One of this week’s Home Church discussion question addressed Free Will. Even though the intent of my question about Free Will was intended to focus on the issue of God’s responsibility for evil in the world, a few of our home churches dove into a discussion of Predestination and Free Will as it relates to salvation. As this has continued to develop this week I have had a few lanes of response. The first was my “in an email” response. Here is a link a short two page paper by Dan Wallace that I think is a fair representation of a balanced view – PDF of Election by Dan Wallace.
My initial response goes like this:
- We do not fly a “Calvinist” flag. It is not an important identity marker for us.
- By “Calvinistic” we me that we emphasize grace and God’s initiation in the salvation process and in our spiritual growth. I often say, “We are responding to the already present grace of God in obedience NOT obey to get God’s grace.”
- If I am restricted to being ether Calvinist or Arminian – I would have to vote Calvinist. The Arminian Position inevitable leads to a rejection of eternal security and often to a more legalistic approach to the Christian life.
- I am NOT a Five Point Calvinist. Probably 4 or 41/2 (I take exception with limited atonement).
- We are solidly on the side of “Eternal security” which tends to be a Calvinistic position.
- Interestingly, Calvinist often take other positions about eschatology that we do not take. It is not rare to be a pre-millennial Calvinist but some Calvinists would say it is not consistent. That is a much bigger issue.
- My bottom line is that we have to believe in election and predestination because the bible is full of it (Eph. 1:3-6) Romans 8:29-30; 1 Peter 1:2) and that makes us Calvinistic . However, that does not eliminate “free will” that work together like two hands clapping. However, I never want to lose the emphasis of God’s initiation and grace.
Under the Cross Always,