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#17732 Fri Sep 24, 2004 9:32 AM
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https://www.the-highway.com/forum/showthr...amp;o=&vc=1

I have never seen this passage explained in a way that supports free-will. Could somebody show this, please?


God bless,

william


P.S. It is my contention that this passage has nothing to do with mans ability.

#17733 Fri Sep 24, 2004 10:33 AM
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William,

I haven't either. In fact, take a look at these verses earlier in the chapter:

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5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
8 "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Granted, I've heard this passage butchered (and sold cheap), but never have I heard it cited as proof of "free-will".


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
#17734 Fri Sep 24, 2004 4:15 PM
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I have heard it in support of free-will (free-agency) before. Let it be known before I write the way the argument was presented to me, I do not agree with these arguments. First the person pointed out that when God loved the world it means the world collectively, everyone ever born. and since God, loves the everyone, only those who profess belief in Him, of their own free-will are different from those that don't. Their statement of free-will is in the phrase whoever believes (or, whosoever believes, for the King-James-only-ist). Belief is an active choice made in the freeness of each man's will. since God loves everyone, it's up to us to stand up and believe, and seperate ourselves from the crowd. Now, as is pointed out by Marie, the context speaks of being born again. Who causes him/herself to be born?

My contention is with the phrase Free-Will, itself. What people hold up and revere in popular, semi-pelagian belief systems, is more free agency than free will. We cannot deny that we have a free will, temporally, though it is contingent to the almighty, infinitely. Any choice we make, whether it is a trivial choice, like rolling over to hit the snooze button; or a moral choice, do I tell the truth, or is it not beneficial to me to do so, is a choice we make personally, freely, based on circumstances surrounding us at the moment, lessons learned in the past, fear, or joyous expectation of consequences... But, the choice that is spoken of, and implied by the term Free Agency, is that at any given moment, a person, apart from who he/she is, past lessons, future expectations/fears, a person can make a choice. there is never a point when a person is seperated from the past, present, or future. So, to make a long story interesitng, whether a person believes that he is a sinner in the hands of an angry God, or not, determines the choice for, or against believing in Christ for our salvation. And that realization that we are substantially indebted to an infinite God, does not come through any means but that God gives us the desires of our hearts. A person will make a choice based on their strongest inclination at the given decision time, and without Christ's intervention, our will remains tainted against him. that's our nature. Oh the depths, and the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! So, in summary:

1) We make choices, which are our own, but are under the hand of God. (Prov. 16:4, Jer. 29:1, Gen. 50:20)

2) We cannot choose good until we are made good (John 6:65, especially)

3) We are, by nature, so not good that we can't even want/will to be good (Rom. 3)

4) So we must be born again (John 3), drawn as water from a well (John 6), made alive by God through Christ (Eph 2).

Anyways, that's my two-bits, i have trouble debating free-will, because of today's connotative use of the English language. I'm a stickler for definitions, so whenever a discussion is started on any point of doctrine, definitions must be presented on both sides. If a person cannot define his or her position, the debate is over until they can. In truth, introduction of a new term isn't the answer, either, but does often help to order in my own mind what it is, exactly, that I am debating. God has mysteriously ordered our lives, and kept us from being robots, by allowing us to be decision-makers. Contingency is such a beautiful thing to the Christian, and such a hateful thing to the unbeliever. Oh that unbelievers will be led to the truth of the foolishness of trying to put themselves in the place of God, and turn to Him, and yield, if God wills, to His almighty hand! By greatest comfort in life and death, is that my God is in control of both!!


Grace is but glory begun;
Glory is but grace perfected!
- Jonathan Edwards
#17735 Fri Oct 01, 2004 10:46 AM
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Hi William,

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The notion that man is capable of choosing to save himself from within a sinful nature

You definition of free will within Arminianism is wrong, and your previous "hmmm" posts shows me that you really do not understand what Arminians believe.

Arminians believe that man has a free will in the sense that there are true contingencies - we really can choose otherwise (whether we have a choice btw eating a ham or jam sandwich, or whether we have a moral choice to steal or not). God foreknew all of our free choices, as Arminius said, "God foreknows future things through the infinity of his essence, and through the pre-eminent perfection of his understanding and prescience..." (II:480) (Your accusation that I am espousing Open Theism is ridiculous.)

