Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Spurgeon on Free Will

"Philosophy and religion both discard at once the very thought of free will; and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, `If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.' It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both; that he is `Alpha and Omega' in the salvation of men."

"Their foot shall slide in due time"- Deut. 32.35


JSU said...

That is what I love about Spurgeon, there is no holding back. He speaks plainly always having Scripture as his basis. Great quote and support to your previous post.

Steve said...


I like the Spurgeon quote.

I think people are having a hard time delineating between the ability to choose a Ford, Chevy, or Dodge (free will), and the ability to choose God or not. Scripture's clear in Rom.3 that "no one seeks after God."

You may want to elaborate on this a bit to clear the confusion.

Dead Theologians said...


I like the way Tony Capoccia put it.
"God chooses first, and only the ones He chooses will come, no more and no less. But God uses a process. First He chooses the elect. Then in their life, at His appointed time, He begins to call them to salvation. He sends His Word and His Holy Spirit, to open the eyes and ears and heart of the sinner. He supernaturally allows them to see their sins, and the beauty and loveliness of the Savior, He gives them the gift of faith to believe, repent and submit, and they go running after Jesus, begging for salvation. Yes, they did this with their will, but only after God made them able to see and believe by the gift of faith. And God clearly tells man it was a free gift and not to boast (Ephesians 2:8-9)."


dsstanfield said...

I have enjoyed reading the articles and comments on this site. I hope you won't mind if I interpose.

How about this from the WCF:

Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good, and well pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.

Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He freeth him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.

Doesn't it constitute a "works" salvation if you believe by making a decision for Christ, you somehow participated in your salvation, however minutely?


Dead Theologians said...


Great to have you.
You said "Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good, and well pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it."

Here is where the problem comes in. We are DEAD in sin before Christ. We are not maimed, sick, or injured but dead in sin. According to Romans 3 we are wicked before God and CANNOT choose God on our own. Everything else falls in after that.

Great to hear from you.

dsstanfield said...

Hello DT,

I read your profile and see that you are in Georgia. I am a fellow Georgian.

Maybe I need to clarify this statement:

"Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good, and well pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it."

This is referring to Adam and Eve BEFORE the fall.

I would reference it with:

Ecc. 7:29: Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Gen. 1:26: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...

I agree totally with you. Dead men can not choose good. There is NONE righteous, not even one; there is NONE who understands, there is NONE who seeks for God...

Anonymous said...

Hi i would be interested to know how Cornelious adds up in reform thelogy..

In Act 11:14 we read Cornelius wasn't saved before he met Peter

"he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.'

But before he was saved he was called a devout man,also a man whos prayers God heard

Act 10:4 And he stared at him in terror and said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.

How does that add up with total depravity & freewill?

Anonymous said...

The verse seem's to imply that Cornelious action's caused a reaction by God,even so Cornelious was unsaved while he made them..

Anonymous said...

Of course it helps if you spell his name right Cornelius duh

Anonymous said...

hmmmm no-one?

Cornelius kind of makes a mockery of total depravity doesn't he..


Dead Theologians said...


John 6.44 might help you out.
Also, if you can go over Romans 3 I think you might find those difficult to ignore.


Steve said...

"hmmmm no-one?

Cornelius kind of makes a mockery of total depravity doesn't he.."


Nothing about Cornelius mocks total depravity as you seem to believe.

Total depravity doesn't teach that the elect of God won't seek after Him until their regenerated.

Not all elect saints live completely depraved lives before the Lord saves them.

Anonymous said...

Hi thks for the replies

quote "seek after Him until their regenerated"

that makes no sense!

If your totally depraved, how can you have the ability to know ur depraved and need God..

Honest questions without any bias, quite happy to be proven wrong,will check ur verse,i'm in the UK and just finishing a night shift lol.


Anonymous said...

It amazes me how well known Spurgeon is in your country,i doubt he's as well known here!!

Its a shame reform preachers arn't so well known here,i doubt 3/4 of the Christian i know have even heard of Edwards..

The other day i enquired about a M L Jones book, in a popular Christian bookshop,and they said whos he haha shameful

So your site is a breath of fresh air, despite my questions ;-)


Dead Theologians said...


God has to draw you before you call on Him. Once He calls you to Himself you cannot help but call on Him.
A dead man cannot do anything until his maker calls him.


Dead Theologians said...


It is sad that many of the great preachers are not known amongst God's people.

I have heard some say that liberalism has totally taken over the European church. Would you say that this is true?


Workman said...

I've been reading up on the Calvinism/Arminianism debate lately and I'd like your input.

I find Arminianism internally inconsistent in that man's use of free will to choose God implies less than total depravity. Also, if salvation is conditional upon human volition, doesn't that mean that all infants who die go to hell because they aren't old enough to choose Christ to save them from imputed sin? Doesn't sound too graceful to me.

On the other hand, I'd like to know how the Limited Atonement point of Calvinism squares with John 3:16-17 and Romans 5:18?

Anonymous said...

Hi, well not totally true DT i'm sure there are some solid churches out there in the UK...

