Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Damming of the Soul by "Free Will Heresy"

In regards to yesterday's post, a faithful reader and commenter left this comment:

"Excellent truths posted here Gregg; this is why the 'free will' theology is so damning to the soul - it robs the Spirit of His ministerial work in the saving of a sinner and deludes the sinner into thinking he/she can save themselves apart from this supernatural work. The lack of expounding on the doctrines of grace are a big reason why the churches in this country are such a mess." (Lyn)

Lyn is so correct! This is why Arminianism is truly another gospel. It is also why the heresy of "free will" is so vile. Evangelistic campaigns bypasses the Holy Spirit's ministry of convicting the sinner of sin and causes the "evangelistic target" to verbalize a prayer rather than to experience the work of the Spirit in their soul.

Although salvation is instantaneous, the process may not be.The Holy Spirit may take days, weeks, or even months of awakening the sinner to an awareness of his/her sin. Sinners may experience days or weeks or months of prolonged agony over sin and the awareness of violating God's standards. If a "sinner" in an evangelistic foray is not given the opportunity of having sin  awakened in them then there is no understanding of what one is being saved from. Coincidentally, most gospel presentations today varying from light touching on what one is being saved from to not even mentioning. 

Men like Charles Ryrie or Zane Hodges and the like ignore the need of repentance by an awakened sinner by insisting that repentance is merely changing one's mind about what one thinks about sin. This is why so many of today's pulpits and churches are filled with tares. 

Thank you Lyn for your insight comment. Thank you for your insistence on the need for the clear exposition of the doctrines of grace. Thank you for taking the time to both read and comment on this poor, humble blog!

18 comments:

lyn said...

Gregg,
Many have turned this into a 'Calvinism vs. Arminianism' debate, but that isn't what it is at all. The Arminian refuses to understand and give due credit to God the Spirit and what He MUST do if a sinner's to be saved. It seems Satan has been successful in drawing many away from the truth; when confronting an Arminian concerning the work of the Spirit, most will tell you they accepted Christ, which is why the Spirit works in them. They simply must give 'self' due credit before they even acknowledge the work of the Spirit.
I believe it's time for many to do an in-depth study on the work of the Godhead in the saving of a sinner, when that is done, it's undeniable that man has not one thing to do with saving himself. It is all of God, who is mighty, merciful, and saves to the uttermost.

KC Bob said...

I like what Spurgeon said about John Wesley:

"There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer—I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one "of whom the world was not worthy." I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven."

lyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gregg Metcalf said...

Lyn - why wold you delete your comment? It was correct. Spurgeon, as much as I love him and revere him, was not perfect nor was he fallible. I think he was wrong on Wesley.

Bob - I am not saying that God cannot save anyone in spite of what they might believe. But I do believe Arminianism is another gospel and God will lead a person past that false teaching in the process of saving them.

lyn said...

Hi Gregg,
I deleted my comment because I wanted to research what Wesley taught/believed. I wanted to be informed before I commented. Now that I have done a bit of research on Wesley, my comment was correct. I am disappointed on how Spurgeon could sing praises of a man who adhered to another gospel. We must have enough backbone to stand firm on God's truth, regardless of what our 'peers' think, say, believe. We must expose those who add to and/or take from God's truth! Spurgeon would not hesitate to expose the erroneous teachings of the RCC and yet, he upholds the erroneous teachings of Wesley?!?
Standing firm on truth will not win you friends, but it will bring God glory.

KC Bob said...

"I think on justification just as I have done any time these seven and twenty years, and just as Mr. Calvin does. In this respect I do not differ from him a hair’s breadth." -John Wesley

"As Protestant Christians, Wesley and Calvin agreed with one another more than they disagreed. Both claimed to follow the heritage of biblical Christianity. Both claimed to follow the ancient creeds and teachings of key patristic writers; for example, they believed in divine creation, the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation, salvation, resurrection, eternal life, and so on. They had noteworthy disagreements with Roman Catholic interpretations of the creeds and patristic writers, but they tended to agree about why they disagreed with Catholics. Finally, both claimed to be part of the resurgence of Christianity found in the Reformation and the Protestant traditions that followed them. Certainly both Wesley and Calvin were and continue to be foundational representatives of Protestantism. Thus, if for no other reason than to better understand the whole of Christianity, both Wesley and Calvin should be studied."

