Monday, 10 November 2014

Man's Free Will Affirmed

Those who follow me on my @weecalvin1509 account on Twitter (as opposed to my more serene @wee_evangelist account) will know that I spend a little bit of time defending the Doctrines of Grace as gleaned from the word of God and articultated in the Calvinist system of thought. The weekend past saw such activity. Note that I italicised the word defending because I seldom go on the attack on this matter. I am happy to state my case and defend it, although there is the odd activity on the break. Overall, I seldom go on a Jihad against rival interpretations.

It strikes me that many of the critics of Calvinism are learning on the job. Twitter leaves it open for folk to come in (including me) and say all sorts of things without any real knowledge of the subject. This is one of the reasons why I am happier defending than attacking. Who am I to say "So and so believes this, that and something else" when I have not really done my homework? I have the works of Jacob Arminius (3 volumes) on my hard drive and being in the .pdf file can quickly transfer them unto my Kindle for easier reading. I have not done so. I have looked up a few things, but can hardly qualify as a critic. Picking out odd quotes without studying context is IMO playing false and loose. Therefore I tend to actually say little about Armininism at all. I prefer to postively defend Calvinism than possitively attack Arminianism and its softer counterparts.

It strikes me, as a defender then, that many of the attacks on #Calvinism are based on what we believe concerning the decree of God. The Westminster Confession (IMO) states it very well. This is the bit (to quote) Spurgeon that often draws the rage of some of our opponents. But please remember, that the very same Confession that gives us the "hard sayings" of the decree of God  also gives us the chapter affirming man's free will. In fact, even within the decree of God chapter, it is positively affirmed that, when decreeing, God at no time ever authored any sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (Paragraph one) This chapter on Man's Free Will is as fundamental to the whole Calvinist interpretation as is the chapter on the divine decree. You cannot have one without the other. Yet many of the debates on Calvinism are one sided as if the Westminster theologians never spoke on the matter or (worse still) actually denied it. 

No one is under any obligation to defend what he does not believe. Sometimes I regret getting into some debates. Hence I have to fall back on wearied statements like this i.e. "The rabbit chasing is over." 

Moral: If you are going to attack, then do your homework. It does not send out the right signal if you are attacking from what becomes painfuly obvious as a platform of ignorance. If you are not prepared to do your homework, then sit back and defend. 



  1. I'm afraid you may be uncovering the Achilles' heel. They cannot sit back and defend because they are getting their arguments second hand. Those they read and hear from are on the attack with many spurious arguments, as you pointed out, and so they parrot them. Secondly, they don't really understand what they are supposed to defend or even why. They only know one thing: Calvinism is wrong. Some cannot even defend that idea scripturally, but they "just know" it is wrong. It is very sad to say, but they don't know because they have never studied it for themselves. It does not seem as if they have ever humbled themselves before God and the scriptures and dealt personally and honestly with such scriptures as these: 1 Thess 1:4; Titus 1:1; the Gospel of John; Eph 1:4; Matt 20:16; John 6:44; Acts 22:14; Romans 9; Eph 1:11; Romans 8:29; 1 Cor 1:27.

    They start with man instead of God. They don't consider that God never looks into the future and discovers anything. God is God and is all-knowing and all-powerful. It is those He foreknew, not those He foresaw (see Rom 8:29). God's choosing is personal, in fact, in scripture the word 'know' is an intimate, close relationship. This is the really sad part. They miss out on the comforting and encouraging truths of scripture and the deep, profound truths of divine calling, election and salvation. And they do not really know the God of whom they speak.

    They also do not understand the nature of the atonement of Christ. Did Christ actually accomplish something on the cross? Did He actually die for individual people, actually purchasing them for God (Rev 5:9)? Or did He just open the door as it were, and make it possible, contingent upon the human will to decide? Was His death really just theoretical? Did He die just in case anybody might "decide for Christ"? Or was His death planned before the foundations of the earth as God's divine plan to rescue men from sin and hell? See Acts 2:23

    There is also ignorance of the reality of the wrath of God. The wrath of God must be satisfied, either through the punishment of the sinner in hell, or through the death of a substitute, who is Christ. You can't have it any other way. The scriptures are clear, God is a God of wrath. He hates sin, and He is angry with sinners. His wrath must be dealt with. And if you say that God poured out His wrath on Christ, then why does the sinner still go to hell? What was the actual nature of the death of Christ, if not to appease the wrath of God? And if it actually did appease (satisfy) God's wrath, then Christ has actually saved individuals and they will no longer face hell, but will be effectually called and come to saving faith.

  2. I agree with you entirely. I think you've nailed it right in the head. It reminds me a bit of the tabloid press which picks out the juicy parts of a story but virtually ignores the rest. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.


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