"There is a middle position where people are free to do lots of different things, but they simply can't--due to character issues--choose to be saved without special help from God."

John, I think our views are very similar. The problem with a middle position, in my opinion, is that you run into an infinite regress.

Say you're right, and you got saved on such and such a date in a certain place with certain people present. You were regenerated, and able to believe and have the Holy Spirit come live inside of you.

Did you choose to go to the place?

Did you choose to interact with those people?

Did you choose to start a friendship with one of those people?

Did you choose go up and start talking with this person?

Did you choose to go to the place where you met this person?

Did you choose to go somewhere at all that day?

Did you choose to wake up that day, at that time, which allowed you to meet that person at a specific time and place and start a friendship that would eventually lead to your salvation?

Well, if you answer yes to any of these, aren't you "contributing" to your salvation?