Notes on Free Will

Much of becoming skilled in something involves knowing the terminology. If you know all of the medical terms for a particular disease and what they mean, you have the tools to be able to discuss the issue with the medical profession. If you know all the parts of a car and what they do, you’ll be fairly well equipped to be able to diagnose issues. In my sermon yesterday, I made a distinction between Calvinism and my own understanding of the Scripture. In hopes of equiping you with the tools for further study, I want to share a few terms you might need to research the topic more. You will often find Calvinism described in five broad points using the acronym TULIP which include:

–Total Depravity – You cannot seek God on your own. You are completely and totally sinful.
–Unconditional Election – God picks those who will be saved, without any input from them.
–Limited Atonement – Jesus didn’t really die for everyone, but only the elect (those chosen by God).
–Irresistible Grace – If God selects you for salvation, you can’t resist it.
–Perseverance of the Saints – Once you are saved, you’ll always be saved.
In contrast with this, is a view commonly called Arminianism. This is the view I would agree with. Its five points don’t make a nice acronym, but are:
(1) election (and condemnation on the Day of Judgment) was conditioned by the rational faith (or nonfaith) of each person;
(2) the Atonement, while qualitatively adequate for all humans, was efficacious only for the person of faith;
(3) unaided by the Holy Spirit, no person is able to respond to God’s will;
(4) grace is not irresistible; and
(5) believers are able to resist sin but are not beyond the possibility of falling from grace.
I always encourage Christians to be like the Church in Berea that “received the message with great eagerness and
examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11). I encourage you to always
do the same.