Friday, April 13, 2018

Free Will vs Predestination

Much of where I differ from other modern Evangelical Universalists may come down to how for most Origen is their favorite of the Early Church Fathers while I prefer the Church Fathers who were Universalists yet critical of Origen.  Because I'm concerned about the ways Origen anticipated things like Arianism via his Platonic ideas.

However my past uncomfortably with their tendency to reject Free Will isn't one of them.  Origen strongly taught Free Will and condemned those Gnostics who rejected it.  And so did Methodius of Olympus who was critical of Origen but possibly a fellow Universalist.  I do not however agree with Origen's desire to explain what Malachi says about Jacob and Esau via a Prexistence of Souls doctrine. 

I made a post on this blog already providing quotes about Free Will before Pelagius.  Pelagius's teaching may have included something I'd find heretical, I don't know, we know him only via what his critics said.  But the point is he didn't invent Free Will.

My perspective on the issue of Free Will and Predesintation has been, not changed so much as clarified since watching this video explaining what Calvin originally taught.

Calvin mentioned Universalism but without taking it seriously.  Because to him that was an absurdity. So he concluded that God must choose not to Save people in order to maintain God's Sovereignty.  Even though more then one passage in Scripture says it's not God's Will for any to Perish.  Matthew 18:14, 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:3-4.

Non Calvanist opponents of Unviersalism would respond that the context is explaining why the Parusia is being delayed and clearly implies those who aren't saved before the Parusia are screwed.  The validity of that argument depends on other passages.  Calvinists however need to convince themselves that those verses are only talking about the Elect even though the context clearly doesn't support that.

As far as the claim that Romans 1 talks about "Reprobates".  Much of Romans 1 is rhetorically laying the views of those Paul is about to scold.  The rest of the Epistle goes on to refute the notion that God gives up on Sinners.

I have come to realize that instead of putting Universalism into the context of the position I already had on the Free Will/Predestination conflict, I should rather view Universalism as the solution to that conflict.  The Bible clearly teaches both Free Will and Predestination, and it is only an assumption that some will not be saved that sees a conflict there.

Jesus says in John 12:32 that He will draw all men unto him, the Greek terminology clearly implies the one being drawn isn't in control. 

We don't have Free Will in terms of Salvation, God won't allow us to destroy ourselves, nor destroy us for rejecting Him.  But we do have Free Will in terms of being a Believer in this Life, being a Citizen of the Kingdom, entering a Relationship with Him.  God makes the first move as Luther would say, because he's made that first move towards everyone, it's now on us to accept it.

1 John 2:2 destroys limited Atonement "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.".  As does 1 Timothy 2:6 "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.".

1 Timothy 4:10 "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe.".

Protestants spend so much time emphasizing the importance of us not having any reason to boast of our works.  But we do so in denial that Faith is itself a Work.  We consider it important that we do not think we contribute to our Salvation, yet will still think the Salvation of others is dependent on our Evangelism.

We're supposed to preach the Good News, not an Ultimatum.  We were told to Be A Witness, not to force our beliefs on people.  There is no Biblical Basis for door to door soul winning.

Here is one more Link I want to share.

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