f The Wittenberg Door: Forced Love? – Part 2 (Conclusion)

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Forced Love? – Part 2 (Conclusion)

"i'll never force you for i love you so,
i give you freedom. is it yes or no?"

god, according to the riches of his wonderful grace, doesn't force anyone into heaven. but he does force us to make a decision. i think sproul should write a book called "does god believe in apatheists?" and in it he should discuss the fate (predestination is an obvious falsehood) of all those souls who choose to not choose.

In Part 1 we answered the common Arminian objections to the doctrines of Irresistible Grace and Unconditional Election: “So you’re saying that God drags people into heaven against their will, while those sincerely desiring to get in can’t because they’re not the elect?”

Now we’ll turn our attention to the next issue . . .

Is it true that “predestination is an obvious falsehood”? Is it true that God leaves the choice up to us in the hopes that we’ll take up His offer? Or did God choose us in Him before the foundation of the world? Let’s see what Scripture has to say . . .

28) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

29) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

30) and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

(Romans 8:28-30)

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love.

(Ephesians 1:4)

13) But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

14) It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)

Also consider: Due. 10:14-15; Psm. 33:12, 65:4, 106:5; Mat. 11:27, 22:14; Mark 13:20; Rom. 11:28; Col. 3:12; 1 Thes. 5:9; 1 Pet. 2:8-9; Rev. 17:14.

Is the Choice Based Upon Foreseen Faith or Acts?

The next question we must consider is whether or not God's choice is based upon foreseen faith or upon foreseen works. Consider the following passages:

11) for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,

12) it was said to her, "THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER."

13) Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."

(Romans 9:11-13)

So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

(Romans 9:16)

who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity

(2 Timothy 1:9)

Also consider: Ex. 33:19; Acts 13:48, 18:27; Rom. 11:7; Phil. 1:29, 2:12-13; 1 Thes. 1:4-5; James 2:5

Conclusion

The Arminian objections above fall flat, for they do not truly represent the state of man, nor do they truly represent the gracious work of God in salvation.

In his fallen state man is an enemy of God. He not only doesn’t seek reconciliation and entrance into God’s kingdom, but he is daily seeking to further himself from His holy Creator. The sinner’s only hope is a rescue operation—a sovereign work of God upon his heart. And this rescue operation does not depend upon the drowning man seeking out the lifeguard. Instead, our rescuer chose to save us, and to preserve us, before we ever entered the water. May His name be praised forever more.

Postscript

The “poetry” provided above is from a song called I Give You Freedom (The Whippoorwill Song). Here’s a portion:


I own the cattle on a thousand hills,
I write the music for the whippoorwills,
Control the planets with their rocks and rills,
But give you freedom to use your own will.

And if you want Me to, I’ll make you whole,
I’ll only do it tho’ if you say so.
I’ll never force you, for I love you so,
I give you freedom – Is it “yes” or “no”?”

I’d like to preface my comments with a note to my Arminian brothers and sisters: I am sympathetic to your view. I once heard someone remark that we are born Arminian. I think that’s true: it is our natural, fallen inclination to want to exalt ourselves. Autonomy is something that tempts us all. Indeed, that’s what the serpent successfully tempted our first parents with.

That being said, I am deeply troubled by this song. In my reading of it the rolls are reversed: instead of man worshiping His sovereign creator, this song seems to proclaim that God has subjected Himself to the will of His creation (i.e., man). Not only that, but it seems to me that God (Who is the one “speaking” in the song) is worshiping the will of man. Frankly, this is blasphemous—but this is the natural outcome of Arminianism.

As I wrote the conclusion to this post, I was overcome with gratitude for our Lord because He rescued a wretch like me. That’s why I ended it in praise—I couldn’t help myself. But if I were to use this song, would my praise be to God? No.

Even though, in the Arminian view, God made salvation possible, it’s up to me as to whether I want to accept the gift, or if I’d rather slap His hand away—I get to say “yes” or “no.” So the praise at the end would be for me, and my will, for that is the grounds of my salvation being actualized and, ultimately, realized. This brings the contrast between Calvinism and Arminianism into clear focus: the former places God and His sovereignty at center, while the later exalts man and his autonomy. Here’s how Dr. James White put it recently at his blog . . .

I believe TULIP [five points of Calvinism] represents the spectrum of the gospel truth most reprehensible to the natural man. I believe TULIP rips the lips off of man’s self-righteousness. It casts man fully upon the mercy of God and leaves no ground for boasting. I believe TULIP then is vital to maintaining gospel balance against the ever-present drag of remaining sin that leads us to constantly find ways of robbing God his glory and putting ourselves back in some semblance of control.

--The Catechizer

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