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Limited Free Will

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Apr 27, 2019.

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  1. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    The idea we are free to choose from among available options is consistent with our experience. Scripture tells us God sometimes restricts our options, i.e. hardening the hearts of some such that they will reject the gospel, i.e. Romans 11.

    "The absence of free will is, however, devastating to all theists since without it you cannot choose to be evil or good, and therefore deserve neither punishment nor salvation."
    So the complete absence of free will is irrational and unrestricted free will is unbiblical. Some assert since we are free to choose among various sinful actions, but unable to choose the narrow path that leads to life, it makes sense for God to punish us for the sin we chose. Rational minds object.

    We can harden our own hearts by the practice of sin. And God can harden hearts for His purpose, such as Romans 9. God can choose a person well on the way of hardening his own heart, and complete the process. Scripture does not rule any of the three out.

    Some say whatsoever comes to pass is predestined to occur. Therefore God is the author of sin. Then some others say while it is true that God to be sovereign must predestine everything, that does not make God the author of sin. Rational minds object.

    Why would God still blame us for our choices after He hardened our heart? My answer is He would not. But prior to that those hardened did make sinful choices, sealing their fate. The hardening, like physical death, simply ends the opportunity to obtain mercy. God, as the potter has the right to harden whoever He pleases.

    Why would God do that, cut short the opportunity of some, and endure their hardened behavior? God did so to make known the riches of His glory (see Romans 11), including even us which He called not from Jews only but also from among Gentiles.

    Our ability to make choices from among various options can be restricted by God for His purpose, thus the Biblical doctrine is "Limited Free Will."

    Romans 9:16 teaches men can will and work to be saved, thus total spiritual inability as the result of the Fall is shown to be mistaken doctrine.

    So when you see disputes raging over complete slavery to sin versus complete freedom of our will, consider that we are fallen and therefore predisposed to sin with a corrupt nature, but we are not so incapacitated as to not be responsible for our choices to reject Christ, or to not treat others as we would treat ourselves, because we have the capacity to accept Christ, and strive to do the will of God.
     
    #1 Van, Apr 27, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  2. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    [Sorry for the double post but the edit timer timed out.]

    The idea we are free to choose from among available options is consistent with our experience. Scripture tells us God sometimes restricts our options, i.e. hardening the hearts of some such that they will reject the gospel, i.e. Romans 11.

    "The absence of free will is, however, devastating to all theists since without it you cannot choose to be evil or good, and therefore deserve neither punishment nor salvation."
    So the complete absence of free will is irrational and unrestricted free will is unbiblical. Some assert since we are free to choose among various sinful actions, but unable to choose the narrow path that leads to life, it makes sense for God to punish us for the sin we chose. Rational minds object.

    We can harden our own hearts by the practice of sin. And God can harden hearts for His purpose, such as Romans 11. God can choose a person well on the way of hardening his own heart, and complete the process. Scripture does not rule any of the three out.

    Some say whatsoever comes to pass is predestined to occur. Therefore God is the author of sin. Then some others say while it is true that God to be sovereign must predestine everything, that does not make God the author of sin. Rational minds object.

    Why would God still blame us for our choices after He hardened our heart? My answer is He would not. But prior to that those hardened did make sinful choices, sealing their fate. The hardening, like physical death, simply ends the opportunity to obtain mercy. God, as the potter has the right to harden whoever He pleases.

    Why would God do that, cut short the opportunity of some, and endure their hardened behavior? God did so to make known the riches of His glory (see Romans 9), including even us which He called not from Jews only but also from among Gentiles.

    Our ability to make choices from among various options can be restricted by God for His purpose, thus the Biblical doctrine is "Limited Free Will."

    Romans 9:16 teaches men can will and work to be saved, thus total spiritual inability as the result of the Fall is shown to be mistaken doctrine.

    So when you see disputes raging over complete slavery to sin versus complete freedom of our will, consider that we are fallen and therefore predisposed to sin with a corrupt nature, but we are not so incapacitated as to not be responsible for our choices to reject Christ, or to not treat others as we would treat ourselves, because we have the capacity to accept Christ, and strive to do the will of God.
     
  3. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    This is not a cut and paste, ok? The balance is between free will and free agency. total Humanity existed as one person (Adam) who exerised free will. That free will choice introduced free agency or freedom to express what is consistent with a depraved nature. This limitation is expressed by Paul in the words "natural man is at enmity (state of war) with God and is NOT SUBJECT to the law of God (God's revealed will) and NEITHER INDEED CAN BE. This same limitation is expressed by Christ "HATETH (enmity) the light and WILL NOT come to the light" and "no man CAN come to me".
     
