Until one summer ago (summer of '97), I was a BIG TIME advocator on the side of free will. My close church friends had been searching through the scriptures for a long time, and had come to rest on the side of sovereign election in salvation. I'll never forget our days of endless debate as our college and careers group battled out the issue: Bible pages frantically turning, concordances ripping off shelves... A good friend of mine, on the election side, left me with this challenge: if I could build a solid defense for free will, based on scripture (in its proper context) he would reconsider. I got into some major bible reading, determined to prove him wrong; while I prayed that God would teach me if in fact I was wrong. I found not one verse about free will, but discovered that sovereign election was an undeniable Biblically based doctrine.
You may not agree with my point of view, nor with everything I have written, and that's ok. I would not be so bold as to claim that I have the absolute and only truth on this matter. I as I have read through the scriptures over the past year, I have come to believe that this is the correct understanding of scripture. I would willingly reconsider my view should the Holy Scriptures reveal otherwise.
Many people, I believe, are in grave danger when they get into a rut of believing that what they have always believed and what their church has taught them cannot be wrong. Too few people are willing to lay aside their theological presuppositions to consider their position in light of scripture. Many would prefer to remain in the comfort zone of what they have always known, and are not open to the Spirit's teaching.
I pray that you will read through the scriptures prayerfully, open to the instruction of the Holy Spirit. Please lay aside your biases and be willing to consider the scriptures I have highlighted in my text. Do not attempt to be defensive (as I was when I fist began studying this), Defensiveness causes one to rationalize scripture to make it fit their understanding.
I have highlighted many verses throughout this text. Please take the time to read the verses in the context of the whole passage. Many false doctrines and religions are built on single verses twisted and taken from their context. If your hermeneutics are in order (scripture interprets scripture; verse in context with chapter, with book, with the whole of scripture; observing to who and about who a verse in being written, etc), you will be less likely to err in your interpretations
I welcome your comments or questions. Please read through this text in its entirety before making any conclusions. Hold your questions and objections until you have read everything, for I may deal with that question later.
1. Intro: WHAT IS THE WILL?
2.THE SINNER'S NATURE
a) born dead
b) spiritually deaf & blind
c) cannot understand things of God
d) is enmity against God
e) is in bondage to sin
3. SALVATION IS OF THE LORD
b)To God be the glory
c) election based on foreknowledge?
4. GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY AND MAN'S RESPONSIBILITY
5. THE GIFTS OF FAITH AND REPENTANCE
6. CAN GOD'S CALLING BE RESISTED?
7. COMMON OBJECTIONS:
#1 it's not fair
#2 2 Peter 3:9
#3 If God has his elect, why evangelize?
8. CONCLUSION: WHAT DOES THIS CHANGE? DOES ANY OF THIS MATTER?