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Friday, September 21, 2007

The "Limited Freedom" of the will

What alot of free willers believe about free will is different from what you hear from Calvinists attacking it. To get it wrong is to set up a straw man argument.

These are a bunch of quotes from Protestant Arminians. I'm sure Molinists, and many Orthodox would believe something similar.

"In classical Christian thought, God's sovereignty is expressed
most generally in the doctrine of providence; predestination is also an
expression of sovereignty, but follows the more general idea of
God's providence is usually considered both general and special
(particular) and divided into three categories: preserving or sustaining,
concurring, and governing. God's sustaining sovereignty is his providential
upholding of the created order; even natural laws such as gravity are regarded
by Christians as expressions of general divine providence.
If God should withdraw his sustaining power, nature itself would run
down and stop; chaos would replace order in creation. Deists may say that this
exhausts God's providence, but classical Christian orthodoxy, whether Eastern,
Roman Catholic, or Protestant, confesses further senses of God's providential
sovereignty in relation to the world.

Arminians, together with Calvinists and other Christians, affirm and
embrace God's special providence, in which he not only sustains the natural
order but also acts in special ways in relation to history, including salvation
history. God's concurrence is his consent to and cooperation with creaturely
decisions and actions. No creature could decide or act without God's concurring
power. For someone to lift his or her hand requires God's concurrence; God
loans, as it were, the power sufficient to lift a hand, and without God's
cooperation even such a trivial act would be impossible.Most attention and
controversy in the doctrine of God's providence surrounds the third aspect:
governance. How does God govern the World?

Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities page 116-117

""Arminius's account of God's providence could hardly be higher
or stronger without being identical with Calvinism's divine determinism. For
him, God is intimately involved in everything that happens without being the
author of sin and evil, or without infringing on the moral liberty of human
To diplomat Hippolytus A Collibus, Arminius wrote:"I most
solicitously avoid two causes of offense,-that God be not proposed as the author
of sin,-and that its liberty be not taken away from the human will: Those are
two points if anyone knows how to avoid, he will think upon no act which I will
not in that case most gladlyallow to be ascribed to the Providence of God,
provided a just regard be had to the Divine pre-eminence.
"Arminius was puzzled about the accusation that he held corrupt opinions
respecting the Providence of God, because he went out of his way to affirm it.
He even went so far as to say that every human act, including sin, is impossible
without God's cooperation!""

Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities page 121

"Much to the suprise of many Arminians, to say nothing of Calvinists,
Arminius affirmed a very strong doctrine of God's providential sovereignty.

him, God is the cause of everything but evil, which he only permits. And
anything that happens, including evil must be permitted by god; it cannot happen
if God does not allow it. God has the ability to stop anything from happening,
but to preserve human liberty he permits sin and evil without approving them.
Arminius said of God's providence: "It preserves, regulates, governsand directs
all things, and that nothing in the world happens fortuitously or by chance." He
elucidated this to mark his own view off from Calvinism's"Nothing is done
without God's ordination" [pr appointment]:

If by the word "ordination" is
signified "that God appoints things of any kind to be done," this mode of
enunciation is erroneous, and it follows as a consequence from it, that God is
the author of sin. But if it signify, that "whatever it be that is done, God
ordains it to a good end," the term in which it is conceived are in that case
correct."In other words, whatever happens, including, (e.g., the fall of Adam)
is at least allowed by God.....""

Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities page 120-121

"Of course, both the government and God put limits on those who abuse
their freedom. Human finitude, Divine judgement, and eventual death place limits
on all free choices."

Norman Geisler, Chosen but Free(second edition) On page 23 at the very bottom of the page asterick # 6

"1. Man is in the image of God, thus having - among other things a
will of his own. There is a will in the universe other than God's: subordinate
to Him, yes, but a true will nevertheless. Were that not True, man would not be
truly personal.

2. Man is free, as possessing a true will, to make real choices
and decisions between two (or more) courses of action (true contingency, again).
A choice that actually can go but one way is not a choice, and without this
"freedom" there is not personality.This is not absolute freedom. It is not
unlimited, unconditioned, or sovereign, like God's freedom. In that sense, God
is the only free being that exists.This freedom is therefore a limited,
conditioned, "governed" freedom."

Robert E. Picirilli from the book Grace Faith Free Will page 41

Alot of free willers believe in a Limited freedom of the will. Calvinists will try to make us believe that we believe in some type of "unlimited" freedom. They will say such things as "if you don't believe in "unlimited freedom" then you can't say you believe in free will."

But the truth alot of us believe in Limited freedom. And if Calvinists can be Hard and soft Determinists when talking about Free will and Sovereignty then why can't free will have more than one kind of thought about free will and Sovereignty?

The truth is......a synergist can't believe in unlimited freedom. Nor can we believe that we are "free from" God. How can our working with God be something that is "FREE FROM" Him?

How can I be in Him and Him in me and be free from Him at the same time? Yet a Calvinist will throw such arguments at me all the time.



Classical Arminianism said...

Good post! Very good.

I added you to my list of Arminian blog sites. You can find your blog address by scrolling down on my site, on the right side.

God bless.


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