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  • Calvinistic ‘Freewill’ Redux, ad Infinitum


    Originally posted by Pilgrimtozion
    I'd like to pick the brain of my Calvinistic brothers and sisters in Christ concerning their position on free will. Do you believe man has free will - in the most general sense of the phrase? If so, how does you answer to that question relate to the question whether man has free will regarding salvation?

    I'm very eager to engage you in a conversation on the issue, understand your position better, and bounce my own thoughts off you in the process.

    Proceed!


    Originally posted by reformedct
    I, as a believer in most of the teachings of John Calvin, believe that man has free will. However, i also believe that the "free will" that man has in enslaved to sin, hostile to God, and that the heart of man is wicked and stony. So i believe that man exercises free will under the bondage of sin. Christ sets us free from bondage…
    Originally posted by reformedct
    …So, in relationship to salvation, it is my belief that those who exercise free will to repent and believe have been given a new heart to do so. As Christ said, you did not choose me, but I chose you…
    I think that saying that a person with a heart of stone and a mind hostile to God can repent and believe while at the same time having that heart of stone that is desperately wicked is a little off. It is my conviction currently that that would be against what Scripture teaches. Its not that the hard-hearted don’t know about God or His ways however. They know the truth, but they suppress it in unrighteousness. So those who do not choose God are rightly condemned. They used their own free will to do exactly what they wanted to, which was to gratify their sinful passions….


    Originally posted by Pilgrimtozion
    …they cannot choose life unless God actually chose them first and worked the choosing in them. So where is there any actual freedom of choice? How is the condemning of sinners 'right' if they had not other choice than to choose to sin because of their sinful nature?


    I’m what one would usually term a Calvinist. I agree that man has freewill, and I am in hearty agreement with reformedct’s excellent post. Brother Mark, jrick, thepenitent and others also posted on important considerations, chiefly a distinction in what Christians mean by freewill and, per your inquiry, how the will that we have relates through our salvation.

    When we usually reference Calvin or Augustine or the predominant view of Christians through the centuries on this issue, it’s the supremacy and sovereignty of God that helps clear the air. What I mean is that not many Christians have ever doubted that only God is absolutely free and that our human freedom is limited and may never override the authority and power of God. Our freedom as humans is always limited by the higher freedom of God. Paganism, Humanism, and even Mormonism and other ‘works’ based world-views like to postulate that we have more power than we do, and are perfectly capable on our own to do either good or evil. Christianity teaches that God defines good and evil. Even Arminians, who agree with our need of God toward good, would usually agree that in our natural state we would rather choose what we want, what seems preferable to us, and that this sets up a conflict with choosing what God wants – that our choices are inclined to our will, which is naturally at enmity with perfect obedience to God.

    The debate usually comes in defining that our predilection toward inconsistent perfection in God’s eyes, our lack of desire for the things of God, renders us morally unable to choose the good, even though God has created us with a natural ability to choose God. That is, our natural ability is irreparably corrupted by our own desires, which are in conflict with what God’s will. It may sound circular to say, as did Augustine, that we have freedom but do not have liberty, but, again, even Arminians would agree that we are in desperate need of God’s help in salvation.

    Further, we Calvinists also agree that good works are very necessary to salvation, which is a continuing process for us, this side of Heaven, toward complete redemption. The difference is that Calvinists view that the Scriptures teach that these good works are essentially and perfectly provided through Christ and the grace of his righteousness, rather than any inkling of man’s desire to perfectly meet God’s demands, his will, of holiness.

    A key passage for us is John 6:44:
    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” – ESV

    John 6:25-59, ESV, (Biblegateway link)


  • #2
    Originally posted by grit View Post



    A key passage for us is John 6:44:
    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” –
    A key word in that key passage is "unless" meaning not before. Therefore we can see from that "key" passage that once a man is drawn, he then can come. In other words, it's absolutely impossible to come before this drawing occurs.
    If the Calvinistic Westminister Confession is true (that "God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass"), then God ordained my disbelief of Calvinism.

