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Uncoolman
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Date Posted:22/01/2012 3:41 AMCopy HTML

 

Tut Tut Ian, given all those 'conditionals' you have plowed through in your discourse with IHOP, you are fast approaching Arminianism, given that 'election' in the Arminian view is 'conditional' as against the 'unconditional' view of Calvinism.. and given that the 'condition' for 'election' for the general view in Arminianism is "in Christ"..

blessings Dude - luv your arguments 


Eric 
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RE:Tongue speaking? - anyone can do it
(Date Posted:14/01/2012 8:17 PM)

Hi, Eric.

I would've thought it obvious to someone with a working knowledge of Greek, that I was discussing the grammatical subsetof 'condition' (as in their structural categoriesfirst class conditions, second class conditions, etc), rather than the idea ofelection along systematic theology lines.

Or were you, perhaps, simply responding 'tongue-in-cheek'? If you were, then I reckon your response wasn't particularly helpful, given that it would simply serve to confuse the issue for the average reader :/

Blessings,

Ian
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:16/01/2012 9:05 PMCopy HTML

Good morning, Eric.

Apologies Dude - couldn't resist myself when you popped up with the Arminian acronym "FACTS". But I didn't use an acronym, Arminian or otherwise, I used the English word in it's proper sense ... but I do hold to the Arminian view of libertarian free will ... Such being the case I can only assume that you don't properly understand the Calvinist position on human free will as a subset operating within God's will ;)

Blessings,

Ian
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:17/01/2012 8:32 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Didaktikon

Good morning, Eric.

A but I do hold to the Arminian view of libertarian free will ... Such being the case I can only assume that you don't properly understand the Calvinist position on human free will as a subset operating within God's will ;)

Blessings,

Ian

 Oh well Ian, in the interest of a little bit of fun, depending upon your position of whether it is 'hard determinism' or 'soft determinism' (compatibilism).  Consider this argument which you no doubt will have come across in your journey:

Premise 1: If we are morally responsible for our actions, then we must be free.

Premise 2: We are not free.

Conclusion A: Therefore, we are not morally responsible for our actions.. (Walls and Dongell, 'Why I am not a Calvinist PP 102)

But see Ian, I cannot accept that our choices that we ultimately make are Divinely predetermined but rather are completely undetermined.

because on page 104 Walls and Dongell, the libertarian view is expressed as:

Premise 1: If we are morally responsible for our actions, we must be free.

Premise 4: We are morally responsible for our actions.

Conclusion B: Therefore we must be free.

But you see Ian as Walls and Dongell state: "We believe that libertarian freedom is intrinsic to the very notion of moral responsibility. That is, a person cannot be held morally responsible for an act unless he or she was free to perform that act and free to refrain from it" ...  but Ian the point is 'compatibilism' must insist that there is causality which in the Calvinist view is Divinely orchestrated...

blessings

Eric

 
 
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:17/01/2012 11:48 AMCopy HTML

Hello, Eric.

Sorry, bloke, but that line of argument is logically simplistic, and theologically naive. If you'd like to discover 'why' your first premise is false, then please feel free to take the discussion away from this thread (where it's a distraction), to one where it can be the focus.

Blessings, as always ;)

Ian
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:17/01/2012 1:24 PMCopy HTML

Hi Guys,

I'd love to take part in discussing the topic of free will as well, but hesitate because it's not particularly relevant to a revival-oriented site. It'd make a good topic though!

Cheers,
Jara

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Re:Free will

Date Posted:17/01/2012 1:28 PMCopy HTML

 P.S. my take on it is that the Catholic view of free-will is the sanest one, which is pretty well close to the arminian view. The worst view, in this case even worse than the revivalist view, is hyper-calvinism ;)
J
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:17/01/2012 10:28 PMCopy HTML

G'day, Jara.

