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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Is Calvinism for reaching the Lost or Reaching the Saved?

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Theopenlife said:

Jeannette, thank you for the gracious and civil response, and your testimony. Perhaps I can answer at least one question:
Predestination and freewill are both aspects of Truth, and both present in the Bible, so what's the point of insisting on holding to one or the other?

To my "reformed mind" (by the way, labels like "reformed" can be ugly but they also help us recognize what we're talking about…

[color=990033]True, I suppose I react against [i]any[/i] label that tends to divide God’s people into opposing camps.

So would you say that reformed theology is mainly a reaction/correction against RC errors?[/color]

…The word "Reformation" speaks of the major restructuring of the visible Church as it publicly left the Roman Catholic Church in droves. They "re-formed" into organized non-Roman Catholic churches, hence the name. The term "Reformed" is useful in identifying with the major ideas of the time - TULIP, 5 Solas, amongst others.)

.[color=990033]Yes, I used to be able to recite “TULIP”, though not convinced of the absolute truth of every point – even then.[/color]

Anyways, I will attempt to answer your question, "what's the point of insisting on holding to one or the other, if both are true?"

That's just the problem. I don't think both are exactly true…

.[color=990033]Maybe I chose a too-simple way of expressing it. I meant that there are elements of truth in both, but both can become error when taken to extremes.[/color]

I believe that Adam [i][u]had a will[/u][/i] inclined towards good, yet also had the potential to choose evil. After sin, I believe that his will became corrupt and disabled, so much that all a natural man does is tainted with other motives and sins, more than he can perceive.

.[color=990033]I agree 100% with this! So “Adam had a will” and the “potential to choose…” ? You obviously aren’t hyper-Calvinist then :-P Wouldn’t you therefore say that Adam initially had [i]free[/i] will, which then, as you say, became corrupted and in bondage to Satan’s will?[/color]

I believe all men have, by nature, a will that is in bondage to sin. This sin-bondage is not such that they cannot choose between lesser and greater degrees of actual sin, but rather it prevents them from desiring or doing true good - from coming to God on the basis of His righteousness, from departing from themselves and turning to Christ. Their will is enslaved to sin, and thus - though they are responsible to repent - yet they have forfeited the ability to do so.

.[color=990033]Very clearly put! I agree. This is probably what I was after when I said:[/color]
… [color=990033]If, in any degree, it's actually we who choose Christ, [i][u]He gives us power to do so[/u][/i].

[i][u]Maybe He brings us back to the choice of Adam[/u][/i] - do we eat of the tree of doing our own will, deciding for ourselves what is good and what is evil, or do we choose Life?

It is something like a drunkard who crashes his car into a person and kills them. Though the drunk was unable to control himself, yet his inability only aggravates his guilt.

…… {edit} With the drunkard analogy, one may say, "He chose to drink! I didn't choose to be born in sin!" Adam was our federal head and we have received his nature. That seems tough, yet look how willingly we accept the righteousness of Christ, our new federal head! These work in the same way.

. Reminds me of the time I was on jury service, several years ago. In one case, the charge was attempted rape. The judge explained carefully that:
a) the fact that the girl was not physically harmed
b) the fact that the boy was drunk at the time
c) the fact that she had been his willing sexual partner in the past
All these [i]made no difference to his guilt[/i] if he had indeed tried to have relations with her when she was unwilling.

There was also:
d) the fact that he genuinely thought he hadn’t done anything very wrong
e) the fact that the girl’s mother had come over afterwards and hit him with a roof tile!

Again that didn’t make any legal difference to the question of whether he was guilty.[/color]

So, in essence, the point is that I believe that "free will" is a false concept, and that "a will in bondage" must be understood in order to appreciate the grace of God in setting us free.

.[color=990033]I again agree that our wills were in bondage since Adam.

The free will I had in mind was that Jesus sets us free to submit to Him, the same freedom that Adam had before he choose the wrong.

And He gives us power to say as He said to the Father, “Not my will, but Thine”. The free will is the freedom to lay down our wills to Him, instead of having our wills in bondage to Satan, as they were before.

Does that make sense?

I think a lot of our disagreements are a matter of semantics, as well as the difficulty of understanding, and even more expressing in words what we have understood. The definition of what exactly we mean by “free will” for example. You seem to have been using it in a slightly different context from the way I was using it.

Thank you again Michael, you are easy to discuss with. I previously avoided threads on this subject because of being tired of these kinds of debates, and seeing no profit in them, but the way you talk about it is different.

Love in Him


 2007/9/8 20:09

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