Luther & Erasmus: Free Will & Salvation (126 KB)
Having followed this Reformation debate closely, one might be forced to ask the question, "Is there a need for such a debate again at this present time?"
The answer is yes and no. No, because the debate has been won for us already. Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Dordt, and Westminster have eloquently repudiated free-willism. Erasmus' theology has been decisively condemned and rejected in history. Yet there is in a sense a need to renew the debate; for many are ignorant of history and the issues that the church has fought for with its life and blood. Free-willism still prevails. Just as it was the issue in Luther's day, the issue today is still free-willism. Finneyism and decisionism are still the diet of many people all over the Christian scene. The invitation system has deceived many and sells short the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, there is still the need to sound the trumpet from the rooftop and shout it in the market place. Michael Horton pleads in his new book, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, to do just that, that is, to emphasize that grace powerfully saves. A debate again? A resounding Yes!
Free Will and Total Depravity (52 KB)
The definition of the word "will" is "desire" so to say that man has a "free will" is to say that he has "free desire." It should be obvious to even the casual student of the Word that this is not true. All of man's desires are conditioned by things outside his control. His background, his environment, his family, his tastes, etc., and most important Scripturally, sin and his fallen state.
Myth of Free Will (41 KB)
MOST PEOPLE say that they believe in "free will." Do you have any idea what that means? I believe that you will find a great deal of superstition on this subject. The will is saluted as the grand power of the human soul which is completely free to direct our lives. But from what is it free? And what is its power?
God Sovereignty and Human Will (76 KB)
Concerning the nature and the power of fallen man’s will, the greatest confusion prevails today, and the most erroneous views are held, even by many of God’s children. The popular idea now prevailing, and which is taught from the great majority of pulpits, is that man has a “free will”, and that salvation comes to the sinner through his will cooperating with the Holy Spirit. To deny the “free will” of man, i.e. his power to choose that which is good, his native ability to accept Christ, is to bring one into disfavour at once, even before most of those who profess to be orthodox. And yet Scripture emphatically says, “It is notof him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” Rom 9:16.Which shall we believe: God, or the preachers?
The Golden Idol of Free Will (36 KB)
I dare say, that, in such an auditory as this, a number of Arminians are present. I fear, that all our public assemblies have too many of them. Perhaps, however, even these people, idolaters as they are, may be apt to blame, and, indeed, with justice, the absurdity of those who worship idols of silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. But let me ask: If it be so very absurd, to worship the work of other men’s hands; what must it be, to worship the works of our own hands? Perhaps, you may ask, “God forbid that I should do so.” Nevertheless, let me tell you, that trust, confidence, reliance, and dependence, for salvation, are all acts and very solemn ones too, of divine worship: and upon whatsoever you depend, whether in whole or in part, for your acceptance with God, and for your justification in His sight, whatsoever, you rely upon, and trust in, for the attainment of grace or glory; if it be any thing short of God in Christ, you are an idolater to all intents and purposes.
Is Calvinism Inconsistent with free will (84 KB)
The problem which we face here is, How can a person be a free and responsible agent if his actions have been foreordained from eternity? By a free and responsible agent we mean an intelligent person who acts with rational self-determination; and by foreordination we mean that from eternity God has made certain the actual course of events which takes place in the life of every person and in the realm of nature. It is, of course, admitted by all that a person's acts must be without compulsion and in accordance with his own desires and inclinations, or he cannot be held responsible for them. If the acts of a free agent are in their very nature contingent and uncertain, then it is plain that foreordination and free agency are inconsistent.
Calvin on Free Will (99 KB)
Enough would seem to have been said on the subject of man's will, were there not some who endeavour to urge him to his ruin by a false opinion of liberty, and at the same time, in order to support their own opinion, assail ours. First, they gather together some absurd inferences, by which they endeavour to bring odium upon our doctrine, as if it were abhorrent to common sense, and then they oppose it with certain passages of Scripture, (infra, sec. 6.) Both devices we shall dispose of in their order. If sin, say they, is necessary, it ceases to be sin; if it is voluntary, it may be avoided. Such, too, were the weapons with which Pelagius assailed Augustine.
Man's Free Will & Salvation, in brief (32 KB)
Is there such a thing as free will salvation? It is widely taught among the Christian community and accepted as sound doctrine. Yet, is it really a biblically sound doctrine? Or, is free will salvation a man-made fabrication, which makes the Creator subject to the will of the created?
Free Will -- a Slave (64 KB)
This is one of the great guns of the Arminians, mounted upon the top of their walls, and often discharged with terrible noise against the poor Christians called Calvinists. I intend to spike the gun this morning, or, rather, to turn it on the enemy, for it was never theirs; it was never cast at their foundry at all, but was intended to teach the very opposite doctrine to that which they assert. Usually, when the text is taken, the divisions are: First, that man has a will. Secondly, that he is entirely free. Thirdly, that men must make themselves willing to come to Christ, otherwise they will not be saved. Now, we shall have no such divisions; but we will endeavour to take a more calm look at the text; and not, because there happen to be the words "will," or "will not" in it, run away with the conclusion that it teaches the doctrine of free- will.
If God knows our choices, have we free will? (35 KB)
They say that if God knows we are going to make a certain "free will" choice, then when it is time for us to make that choice, because God knows what we are going to choose, we are not really free to make a different choice and God's foreknowledge means we cannot have free will.
To My Arminian Friends (54 KB)
Come now; let us then reason together in a logical and rational manner avoiding personal idiosyncrasies and cognitions of self-importance. We all agree that God has to have some absolute and infinite attributes to be God; failing those, well, then, He is no God, by definition.
Calvin on Christian Liberty (78 KB)
Contents include the following: Necessity of the doctrine of Christian Liberty, sec. 1. The principal parts of this liberty explained, sec. 2-8. The nature and efficacy of this liberty against the Epicureans and others who take no account whatever of the weak, sec. 9 and 10. Of offense given and received. A lengthened and not unnecessary discussion of this subject, sec. 11-16.