Monday, January 28, 2008

Free Will & Predestination

Now that certain of my former readers have been conveniently disposed of, I feel no qualms about addressing the thorny issues of Predestination and Free will.

I am a relative newbie to the debate, having first become aware of the issue about a year and a half ago while reading the Westminster Confession. I can't exactly recall, but I think the discussion, and later debate, started when I took exception to the Confession's rather martial language regarding the issue. "Those he foreknew, he also Predestined," I believe the text goes. I was aware of the issue only peripherally before then, and what really brought the issue home to me was the simple logic that if God predestines some people to be able to accept salvation, than some are not able to be saved. They were not capable of the choice to accept God's grace. This is, you will admit, a grave state of affairs, and one that I found hard to swallow, although even then I realized that it was not my throat that mattered, but God's will, and so I somewhat uneasily defended the Free Will side of the issue in the ensuing debate.

The debate was, admittedly, bitter, and some seriously un-Christian emotions were running on both sides. How ironic that this Biblical issue could evoke such strong anti-Biblical feelings--or not ironic at all. Since both sides accepted the Good Book as the fully inspired Word of God, it was natural that we should defend what we believed it said. The issue became a standing joke, but the playful barbs had venom under the surface, at least on my side.

The whole issue was brought suddenly back into the light recently when we began to read R.C. Sproul's Chosen By God, written by a strict Calvinist. I have never been a strict Arminian, and frankly I was wavering. But there are still spiny elements of predestination that I can't swallow.

Frankly, the debate boiled down for me like this: If God is a sovereign God, he holds the world in his hand and can control it completely. If God is sovereign, he could have chosen either Free Will or Predestination to save humanity. If God chose Predestination, than he called some people to be saved, and by necessity and since He has control of the whole shebang, he did not give some people the privilege to choose him. If God chose Free Will, he gave each human the choice, through his Grace and Christ's divine sacrifice, to choose him. This is what I believe, but I can no longer deny Predestination credence and Biblical evidence.

The annoying thing about Sproul is that he denies ANY footing to the other side. I suppose that's how you get published, but it rankled. He makes Predestination a key element of faith, and says that Free Will denies God's sovereignty. I don't believe that for a second, and so his argument lost a little fire.

I'm not going into Biblical evidence. Why not? Because I think you should do it for yourself, and I don't want to influence you.

Frankly, I'm sick of the whole debate. I was still pretty Free-Will, and then I talked to my mom, and what do you know, she's a Five-Point Calvinist! *Sigh*

I find it a little hard to admit, but I don't know what to think anymore. Frankly, no more discussion is fine with me.

Whether God is a Calvinist or Arminian, he loves the world, and he loves us. That's all that matters, and I feel confident leaving the issue in his hands.


sweetggirl said...

*sigh* Mos, ya just can't please both sides.....*sigh* :p here, check out John 15:16. If that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will. *sigh* :p

madscientist said...

Wow mos, that was a revealing post...i am glad to hear that u are thinking about it though...I have a book you should read. a) i think you would like the writing style and b) It has some very good points in it on this subject. It's called Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism, And Arminianism