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Four Views

Discussion in 'Doctrinal Discussions' started by Brother Paul, Feb 12, 2015.

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  1. The compatibilist (Calvinism) says man freely chooses what God has pre-determined he will choose. Therefore man’s free will choice is by “necessity”…in other words, it is him that chooses but that he must choose only that choice. That’s one extreme!

    The semi-Compatibilist view (post-Dordt Reformed view) says man has free will and can choose freely but when he does so only chooses sin. Then God, in His love, freely chooses to save some but only them, for no other purpose than the pleasure of His good will in the accomplishment of His plan.

    What I shall call the libertarian view (Pelagianism), says God determining the actions of a man and then calling them freely chosen, is logically false, and that man is free of influence in His ability to choose whatever he wills, even God. That IMO is another, yet opposite, extreme!

    Then there is indeterminism (scientism), which chalks up much of what happens to pure chance. All outcomes are purely random and by chance. For example, In quantum theory no event is absolutely determined, and the outcome is always any one of any number of probabilities (Heisenberg, Born, Eddington, etc.,). In other words every choice and action has a number of possibilities, and other factors influence, but do not always cause the one that occurs (agnostics describe this all the time in nature). In this view even a necessary cause does not produce an inevitable result.

    But wait there is another. A fifth view (the orthodox view held by all the early church fathers) sees all of these as erroneous, and says God pre-determined that man could choose (though subject to influences of all sorts, from God and nature), and that His reward and recompense are commensurate with that choice he makes.

    God regularly says to man, “if you do this, then this will happen, but if you do that, then that will happen” and within that sovereignly warned massage of love, God prefers (or wills) that man choose the good, but man does what he wills either way. Now at times, for His purpose, God acts deterministically, and at times, for His purpose, He does not (He always has the power to do so, but in giving man dominion – Genesis 1:28; Psalm 6 - He holds man responsible…God is true to His word and not slack concerning His promise). When He gave humankind a certain order of control or rulership, that degree to which man was sovereignly determined to have, is valid and is man’s to do with as he pleases.

    Of course there are factors that influence man’s choice, but that does not mean he does not choose (today it is raining and I will bring my umbrella), and he (even the unsaved) does not ALWAYS choose sin but sometimes does that which can be said to be good (like feeding his hungry children).

    So this third view does not negate influence (as in a libertarian view) nor the power of God when He needs to or wants to from acting on a man through circumstance or directly (deternminism). It just says neither philosophical extreme is the rule, but that each is the exception to the rule. Human choices are one of the ways God accomplishes His will for mankind (which naturally preceded the actual choice since God existed when there was no creation, but does not mean He caused every single choice).

    So we who are Biblically orthodox reject both extremes as THE rule, and see God utilizing both aspects within His plan, and see both predestination and free will as being presented in the scriptures. I do not see any contradiction whatsoever in adopting this position. Why do the two extremes always insist it must be one OR the other…I do not understand how they cannot see this third option as one of the possibilities. Since both God’s will and the choices of His creatures (some of the angels and mankind) are laid out as the reality in scripture then it is obvious to us that the greater truth encompasses both.

    When humankind was created, God (in His sovereign power) decided to make man a little lord over the earth under His guidance (He gave him/her dominion of all that is on the earth). Like the relationship between a supervisor and an owner. Pastors, therefore, are called to be under-shepherds over God’s flock. People in these leadership capacities (including Kings, judges, teachers, and even parents in relation to their children) are held to a higher level of accountability.

    If then they are made (caused, manipulated, forced) to pastor or teach without the involvement of their chosen actions and decisions, they have no choice in what they do or do not do, say or do not say, teach or do not teach, and thus the notion of accountability becomes a moot point. A senseless threat, because each would always and only be doing exactly what God’s will for them was. How can there be degrees of accountability if one is not even responsible for that they were given charge over.

    If you are a parent you are held accountable for the upbringing of your children, but God says you are not accountable for their rebellion or sin (but can they do otherwise if they must by “necessity” must do it?). Do any unsaved persons ever do the works that God would have preferred, like feed the poor, or house the homeless, or care for the sick? Yes sometimes they do. Even atheists sometimes do such things but these do not merit salvation (salvation is by grace, through faith, which they lack both of).

    Augustine of Hippo (who Calvin himself defaults to), in his “Retractions”, responding to those who mis-interpreted his treatise against Pelagius saying that all of grace negates man’s free will says this…

    But since there are some persons who so defend God's grace as to deny man's free will, or who suppose that free will is denied when grace is defended (like the Calvinists), I have determined to write somewhat on this point to your Love, my brother Valentinus, and the rest of you, who are serving God together under the impulse of a mutual love

    Chapter 2
    Now He has revealed to us, through His Holy Scriptures, that there is in a man a free choice of will. But how He has revealed this I do not recount in human language, but in divine. There is, to begin with, the fact that God's precepts themselves would be of no use to a man unless he had free choice of will, so that by performing them he might obtain the promised rewards (is God not faithful to His word?). For they are given that no one might be able to plead the excuse of ignorance, as the Lord says concerning the Jews in the gospel: If I had not come and spoken unto them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin

