of accountability (ability to exercise faith and acknowledge sin), Man does not come under the condemnation (wages or penalty of sin) of sin until he knowingly and willfully understands his sinful condition.

    3. Sovereignty Sovereignly Abdicated: It is God's sovereign will to LIMIT His sovereignty to man with respect to man's will. God remains absolutely sovereign over all things EVEN man's will, but it is His sovereign decision to LIMIT His absolute sovereignty over man's will to believe or reject the Gospel.

    4. Resistible Grace: It is God's will that all men be saved, but God does not impose His will upon man. God gives man enough grace to be saved, but not so much as to coerce man's salvation contrary to man’s will. Man may resist God's grace and refuse the gift of salvation, thereby thwarting God's will that all men be saved so thus holding man responsible to the Gospel, so man is without excuse.

    5. Free Faith: The driving force behind the previous points is that God wants man to have faith in Him, but does not consider faith worth accepting unless man gives faith to Him freely from his heart and not coerced, i.e. according to man's own will once enlightened by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is IMPOSSIBLE that apart from the Gospel that a man can “will himself” to be saved, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and man’s faith that ensures his heavenly home
     

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