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  4. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for not posting a huge copy and paste. As you know, IMHO none of your claims of support to the inability of the lost to set their minds on spiritual things is demonstrated false by Matthew 23:13.

    You did not define "free agency" but I suspect it means we can do whatever we are able to do, but since we suffer from (in your opinion) total spiritual inability, we can only chose among sins, and never chose to accept Christ or strive to do the will of God.

    This view of course just ignores the Opening post.

    Questions for which you have no answers:
    1) Why did Jesus speak in parables in Matthew 13, if the lost could not hear and understand the milk of the gospel?
    2) Why did God harden the hearts of the disbelieving Jews in Romans 11, if they were already unable to respond to the gospel.

    In my opinion, your view is obviously mistaken. So you will change the subject.
     
  5. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    I gave you scriptures that explicitly state inability of will but you give a text that says nothing explicitly to the point. They preached a gospel of works and that shuts the door to all who hear it and shuts the door to them as they obviously believe what they preach.

    Saddly, I thought by this time you would know what Free Agency is, but you proved me wrong. Free Agency is the ability to choose whatever you WANT to choose but the fallen man is predisposed against God as the texts given you in my previous post prove - "HATETH the light and WILL NOT come to the light" "ENMITY with God and NOT SUBJECT to the law of God" all speak of predisposition that determines their WANT TO. "no man can" because no man will.




    What you mean is I have no answers you will either objectively consider.

    He gives you the answer in the section found between the explanation of the four soils and the field (Mt. 13:10-18). He did not give them the ability to understand the truth which means such ability is absent from fallen man.


    Blindness and hardness are not one and the same. All are equally blind to the truth of the Gospel but not all are equally hardened. Hardening comes by more exposure to truth. Truth is like the sunshine upon butter and clay. The more the sun shines on clay the harder it gets.

    No, I will not change the subject as I don't see anything that should cause me to change the subject. I am more than happy to go deeper in my responses as these are mere summary answers.
     
  6. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Lets review, my description to free agency was spot on, yet was claimed to not be accurate. Strike one.

    1) Why did Jesus speak in parables in Matthew 13, if the lost could not hear and understand the milk of the gospel?

    Answer Matthew 13 "10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 ]Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

    Jesus spoke in parables without providing an explanation to prevent them from seeing, hearing and understanding. Thus they had some spiritual ability that had to be countered by using parables.


    2) Why did God harden the hearts of the disbelieving Jews in Romans 11, if they were already unable to respond to the gospel.

    Answer Romans 11 "
    7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;
    8 just as it is written,
    “God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,

    Down to this very day.”

    9 And David says,
    “Let their table become a snare and a trap,
    And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.
    10 “Let their eyes be darkened to see not,
    And bend their backs forever.”

    Scripture says God prevented the unbelieving Jews from seeing, hearing and understanding, which means they had that capacity before God hardened them.

    Again, IMHO, it is obvious that Jesus spoke in parables and God hardened hearts to prevent the lost from using their limited free will to respond to the gospel.
     
    #6 Van, Apr 27, 2019
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  7. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    Inability is based upon fallen predisposition, notice "hateth" precedes "will not come to the light." Notice "enmity" precedes "neither indeed can be." Strike three your out.

    He said first, "it is not given unto them to understand" as this the foundational truth that all the rest is built upon. Therefore, if they have no ability, then what follows is they have faulty sight - "seeing they do not see" and faulty hearing "hearing they do not hear" as they do not have ability to "understand." So when the Sun shines (truth) upon this CLAY (depraved nature) it hardens them so that REFUSE to see and REFUSE to hear. God hardens them by simply exposing them to His Son (light).

    How does God give them this disposition toward truth? By sending them prophets who shine the light which they respond by rejection and killing (Rom. 11:1-4). How does God harden sinners (already sinners)? By simply exposing them to more light. If that were not true, then God would not have to "draw" men, there would not have to be divine intervention for men to come to Christ. However, it is true that "NO MAN can come" (not just jews) because the more you expose them to light the more resistant (hardened) they become.
     
  8. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    LOL, Strike one, my free agency was spot on.
    Strike two, no answer was provided for Jesus speaking in parables, if he did not need to.
    Strike three, no answer was provided for God hardening to prevent seeing, hearing and understanding.

    The fallen have limited free will, they can understand the milk of the gospel, 1 Corinthians 3:1, and they can seek God, Matthew 23:13.
     
  9. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    This is your MO when you cannot directly address the evidence placed in front of you - you simply repeat disproven errors and all substantive debate ends. I did not respond this way to you? I did not respond with summary talking points but pointed out explicit statements in the text that contradicts your interpretation. If this is how you are going to respond then why even start a discussion?
     