    Chapter 3
    There are, however, persons who attempt to find excuse for themselves even from God (saying all they do or did is God’s will). The Apostle James says to such: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man. But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. James 1:13-15 Solomon, too, in his book of Proverbs, has this answer for such as wish to find an excuse for themselves from God Himself: The folly of a man spoils his ways; but he blames God in his heart Proverbs 19:3…

    (We see this in militant Islam where even if they kill and torture or rape they say “it was the will of God”, in Middle ages Roman Catholicism, Islamic extremism, and in Calvinism, every littlest detail is caused by God…”ALL” is God’s will)

    Chapter 4
    What is the import of the fact that in so many passages God requires all His commandments to be kept and fulfilled? How does He make this requisition, if there is no
    free will? What means the happy man, of whom the Psalmist says that his will has been the law of the Lord? Does he not clearly enough show that a man by his own will takes his stand in the law of God?

    Then again, there are so many commandments which in some way are expressly adapted to the human will; for instance, there is, Be not overcome of evil, Romans 12:1 and others of similar import, such as, Be not like a horse or a mule, which have no understanding; and, Reject not the counsels of your mother; Proverbs 1:8 and, Be not wise in your own conceit; Proverbs 3:7 and, Despise not the chastening of the Lord; Proverbs 3:11 and, Forget not my law; Proverbs 3:1 and, Forbear not to do good to the poor; Proverbs 3:27 and, Devise not evil against your friend; Proverbs 3:29 and, Give no heed to a worthless woman; Proverbs 5:2 and, He is not inclined to understand how to do good; and, They refused to attend to my counsel; Proverbs 1:30 with numberless other passages of the inspired Scriptures of the Old Testament. And what do they all show us but the free choice of the human will? So, again, in the evangelical and apostolic books of the New Testament what other lesson is taught us? As when it is said, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth; Matthew 6:19 and, Fear not them which kill the body; Matthew 10:28 and, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself; Matthew 16:24 and again, Peace on earth to men of good will. Luke 2:14 So also that the Apostle Paul says: But if any man think that he behaves himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sins not: let them marry.Nevertheless he that stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. 1 Corinthians 7:36-37 And so again, If I do this willingly, I have a reward; 1 Corinthians 9:17 while in another passage he says, Be sober and righteous, and sin not; 1 Corinthians 15:34 and again, As you have a readiness to will, so also let there be a prompt performance; 2 Corinthians 8:11 then he remarks to Timothy about the younger widows, When they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they choose to marry. So in another passage, All that will to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution; 2 Timothy 3:12 while to Timothy himself he says, Neglect not the gift that is in you. 1 Timothy 4:14 Then to Philemon he addresses this explanation: That your benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but of your own will. Servants also he advises to obey their masters with a good will. Ephesians 6:7 In strict accordance with this, James says: Do not err, my beloved brethren . . . and have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect to persons; and, Do not speak evil one of another. James 4:11 So also John in his Epistle writes, Do not love the world, 1 John 2:15and other things of the same import. Now wherever it is said, Do not do this, and Do not do that, and wherever there is any requirement in the divine admonitions for the work of the will to do anything, or to refrain from doing anything, there is at once a sufficient proof of free will. No man, therefore, when he sins, can in his heart blame God for it, but every man must impute the fault to himself. Nor does it detract at all from a man's own will when he performs any act in accordance with God. Indeed, a work is then to be pronounced a good one when a person does it willingly; then, too, may the reward of a good work be hoped for from Him concerning whom it is written, He shall reward every man according to his works. Matthew 16:27(parentheses mine)

    Can you not see that even Augustine (from which Calvin’s whole argument erroneously sprung) does not (and never did) teach or except even compatibilism, let alone Total Depravity or Unconditional Election as Calvinism defines them? No beloved, even Augustine, in this area of theology, maintained the same orthodox teaching passed down to the earliest fathers. IMHO, so should we! This view is the only one that encompasses all the scriptures used by either extreme and does not have to re-interpret those that oppose through the lens of one theology or the other. Consider this beloved….

    In His love

    Big Moose likes this.
  2. Knowing the end and causing the end are two different things. God knows the end. All men's religions are fake. Pay them no mind. Stick to the word of God.
  3. Thought I would share this scripture.

    Isaiah 46:10
    I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'

    I believe God not only knows the end, but it is also up to him what that end is. How it comes about is up to him as well. He is God after all.
  4. Sorry dude, I'm not going to play your "God made me do evil" game and I have no choice where I go when I die. That's a game straight out of hell. (n)
  5. I don't want to play any games. I shared a scripture and my thoughts.
  6. So, Brother Paul, what do we call this "ism"? Because I think I am one. Since you quoted Augustine of Hippo, how about Hippoism?
    calvin likes this.
  7. If you had spread this over about 20 posts I might have read them but as is.....not going to happen.
  8. Predestination, Calvinism, Arminianism.

    These have been discussed/debated for centuries with no agreement. We will not reach one here!

    And both sides have had ample opportunity to present their side. If you wish to see what has transpired in the past, just use the Search feature.

    In a previous thread I asked that this subject not be brought up again.

    If I see another thread on anything related to predestination the member starting the thread will be banned!
    Fish_of_Faith and Abdicate say Amen and like this.
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