First, blessings to you and the family for the new year :)

I'd love to take part in discussing the topic of free will as well, but hesitate because it's not particularly relevant to a revival-oriented site. Oh, I don't know about that. One of my aims for this site is to stimulate theological thinking among the whomsoever; to exercise the Spirit-guided intellect in order to develop the capacity for distinguishing between sound and unsound doctrinal arguments. I think we'd agree that this is a clearly a critical skill much needed by Revivalists ;) Second, theologising is always a corporate, rather than an individual responsibility. Ergo, we're pretty much obliged to be engaging in these sorts of discussions. Third, I'd like this forum to promote 'good' theology in order to redress Revivalism's penchant for 'bad' theology. In my opinion the Arminian/semi-Pelagian slant on 'free' will that's so prevalent in Pente circles better fits the latter rubric more so than the former. Consider, much of the nonsense promoted by Pentecostalism derives from it's Arminian roots; for example, the continual chasing after this or that 'experience' in order to validate an individual's current standing in God's grace/favour. It'd make a good topic though! It would make an excellent topic, just not in this particular thread :P

My take on it is that the Catholic view of free-will is the sanest one, which is pretty well close to the arminian view.
The Catholic understanding is close to the Arminian POV? Nesouhlasím můj přítel :) The Roman Catholic position is largely Augustinian (as is the Reformed view by the way), albeit tempered somewhat by Aquinas' genius. Consequently the Roman Church teaches "... that God's omnipotent providence exercises a complete and perfect control over all events that happen (or will happen) in the universe", B. Leeming, SJ; Principles of Sacramental Theology, p. 67. Whilst this has historically been understood in slightly different ways (e.g. Thomism versus Molinism), the idea that God's sovereignty is a priori with respect to human choice, has been constant.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part One, Section Two, paragraph four, sub-paragraph 302: Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:

    By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, "reaching mightily from one end of
    the earth to the other, and ordering all things well". For "all are open and laid bare to his eyes", even those
    things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.

Further, in sub-paragraph 303: The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. The sacred books powerfully affirm God's absolute sovereignty over the course of events: "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases."And so it is with Christ, "who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens". As the book of Proverbs states: "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established."

The worst view, in this case even worse than the revivalist view, is hyper-calvinism ;) 'Hyper' anything is generally a very bad idea. As for hyper-Calvinism, which to my knowledge has largely been a product of, and confined to, the 'Particular' and 'Strict' Baptist groups; is about as influential to the Protestant 'mainstream' as is Revivalism :P In other words, it isn't representative of historic, orthodox (including Reformed) Christian teaching.

To stimulate further discussion (elsewhere mind!), here are two simple thoughts to digest: (1) who says that the human will is truly 'free'? The very fact of sin negates the idea given that sin introduces constraints which restrains our capacity to make voluntary, morally independent decisions. And, (2) logically, human choice must exist and operate within God's sovereignty, rather than outside of it. Why? Because humanity exists in, and is therefore constrained by, time. Such doesn't apply to God, who remains sovereign over time and who is, therefore, sovereign with respect to humanity's capacity to exercise 'choice' within this created framework :)

Blessings,

Ian 
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:22/01/2012 1:24 PMCopy HTML

 Ian: re your 2 simple and stimulating thoughts:

Re thought #2 - I disagree that human choice must exist and operate within God's sovereignty. If this was the case, there could be no such thing as sin. There could be no means whatever of rebellion against God's will. This would be the case if we were merely animals (and I think that your thought number 2 would apply exactly to animals) Sin, an act in contradiction to God's perfect will, is such a serioius thing and causes such a serious rupture in reality - a rupture between God and man, precisely because it is an act which contradicts God's will and therefore his sovereignty. That is why God cannot tolerate it if it was a normal occurence. 

It is possible (and I believe this is outlined in the Catholic position on free will, I'll dig it up if you want) that God has created man with free will - the amazing idea that we have been given the option to rebel against God, (but not only to rebel, but also to respond in love and obedience etc). In this sense we are made in the image of God rather than, purely biologically, as a slightly improved ape.

Now (as I see it), one day, when we are in heaven, in the presence of God, and no longer sinning, we will still retain the free will we have been given, despite having become sinless. So I'd say that rather than our will operating as a *subset* of God's will - it will operate *alongside* God's will and yet not contradict it in any way. (I think the catechism says something like "there is no contradiction between Gods will and our free will unless sin is involved..) If this was true, it would be an immense dignity that has bestowed upon the human creature.