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  10. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    This whole post is a "I am holier than you, why are you treating me so poorly" post.

    You had no answers.
    Matthew 13:10-13; Matthew 23:13, Romans 11:7-10; 1 Corinthians 3:1
     
    #10 Van, Apr 27, 2019
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  11. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    The ability to choose “good gifts” does not extend to choosing righteousness.

    For example “Choose this day whom you will serve...” granted no authority to the people of their own “innate volition” to choose becoming righteous. They had - as all are given - the choice of what is right and what is wrong, what is better and discern what is not as good. But choosing right is not choosing righteousness.

    The inability of heathen is wrapped in the fact that the human unregenerate will, mind, strength being short. God granting unmerited favor to those who He by His authority daily adds to the church.
     
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  12. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Fallen people (unregenerate) have limited free will, they can choose what is good, such as the will of God or Jesus. They cannot make themselves perfect, holy, blameless, or justified. Only God can and does do that to those of His choosing.
     
  13. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    You have absolutely no scripture that supports your view at all it's all nonsense.
    MB
     
  14. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    Yet another post full of opinions with no support. All nonsense
     
  15. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for your opinion filled post. All nonsense.

    The Scriptures do not support the view that humankind has the ability within some freedom of will that is unfettered by sin. Therefore, salvation can not and the Scriptures clearly state that salvation is not by the will of humankind.
     
  16. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    As I posted, humankind have the ability to discern and choose both good and not good. Christ stated such as father’s knowing how to give good gifts.

    Just as you stated that which humankind cannot do, but is the gift of God “to those of His choosing.”

    The problem comes by some assuming the unregenerate can “choose” to do the will of God or Jesus.

    The Scripture indicates over and over how God’s will is not a matter of human choice (will), nor is belief outside the purposed work of God other than intellectual / emotional exercise. (Parable of seed).

    Over and over the OT gives the selection of people and the job were not their choice, rather, God imposing His will upon them - example Mosses, Jonah, Abraham, Noah, David, ...

    NT examples include apostles, church members, Paul, ...
     
  17. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    This absurd claim is repeated and repeated, but it remains false with no support in scripture. Romans 9:16 clearly teaches fallen people can choose to will and to work to be saved. Matthew 23:13 clearly teaches fallen people were seeking God, they were in the process of entering the kingdom.

    Scripture teaches God requires that we believe in Jesus, and everyone believing into Jesus will have eternal life. James 2:5 teaches God chose those that love God.

    Fallen people can not understand the spiritual solid food of the Spirit. But they can respond and grow on the milk of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 3:1
     
  18. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Van,

    Did your post #12 not agree with my post #16?

    Or are you now disputing your self by stating truthfully

    Either salvation is all of God or it is not of God. One cannot hold to what you stated in post #12, and accept what you posted in # 17.

    Either humankind has the ability to choose (of themself without outside influence) righteousness, and therefore humankind authors their own salvation, or God is the author, both in initiating and completing.

    Post #12 you give God that honor. Post # 17 you mistakenly give authority to humankind.
     
  19. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    I am sorry, but you have been unable to grasp my view for a number of years.
    God and God alone puts us in Christ. We do not put ourselves in. But God requires that we believe and trust and rely on Jesus for our salvation. However, even if we do, that willing to be saved, does not save us. Salvation depends on God alone. If He credits our faith in Christ as righteousness, He puts us in Christ.
    It really is a simple, easily understood view of scripture. God did not put the second or third soils of Matthew 13 into Christ, even though they were willing.
     
  20. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Again you are inconsistent.

    You state, “We do not put ourselves in.” That, “Salvation depends upon God alone.”

    Those kind of statements that exclude any human involvement, are then in opposition to your statements such as:
    “But God requires that we believe and trust and rely on Jesus for our salvation.”

    Make no mistake, belief is certainly that separation from the consequences of unbelief.

    But such is not in the capacity of fallen humankind’s ability without the direct intervention of God. It is this single area that you err.

    The Greek Word “pistis” is from God and involves the human only in assent of what has already been done. One has core change brought by the preaching of the Word, and as reaction to that change expresses belief as if it were their own for the gift has been given and along with the gift ownership. Therefore, “my faith” which God granted endowed to me was not mine but is now mine. I once did not believe, I now believe by the unmerited favor of God. He is the the authority, not man.

    You do not agree with this basic defining of the Greek word for faith (belief) but in doing so bring into question the verse stating it is “not by the will of man.”

    To contend otherwise is to refute Hebrews 12
    ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.​
     
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