So, whilst man has free will to choose what he will do, where he will go, etc., he is not free to accept the offer of salvation and put faith in Christ (Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will, p. 42). His will is bound in sin (Rom. 3:9ff). Only by the enabling grace of God, can man choose to accept the gift of salvation. Arminius wrote:

"The will is, indeed, free, but not in respect to that act which can not be performed or omitted without supernatural grace." (III:196)

Yours in Christ,
Michael

#17736 Fri Oct 01, 2004 11:07 AM
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Another confusing post. Is man free or not? Either his will is free or not.


God bless,

william

#17737 Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:54 PM
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averagefellar

Just so you know, there are different beliefs with in Arminianism on the issue.
Some believe like you said they do. While others believe that no one can choose to come to Christ on their own because of their total depravity, however God gives them the ability to either accept or reject Christ.

Tom

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Tom said:
averagefellar

Just so you know, there are different beliefs with in Arminianism on the issue.
Some believe like you said they do. While others believe that no one can choose to come to Christ on their own because of their total depravity, however God gives them the ability to either accept or reject Christ.
But the fact remains... semi-Pelagians and Arminians both hold that regeneration follows faith. Wesley, and evidently MJM hold that God dispenses a general "grace" which somehow counters the depravity of the soul and gives the sinner the ability to believe on Christ. Also, held in common is the fact that salvation is ultimately dependant upon the sinner's choice (thus becoming a work and making salvation synergistic). For a fuller explanation and illustration of this error see my article here: Do You Really Believe that Salvation is by Grace?.

In His Grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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Tom #17739 Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:12 PM
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Thanks Tom. I guess I should share a couple of facts with you, for future reference.

1) I don't speak about things I am unsure of. Ever see me debate eschatology?

2) I took Soteriology101 at an arminian/credo college, and understand the positions of both arminians as well as wesleyans.

Simply because I claim to be a carrot does not mean I am actually a carrot. I realize that some arminians uphold total depravity, just like some pentecostals uphold sola scriptura. However, upon further inspection, the arminian model of soteriology denies total depravity, and is therefore false, by definition.


God bless,

william

Pilgrim #17740 Fri Oct 01, 2004 4:44 PM
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Pilgrim

I am well aware of the consequences of all Arminian beliefs. I was just pointing out, that there are different beliefs with in Arminianism.
I am of the belief that if we are going to argue against a position that a particular person holds. We would be best knowing what they believe, other wise the person may think we are using a straw man against them.

By the way, your article is one of my favorites on the subject and I have referred people to it many times. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/cheers2.gif" alt="" />

Tom

#17741 Sat Oct 02, 2004 1:07 PM
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William,

Since no one wants to answer your question directly, I'll give it a crack.

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"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever (emphasis mine) believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

A beloved verse for the evangelist, but does it support free will? (in regards to salvation) Let's see.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son...." So far, so good.

"That whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

"Whosoever believeth" does not necessarily specify that man is free to believe on his own. In fact, to read it this way is to contradict the rest of scripture. Let me substantiate this claim:

"..Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."
Matt 11:27

"..even so the Son gives life to whom He will."
John 5:21

"..no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."
John 6:65

"You did not choose Me, but I chose you.."
John 15:16

"..whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."
Romans 8:30

"Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens." Romans 9:18

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (emphasis mine) Ephes 2:8

"The beast...will ascend out of the bottomless pit...And those who dwell on the earth will marvel who's name is not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world... (emphasis mine)
Revelation 17:8

Have I stated my case that concerning salvation, God chooses, and not man. So no, this verse cannot be used to support the moral free agency of man. (concerning salvation)

In other regards, men have free will to choose who quickly or slowly they traverse the road to perdition. I can only humbly thank God I am not among their numbers.

catholicsoldier <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/takethat.gif" alt="" />

#17742 Sun Oct 03, 2004 9:55 PM
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Hi Michael,

The Gospel of Christ is not about mans free will. The Gospel of Christ is about God and His glory in the salvation of sinners.

Quote
Only by the enabling grace of God, can man choose to accept the gift of salvation. Arminius wrote:

All that the Father draw, will come to Jesus. All that are taught of the Father will come to Jesus. All that are given to the Son from the Father will come to Jesus. It would appear that from the verses that will follow that man still does not have a choice to reject Christ when God actively seeks the salvation for a sinner. So the Grace of God is irresistible to the sinner that is being drawn.

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 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. 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." (John 6:37-45)

" And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." (John 6:65)


JOHN
"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." - ROMANS 8:33
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In other regards, men have free will to choose who quickly or slowly they traverse the road to perdition. I can only humbly thank God I am not among their numbers.

Even this God restrains.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.

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