Now here's a question for you: The calvinists that I know, generally say that conversion is totally, completely and wholly the work of God, not man. (I suspect this to be a false dichotomy) To the extent that they say the will of the one being converted is not involved in any way in the conversion. I think this is called "monergism".  Is this hyper-calvinism, or the normal sort? I find it hard to separate things like "unconditional election" from my view of what is hyper-calvinism. 

Re thought #1, I don't think anyone (except Pelagians?) say that the human will is completely free. It's more the suspicion that in the Calvinist way of looking at it, there is no will to do any good whatsoever and so the human will is completely bound and enslaved into sin (total depravity) and is therefore completely unable to desire any good thing (hence the need for monergism). The Catholic and Arminian position don't go quite so far in this case, and rather say that when God instigates our conversion, we, following and responding to his prompting and hence our will co-operates with God in our salvation. 

Am I mis-representing calvinism here? Maybe I should read through the Institutes after all :)

Thanks
Jara
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:22/01/2012 1:27 PMCopy HTML

 P.S I've just noticed that my profile says: location: Vatican City
This has no connection with this discussion, nor does it imply that I'm a catholic. I actually forgot that I set that up originally, I think it was a joke early after leaving Revival Fellowship owing to their notorious antagonism toward the "Catholic system", as they call it.
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:23/01/2012 3:02 AMCopy HTML

G'day, Jara.

Thanks for taking the time to progress the discussion :)

Re thought #2 - I disagree that human choice must exist and operate within God's sovereignty. If this was the case, there could be no such thing as sin. There could be no means whatever of rebellion against God's will. This would be the case if we were merely animals (and I think that your thought number 2 would apply exactly to animals) Sin, an act in contradiction to God's perfect will, is such a serioius thing and causes such a serious rupture in reality - a rupture between God and man, precisely because it is an act which contradicts God's will and therefore his sovereignty. That is why God cannot tolerate it if it was a normal occurence. Christian theology conceives of 'sin' more as an offense against God's dignity than it is necessarily an offense against his will. For example, God delegated authority for the stewardship of this planet to his image bearers, i.e. to us. That we, as a species, haven't performed the task adequately can be construed as being corporately 'sinful' (i.e. our inaction is an offense to God's dignity as Creator, in that his creation has not been properly tendered); however, we have exercised the lawful authority granted to us by God (i.e. according to his will). Disobedience of God is certainly sinful, but such disobedience is, at heart, rebellion against God's prerogative to our obedience (i.e. against his 'dignity' as God).

Then there is the 'larger picture' to consider. The Father's perfect will was that mankind would realise our need for right relationship with him, and that this need would be made manifest concretely in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Scripture alludes that this overarching plan was conceived in the mind of God, and was set into effect from the very beginning. Ultimately, then, 'sin' itself exists within the sovereign will of God for the current created order, and that despite sin being an offense to his holiness.

It is possible (and I believe this is outlined in the Catholic position on free will, I'll dig it up if you want) that God has created man with free will - the amazing idea that we have been given the option to rebel against God, (but not only to rebel, but also to respond in love and obedience etc). In this sense we are made in the image of God rather than, purely biologically, as a slightly improved ape. No doubt. The question still remains, however, as to what degree our 'free' will is actually free of/from God's perfect will :)

Now (as I see it), one day, when we are in heaven, in the presence of God, and no longer sinning, we will still retain the free will we have been given, despite having become sinless. So I'd say that rather than our will operating as a *subset* of God's will - it will operate *alongside* God's will and yet not contradict it in any way. (I think the catechism says something like "there is no contradiction between Gods will and our free will unless sin is involved..) If this was true, it would be an immense dignity that has bestowed upon the human creature. Perhaps I might paint an adequate picture of my thoughts, through words: I believe it theologically deficient to conceive of God's will and human will existing as side-by-side (i.e. as 'OO'; or 'oO') as this approach ascribes ontological independence and equality between the Creator and the created. The way the Reformed view the relationship between the two wills is somewhat different. We still have human will 'freely' operative, insofar as it can be considered 'free' to begin with, but the sphere of such operation rests within God's all-encompassing will. Unfortunately my keyboard limits how this can be graphically represented, but think of a small circle existing entirely within a much larger circle. The small circle represents human will--complete and unfettered if you prefer--but not doing violence to God's sovereign will.

