Monday, January 14, 2008

Choosing to Obey and Irresistible Too?

As is often the case during my lunch break today I found myself exchanging questions with a Calvinist fellow over another never ending word game topic. For as long as I have been exploring the often sharp differences between Calvinists and Arminians I have been fascinated with the concept of choice. Not being a libertarian free will advocate, naturally I shy from the phrase free will if it is attached to the baggage of libertarian thought as it drags me uncomfortably close to Charles Finney's over stuffed and under supported armchair of Pelagian discomfort. In any event, the issue was about choice and the inevitable question "Does man make moral choices?" I have found that unless the person is a hard determinist of an extreme position, every Calvinist will answer in the affirmative, that men make choices particularly choosing to obey the Gospel (if they happen to be regenerated in the Calvinist sense). I think I asked the question "What are the choices that such men have?" to which the reply was "limited or "very limited". Aside from not being an answer to the question, it also revealed a mindset that is common when logic interferes with one's presuppositions. This person could not or would not allow himself to address the question. An answer to the question would have required at least a provision for an alternative. To choose "A", there must be at a minimum one alternative to decline otherwise it was not a choice. So I am left to ask my Calvinist friends "What is the alternative to choosing to obey the Gospel if you truly believe man chooses to do so?"

To be fair, I must state that I believe every man who chooses to obey the Gospel may also choose not to do so and most who hear the Word of God choose the latter. It is this truth that denies the doctrine of irresistible grace and presents the quandary Calvinists place themselves in when they state that men choose while at the same time affirm their doctrine of irresistible grace. The two thoughts are not compatible.