    Comment


    • #3
      even if you believe every person has the ability from birth to choose God(which i dont agree with but lets say it was true), it was still God who gave them the ability to choose Him. either way it begins with God.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by reformedct View Post
        even if you believe every person has the ability from birth to choose God(which i dont agree with but lets say it was true), it was still God who gave them the ability to choose Him. either way it begins with God.
        From birth he is unable

        From re-birth he is able
        If the Calvinistic Westminister Confession is true (that "God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass"), then God ordained my disbelief of Calvinism.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by grit View Post

          A key passage for us is John 6:44:
          “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” – ESV

          John 6:25-59, ESV, (Biblegateway link)


          Just for humors sake let's look at the different versions of this verse


          John 6:44-45 (CEV)
          44 No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me makes them want to come. But if they do come, I will raise them to life on the last day. 45 One of the prophets wrote, “God will teach all of them.” And so everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him will come to me.

          John 6:44-45 (NLT)
          44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.

          John 6:44-45 (RSV)
          44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.

          John 6:44-45 (NRSV)
          44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.


          John 6:44-45 (1901 ASV)
          44 No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me.

          John 6:44-45 (NAB)
          44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.

          John 6:44-45 (NKJV)
          44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.


          John 6:44-45 (KJV)
          44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.


          There are some differences in the comma usage, and particularly the verse that follows verse 45. I found that interesting. I looked up the word translated as draw and here's what Strong's says:

          <li class="liNumbers">Strong's Greek #1670
          1670helkuo { hel-koo’-o} or helko { hel’-ko}
          probably akin to 138; TDNT - 2:503, 227; v
          AV - draw 8; 8
          GK - 1816 { ἑλκύω }
          1) to draw, drag off
          2) metaph., to draw by inward power, lead, impel


          For some reason this makes me think of the art of fishing with artificial lures.


          My notes say that this is Tense/Voice/Mood #5661 whicH i had to look up. My resouces, and another site agree that it is the Aorist tense, Subjective mood.


          (I wish I understood tenses better, but I found the above very interesting nonetheless)


          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by alethos View Post
            From birth he is unable

            From re-birth he is able
            yes i agree with you. I was just saying even if you believe we are able at birth it would still start with God because it is He who gives us the ability. As a reformed believer it is my conviction that a new heart must be given in order to repent and believe.

            Comment


            • #7
              And where else is Strong's Greek 1670 used?

              Drawing a net.
              Drawing a sword.
              Drawing Paul and Silas out of the temple. (oops, they used drag)
              Drawing water.

              Hmmm, did the net come willingly? The sword? The water? Paul and Silas?

              Don't kid yourself. Everywhere helkuo is used, it may be translated by some as draw, but in every case is meant as drag.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Yukerboy View Post
                And where else is Strong's Greek 1670 used?

                Drawing a net.
                Drawing a sword.
                Drawing Paul and Silas out of the temple. (oops, they used drag)
                Drawing water.

                Hmmm, did the net come willingly? The sword? The water? Paul and Silas?

                Don't kid yourself. Everywhere helkuo is used, it may be translated by some as draw, but in every case is meant as drag.

                IN the same Gospel of John Christ is said to have said:

                Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

                So if you want to get ULTRA technical, does that not mean he draws EVERYONE to him anyways? Seems to me that's a nullification to your objection.

                As for when peter drew the sword? why did he do it? Was he doing it because he was acting or reacting? I believe he was reacting to what the situation was, in an act of "self defense" so to speak.

                As for in Acts:
                And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

                Seems to me they were compelled by the force of something (which was not God, but man).

                Also in James:

                Jas 2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

                Again, each time this is used except for those two instances in John, the word is use din the context of men's compulsion upon the person or thing being spoken of.