Now here's a question for you: The calvinists that I know, generally say that conversion is totally, completely and wholly the work of God, not man. (I suspect this to be a false dichotomy). Your suspicion was well founded ;) To the extent that they say the will of the one being converted is not involved in any way in the conversion. I think this is called "monergism". Your description partly describes what's intended by the term 'monergism', offering the slant that's often applied in contexts which compare/contrast/distinguish it from 'synergism', i.e. the human will working in cooperation with the Divine will. Is this hyper-calvinism, or the normal sort? Monergism is a perfectly orthodox aspect of Reformed teaching, when properly understood and used. The critical point to grasp is an awareness that 'monergism' speaks to the forensic aspect of salvation where God, having elected, then declares the elect to be justified. But we Reformed also subscribe to an Ordo Salutis, one where 'conversion' (1. election; 2. predestination; 3. Gospel call; 4. inward call; 5. regeneration; 6. conversion (i.e. faith and repentance); 7. justification; 8. sanctification (i.e. growth in holiness); 9. glorification) might be conceived of in somewhat 'synergistic' ways, noting that the capacity for us to have faith and repent still rests with, and in, God's condescension. I find it hard to separate things like "unconditional election" from my view of what is hyper-calvinism. Then your view of Calvinism is wrong. Hyper-Calvinism denies that God calls everyone through the Gospel to repent and believe. Calvinism, Reformed teaching, neither believes nor teaches this. Of course the various 'TULIP' categories are less than helpful given that they derived largely from polemics directed against the Arminian Articles of Remonstrance. The point of 'unconditional election'; however, is that election isn't preconditioned on any individual's merit, but on God's choosing.

Re thought #1, I don't think anyone (except Pelagians?) say that the human will is completely free. It's more the suspicion that in the Calvinist way of looking at it, there is no will to do any good whatsoever and so the human will is completely bound and enslaved into sin (total depravity) and is therefore completely unable to desire any good thing (hence the need for monergism). The fact that human beings are capable of great acts of compassion, and then apart from being in right relationship with God, conclusively demonstrates there there is the will to do 'good' in human nature. Calvinists certainly don't presume otherwise! So yet again I would suggest that 'total depravity' should be understood not only in it's historic, polemical context (per our previous consideration of 'unconditional election'), but also in it's theological context: i.e. the human condition in sin is such that humanity is unable to conceive of its wretchedness without the gracious intervention of God. The Catholic and Arminian position don't go quite so far in this case, and rather say that when God instigates our conversion, we, following and responding to his prompting and hence our will co-operates with God in our salvation. Might I suggest that you would say 'poe-tay-toe', and I would say 'poe-tar-toe' :)

Am I mis-representing calvinism here? A wee bit, certainly. Maybe I should read through the Institutes after all. Perhaps you should, old bean ;)

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, and advancing the discussion.

Blessings,

Ian
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:23/01/2012 3:38 AMCopy HTML

The question still remains, however, as to what degree our 'free' will is actually free of/from God's perfect will :)

 

From the ‘39 Articles of Religion’, one of the three fundamental declarations of the Anglican Church of Australia, my church holds to;

Article X

Of Free-Will

The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God: Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

 

 

Does this mean man has a free will, but is either good or bad; it is man’s choice to which he stands before God by?

But then, in choosing such do we really have a free will? Paul demonstrates in Romans 7, there is a law still working within that cancels out his will to do that which he can find favour with God.


Ralph

I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C.S.Lewis.
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Re:Free will

Date Posted:23/01/2012 5:23 AMCopy HTML

Hi, Ralph.

Given that you now apparently identify as Anglican, it's probably best that you approach your priest for a running commentary on the finer points of the Thirty-nine Articles ;)

Blessings,

ian
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