Next Untapped Questions:
Thursday, January 8, 7 p.m. at the Rusty Bucket, 42874 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304.
But first, a little background on the theology we'll be discussing:
Calvinism teaches that, because of the condition of sin in human nature, we are incapable of willing ourselves to love God and do God’s will.
Important corollaries here:
- God does not force human beings from outside to make a particular choice.
- Each person is responsible for their choices.
- Each person is an active agent in the choices they make.
- People's available choices are not infinite (meaning, because of factors beyond our control - genetics, surroundings, influences - we may inevitably choose A over B as though B were not a real possibility)
- A person cannot choose contrary to their (sinful) nature.
Therefore, God, in absolute sovereignty, is able to make our wills compatible with God’s, allowing God’s will and God’s plan for salvation to work in a sinful world.
Two Major Categories of “Free Will”
Absolute – Our choices are ours alone; God does not determine our choices in any way
Open – there is a realistic possibility for our choices to go either way (A or B). No predetermined outcomes whatsoever. God does not know our choices beforehand but can make extremely educated guesses.
Non-open – God knows what choice we will make even though we are free to make it. God knows and influences our decisions but can’t determine them.
Compatibilistic – our choices are within God’s sovereign control; we make choices “willingly,” but God gives us the will to make the choices we make.
· The “compatibilistic” viewpoint is what extreme Calvinists would adhere to.
· The “non-open absolute” is what Armenians (i.e., Baptist) would adhere to.
· The “open absolute” viewpoint is just beginning to gain adherents from liberal, post-modern theologians, but there are no institutional churches with this official theological stance because of the implications for the sovereignty and immutability of God.
On Thursday, we'll be looking a several case studies and talking about our own experiences to try to make sense of this complicated theological concept where the rubber meets the road.
Join us - if you're free!