                But I'll rest again with what I began with:


                Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

                Seems it is not a particular drawing, but that all are drawn, just as that God is calling All sinners to repentance.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by reformedct View Post
                  As a reformed believer it is my conviction that a new heart must be given in order to repent and believe.
                  As a non-reformed believer, I completely agree with that statement.
                  If the Calvinistic Westminister Confession is true (that "God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass"), then God ordained my disbelief of Calvinism.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by grit View Post







                    I’m what one would usually term a Calvinist. I agree that man has freewill, and I am in hearty agreement with reformedct’s excellent post. Brother Mark, jrick, thepenitent and others also posted on important considerations, chiefly a distinction in what Christians mean by freewill and, per your inquiry, how the will that we have relates through our salvation.

                    When we usually reference Calvin or Augustine or the predominant view of Christians through the centuries on this issue, it’s the supremacy and sovereignty of God that helps clear the air. What I mean is that not many Christians have ever doubted that only God is absolutely free and that our human freedom is limited and may never override the authority and power of God. Our freedom as humans is always limited by the higher freedom of God. Paganism, Humanism, and even Mormonism and other ‘works’ based world-views like to postulate that we have more power than we do, and are perfectly capable on our own to do either good or evil. Christianity teaches that God defines good and evil. Even Arminians, who agree with our need of God toward good, would usually agree that in our natural state we would rather choose what we want, what seems preferable to us, and that this sets up a conflict with choosing what God wants – that our choices are inclined to our will, which is naturally at enmity with perfect obedience to God.

                    The debate usually comes in defining that our predilection toward inconsistent perfection in God’s eyes, our lack of desire for the things of God, renders us morally unable to choose the good, even though God has created us with a natural ability to choose God. That is, our natural ability is irreparably corrupted by our own desires, which are in conflict with what God’s will. It may sound circular to say, as did Augustine, that we have freedom but do not have liberty, but, again, even Arminians would agree that we are in desperate need of God’s help in salvation.

                    Further, we Calvinists also agree that good works are very necessary to salvation, which is a continuing process for us, this side of Heaven, toward complete redemption. The difference is that Calvinists view that the Scriptures teach that these good works are essentially and perfectly provided through Christ and the grace of his righteousness, rather than any inkling of man’s desire to perfectly meet God’s demands, his will, of holiness.

                    A key passage for us is John 6:44:
                    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” – ESV

                    John 6:25-59, ESV, (Biblegateway link)

                    John 6:44 does not support Calvinistic uncoditional election. It must be read in context.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Veretax View Post
                      IN the same Gospel of John Christ is said to have said:

                      Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

                      So if you want to get ULTRA technical, does that not mean he draws EVERYONE to him anyways? Seems to me that's a nullification to your objection.

                      As for when peter drew the sword? why did he do it? Was he doing it because he was acting or reacting? I believe he was reacting to what the situation was, in an act of "self defense" so to speak.

                      As for in Acts:
                      And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

                      Seems to me they were compelled by the force of something (which was not God, but man).

                      Also in James:

                      Jas 2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

                      Again, each time this is used except for those two instances in John, the word is use din the context of men's compulsion upon the person or thing being spoken of.

                      But I'll rest again with what I began with:


                      Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

                      Seems it is not a particular drawing, but that all are drawn, just as that God is calling All sinners to repentance.
                      IF we take Yuckerboy's meaning we have universal salvation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yukerboy View Post
                        And where else is Strong's Greek 1670 used?

                        Drawing a net.
                        Drawing a sword.
                        Drawing Paul and Silas out of the temple. (oops, they used drag)
                        Drawing water.

                        Hmmm, did the net come willingly? The sword? The water? Paul and Silas?

                        Don't kid yourself. Everywhere helkuo is used, it may be translated by some as draw, but in every case is meant as drag.
                        Above is an perfect example of a word-study fallacy known as "word-loading." This occurs when a person takes a meaning of a word in one context and then seeks to apply that same meaning into a different context. They do this when they appeal to the use of helkuo in James 2:6, Acts 16:19 and other places, as justification for understanding John 6:44 as meaning drag or force.