When i got "saved" (if i am)i went to a charismatic church..Their pretty big still,they tend to jump on most band wagons,from Toronto/kingdom now/Alpha course..Their more emergent and socially concerned these days...

The more traditional church was for a long time pretty dead, it seemed the more liberal the C of E got,the less people saw them as relevant..Theres a lot of friction in the C of E due to liberal doctrine..

There as been a influx of Christians, but not new Christians, or a revival as i read on a blog.Its more to do with Christians from other countries here for University or work..

It will be interesting to see how the traditional Churches, deal with these Christian from other countries who have resisted liberal doctrine on homosexuality and female clercy..Its strongly believed there will be a split in the C of E sooner then later..

Reform in my party of the country is dead, theres one small reform church that you would recognize,which as 200 max members, and of course theres the united reform church,which always struck me as pretty wishy washy..

I you visit a Christian book shop in the UK,you will be met by books by McLaren or Bell or other Emergents,Bells dvd are everywhere..I also asked for truth war, when i asked for M L Jones books,and the shop worker said they didn't know who MacArthur was,was he a new writer haha..

The weird thing when you talk to Christians here,a lot are oblivious to the fact that a lot of people are concerned about emergent ideas,its like well they must be solid we have their books..

Of course i can only talk as i find,another person may say i'm entirely wrong..But i know for a FACT if i said to all the Christian i know,that God had an elect that He picked before time for salvation, and others weren't elected they would think i was insane!!

sorry about my grammar lol

Anonymous said...


On the question of a child's salvation,surely with either doctrine the child is not held responsible?..

I agree with J Piper when he says quote

"Romans 1:20 "Since the creation of the world God's invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

In other words: if a person did not have access to the revelation of God's glory - did not have the natural capacity to see it and understand it, then Paul implies they would have an excuse at the judgment.

end quote..

That basically is neither Calvinist or Arminianist doctrine,just common sense..


Steve Fuentes said...

"If your totally depraved, how can you have the ability to know ur depraved and need God.."

Andy, aside from misunderstanding my remarks about seeking after the Lord before regeneration, I still think you're misunderstanding the doctrine of total depravity.

Many religious systems, in fact most, have within them, a way of dealing with their sin. Most use some sort of sacrificial system to try and atone for their sin and the sins of their followers. These are not Christians, but they still know that they're sinners who need to make atonement for their sins.

They aren't regenerated in the biblical sense, but they're still seeking after the Lord on their own. Granted, the Lord to them may not include Jesus as Son and all the teachings of the Bible, but they're acknowledging the fact that their sinners are trying to do something about it.

What enables them to know that they're sinners and need God is the fact that they were all created by God, bear the image of God, and have the law of God written on their hearts.

It is that knowledge that compels men to seek after the Lord. The elect of God will seek after Him thru Jesus, the rest will never find Him through their own methods.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve if you can seek God how can you be TOTALLY depraved? If its total,it would mean no part of you is good,and that would mean you wouldn't recognize your need for God..

Your example of other faiths just proves the ridiculousness of total depravity..These people are seeking God while totally depraved,what makes them seek what total depravity says they will never realize they need? On top of that what kind of God puts in them a need to seek what they will never find?..

If the darkness is total it is pitch black,not black with a tad of light..

So if totally depraved is true,it would involved God turning on a light,but that wouldn't explain why Cornelius was deemed devout while in his totally depraved state..

In the 17 cent Holland went wild for tulip bulbs it was called tulip fever, i think maybe its symptoms are still contagious..


Dead Theologians said...


You said "what makes them seek what total depravity says they will never realize they need?"

They seek after a god of their own thinking and imagination.

You said "On top of that what kind of God puts in them a need to seek what they will never find?.."

A God who shows mercy to those of His choosing. Romans 9.15

Whoever said that God has to be fair?

You still have not answered the problems that Romans 3 throws your way.


Anonymous said...

That God say He is Just implies Hes fair..

To say God created some as straw for the fire is beyond me..You have a group of people who didn't ask to be born,didn't ask to be born into a state of sin,plus have no way out of the state they didn't ask to be in, but geeeee ur going to be judged for it anyhow..

Why didn't he just miss out the middle man and go straight to heaven with you all,he knows the outcome anyhow geeze...

God is like a Father who knowing is children won't get saved, as them anyhow,would you???

I will read Romans 3 today,but to be honest i'm sick of this stuff..I was a Muslim revert for 2 years,and to be honest i'm starting to think they make more sence : every person is born pure, but chooses to opt out, a little a la Mclaren ;-)Islam or Calvnist hmmm maybe Caner was right :-p


Dead Theologians said...


It seems that you don't have a basic understanding of man's condition.
Man is not sick, he is dead in sin. EVERYONE created is Hellbound. God in His mercy chose some to eternal life. That is mercy and grace.

You seem to get hung up on fairness. God does not have to be fair. He is the creator. Creation is by Him and for Him.

You also seem relunctant to read Scripture. Why? Discussions about God's love, election, or predestination are meaningless apart from Scripture.

