Friday, December 28, 2012

Free Will

The Arminian view...makes the final decision for our salvation rest upon a human choice not upon a divine action. —R.C. Sproul

I recently had this quote come across my Twitter feed.  It is an interesting quote, meant to show how wrong it is to believe in Arminianism.  The problem is that it does exactly the opposite.  What love God has shown to us, that the final decision on whether we will follow Him or not isn't a decision He makes for us, but gives us the ability to make it for ourselves.

The hesitation on the part of Calvinists comes because they believe that our will is completely destroyed by sin, to the extent when all we can do is sin.  This is called "Total Depravity."  Frankly, I don't have a problem with that as a starting point. I believe every human is born apart from God, and that without Him we can't do anything about it.  

This, though, is where Calvinists and Arminianists part ways.  The Calvinist believes that because we are this depraved, we cannot decide on our own to follow God, and therefore God makes the decision for us.  This is called "Unconditional Election".  God makes the decisions about who will and won't go to Heaven based on His will.  Nothing else, then, comes into this decision.  Therefore those who end dwelling with God for eternity are those whom God has chosen, and those who spend eternity without God are those whom God has not chosen.  

The Arminian, however, doesn't believe.  Arminius believed in what is called the "freed will" of man.  In other words, through the grace of God, man is given the ability to accept what God has done.  The work is still the work of God; it is by grace we given the ability to look to God.  Then, however, it is the choice of mankind; will we choose God, or choose our own way?  This then leads to the belief that those who dwell with God are there because they wanted to be there, not because they were chosen.

There are a lot of ways to go back and forth on this, but that will have to wait for another time.  

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