                        I know the following verse is found in the OT, would this verse make sense if the word "drawn" was replaced with dragged?

                        Jeremiah. 31:3
                        The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

                        In times past did God draw people by the use of loving kindness, but now has changed His approach from drawing with loving kindness to resorting to forcefully dragging people to Himself?

                        If so then we can't believe Scripture when it says.
                        Malachi 3:6 I am the Lord, I change not
                        Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever.
                        If the Calvinistic Westminister Confession is true (that "God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass"), then God ordained my disbelief of Calvinism.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Veretax View Post
                          IN the same Gospel of John Christ is said to have said:

                          Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

                          So if you want to get ULTRA technical, does that not mean he draws EVERYONE to him anyways? Seems to me that's a nullification to your objection.

                          As for when peter drew the sword? why did he do it? Was he doing it because he was acting or reacting? I believe he was reacting to what the situation was, in an act of "self defense" so to speak.

                          As for in Acts:
                          And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

                          Seems to me they were compelled by the force of something (which was not God, but man).

                          Also in James:

                          Jas 2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

                          Again, each time this is used except for those two instances in John, the word is use din the context of men's compulsion upon the person or thing being spoken of.

                          But I'll rest again with what I began with:


                          Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

                          Seems it is not a particular drawing, but that all are drawn, just as that God is calling All sinners to repentance.
                          Christ said "if I be lifted up from the earth".

                          The question is, was He? The answer, in my mind is yes.

                          So condition fulfilled, we must go to result.

                          Christ "will draw all men unto me."

                          Now, I say drag, you say guide.

                          So, does Christ guide all men to Him? If Yes, then Christ chose all for He guides those He chosen. Thus, universalism.

                          So, does Christ drag all men to Him? Hmmmm....

                          When do all men either willingly or unwillingly come to Christ?

                          Could it be? Nah. Well? It does seem to fit and we know that every other place helkuo is used, it means to drag neither willingly nor unwillingly....

                          Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by alethos View Post
                            Above is an perfect example of a word-study fallacy known as "word-loading." This occurs when a person takes a meaning of a word in one context and then seeks to apply that same meaning into a different context. They do this when they appeal to the use of helkuo in James 2:6, Acts 16:19 and other places, as justification for understanding John 6:44 as meaning drag or force.

                            I know the following verse is found in the OT, would this verse make sense if the word "drawn" was replaced with dragged?

                            Jeremiah. 31:3
                            The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

                            In times past did God draw people by the use of loving kindness, but now has changed His approach from drawing with loving kindness to resorting to forcefully dragging people to Himself?

                            If so then we can't believe Scripture when it says.
                            Malachi 3:6 I am the Lord, I change not
                            Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever.
                            First, the word helkuo is not in Jeremiah.

                            Second, even when we look at that, it seems to work.

                            If you are in front of a bus, do I force you out of the way with lovingkindness? Or do I guide you out of the road? Here take my hand, the bus is roaring down the road at 80 MPH, but I want you to take my hand first....

                            Yeah. I'm dragging you out of danger. Make no mistake.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Yukerboy View Post
                              Christ said "if I be lifted up from the earth".

                              The question is, was He? The answer, in my mind is yes.

                              So condition fulfilled, we must go to result.

                              Christ "will draw all men unto me."

                              Now, I say drag, you say guide.

                              So, does Christ guide all men to Him? If Yes, then Christ chose all for He guides those He chosen. Thus, universalism.

                              So, does Christ drag all men to Him? Hmmmm....

                              When do all men either willingly or unwillingly come to Christ?

                              Could it be? Nah. Well? It does seem to fit and we know that every other place helkuo is used, it means to drag neither willingly nor unwillingly....

                              Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.
                              you have the problem with drag, universalism.

                              Comment

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