At the throne, I am positive that no one will be letting God know that He did His part and they did their part in salvation. Salvation is totally of the Lord.


Anonymous said...

let me just say,i'm sure to many i may appear like a fish on a hook looking for loopholes,in a very real sense i am!!

At the core of me i have faced the fact that you are right, in that the only way to make sense of a biblically sovereign God is election..Judas springs to mind as a very solid argument for elected,he was prophesied to betray Jesus in the OT,even if it hadn't been Judas it had to be someone,and that someone is prophesied to hell i.e

Psa 109:7 When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin!May his days be few; may another take his office!May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow! ...

My problem is if your right i think Christianity is therefore all wrong,and another faith must be right..


ps i read the bible constantly thats not the question,the question is if your right i cant stomach that

Dead Theologians said...


You said "the question is if your right i cant stomach that"

Right about what?

The real issue is what does the Bible say. Don't try to fit the Bible into your neat package that makes you comfortable. I know that there are parts of the Bible that are difficult.

Have you ever committed your sin and life to Christ?


Anonymous said...

I meant if ur right about Calvinism i would find that a hard God to love,that he could create loved ones of mine or yours for hell,even you must find that hard to stomach?..aj

Anonymous said...

Have i got saved? hmmmm i'm really not sure these days..I was saved or first knew about salvation,after reading a bio of someone..I joint the same denomination as some friends,which at that time was ultra Charismatic,the whole 10 yards tongues and whatnot..But i was never content thought there should be more,it lacked the assurances that Calvinist mention..

So i led a very sinful life for 25 years, but still read and studied stuff while i was away,ive always been intrigued by it..

I'm kind of double minded about it all,on a good day i' yes,on a bad noway..

I've never felt a real conviction of sins never,may of felt bad or wished they hadn't happened yes, but deserve hell no..I guess i'm kind of miffed at God for plonking us in this situation to be honest..

Its a weird situation i kind of feel not saved,but on the flip side i really identify with what people like yourelf and Ken are saying,i like to say i'm like the blind man who saw trees when Jesus healed him haha i'm half blind


Steve Fuentes said...

Andy you said, "To say God created some as straw for the fire is beyond me.."

God did no such thing. Jesus said for whosoever wills may come. He didn't limit His invite to the elect.

1 Peter declares that God desires none to perish but for all to come repentance.

John 3:16 "...that whosoever believes will not perish."

The choice is man's as to whether or not he will choose Christ. That's why we preach. That's why we evangelize.

Sovereign election is clear in the scriptures, and I wholeheartedly embrace it as truth. But on the other hand, man's decision about whether or not to believe the gospel is equally clear.

Jesus taught it, the Apostles taught it, OT teaches it, NT teaches it, and so on.

Those who reject Christ's finished work on the cross as their only means of salvation seal their own destiny.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand your post Steve,you believe God is sovereign and knows who will go to hell,can a person change what God as seen?

anyhow thats for the conversation, i don't want to take all ur time up andy

Anonymous said...

""Jesus said for whosoever wills may come. He didn't limit His invite to the elect.""

But Calvinism argues Jesus added but some of you are willed not to come,my Father foresaw where you end up, and you cant fight whats hes seen sorryyyyy!!

;-p anyhow God Bless all

Anonymous said...

oops i meant "thanks" for the conversation..Are leave u alone haha i can go onnnnn and onnnn Ad nauseam

Steve Fuentes said...


I'm not arguing from a Calvinistic standpoint, I'm arguing from a biblical one.

Since the bible teaches sovereign election, and that whosoever wills may come, I must embrace both as truth.

When we think that we can counsel God about what makes total sense and what doesn't, we quickly find ourselves traveling down the road we ought not go. Read Job for a good example of this.

The bible's clear, salvation is for everyone. All who repent and believe will be saved!

Anonymous said...

this is the crunch it what John Piper says is the ultimate questions

Quote "the question that really matters is how do u reconcile the sovereignty of God with mans accountability..Because most people would hear i don't have ultimate self determintion,i am born wired against God and hell bound,so how am i accountable for my deeds if 'already bent that way..And thats the question that as to be asked!!

i.e God is total in charge of my choices and i am totally responsible for my choices

end quote

and that folks is a paradox that u cant answer...


Steve Fuentes said...

"i.e God is total in charge of my choices and i am totally responsible for my choices

end quote

and that folks is a paradox that u cant answer..."


You are firmly grounded in mid-air.

Neither DT nor myself can make you see the truth that is revealed in Christ. The word promises that all who seek the kingdom of God will find it. (Matt. 7:7-12)

God is paradoxical Andy. To be rich you must become poor. To live you must die. To be first you must make yourself last.

To see the kingdom one must begin in repentance. I beg you to begin there. (Matt.4:17)

Anonymous said...

"i.e God is totally in charge of my choices and i am totally responsible for my choices

end quote

Thats a quote by John not me..Also he argues its a problem that many have tried to address,that J Edwards came closest to answering..But at the end of the day its a mystery and something he just states is true but maybe unfathomable


i.e God is a God of confusing thats my quote
;-) andy


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