"During his lifetime, Wesley openly disagreed with followers of Calvin, though such disagreements did not preclude Wesley from ministering alongside them. Most notably, he disagreed with the Calvinist theology of George Whitfield. Whitfield had been a longtime friend of Wesley. Just as Wesley introduced Whitfield to the value of small group meetings and holy living, Whitfield introduced Wesley to the value of outdoor preaching and evangelism. Whitfield traveled to the American Colonies where he helped to spearhead the First Great Awakening. In Britain, Wesley led the Methodist revival, which similarly contributed to the spiritual renewal of the English speaking world of the eighteenth century. Despite their public debate, both men affirmed and honored the ministries of one another to the amazement of those who observed them—Christians and non-€Christians alike."

http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/3615/calvin-vs-wesley

lyn said...

It matters little who agrees/disagrees with men - what it boils down to is this, what saith the Scriptures? As I stated, this is not about Calvinism vs. Arminianism, for the doctrines of grace did not originate with John Calvin. Does the Bible teach man has free will and can choose or reject Christ? No, it does not. Twisting God's word, adding to it or removing from it is how Jacob Arminius came up with his 'free will' doctrine, a belief held to by Wesley. There are not and cannot be two different gospels, either man is dead in sin and must be quickened by God, drawn by Him, regenerated by Him, gifted with faith by Him; or, man has the ability to choose Christ based on his will. The problem with 'free will' is this, ALL of man fell in the garden. His will is just as tainted by sin as his mind and heart. Jeremiah 17:9 clearly teaches this, 'The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?' Look into the definition of 'heart'- 'inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding
1a) inner part, midst
1a1) midst (of things)
1a2) heart (of man)
1a3) soul, heart (of man)
1a4) mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
1a5) inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
1a6) conscience
1a7) heart (of moral character)
1a8) as seat of appetites
1a9) as seat of emotions and passions
1a10) as seat of courage - source, Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew definitions

This includes the entire 'inner man', so what about this 'heart'? It is deceitful and desperately wicked, what do these words mean? Deceitful is defined as 'deceitful, sly, insidious'; desperately wicked is defined as
1a1) to be incurable
1a2) to be sick
1a3) desperate, incurable, desperately wicked, woeful, very sick (passive participle) (metaphorically)

How is it that such a heart can wisely choose a Savior from sin when it knows nothing but crookedness, deceit, and is incurably sick? How does such a heart remedy itself from this woeful condition? Simple - it does not and cannot. This is the danger of the accursed 'free will' gospel - telling sinners to choose is not in the realm of their ability to do so. This is exactly why the Apostle Paul said 'But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.' 1 Cor. 2:14

Some may think it's acceptable to embrace error, even in the 'slightest degree' {actually, there is NO such thing}, however, those who tremble at His word will NOT embrace error at any level.

lyn said...

allow me to add another text, from John 3:3, 'Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' The Lord Jesus says one cannot 'see' if he is not born again - to see means to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything. Before one can 'see' spiritual truth, he must be born again, or literally 'born from above'. That is the ministerial work of the Holy Spirit and is the only way one can truly be brought to Christ. It is a work of the Godhead and does not come as a result of man's free will, for the will is not free; it is tainted by sin, corrupt and wicked. All who teach otherwise should be shunned- so many have 'embraced' error simply because the false teachers have spewed out truth here and there. They agree on certain points, and disagree on others; this is exactly how error has infiltrated the church. You can be 'half-right' and still be accepted as a brother. We simply must get back to teaching the doctrines of grace, proclaiming the work of the triune God in saving sinners, sticking solely with the word, allowing God the Spirit to teach us and NOT men, examining what is being said with His word and discard what is false, and reject half-truths!

Gregg Metcalf said...

Wesley and Prevenient Grace

God's prevenient grace is with us from birth, preparing us for new life in Christ. "Prevenient" means "comes before." Wesley did not believe that humanity was totally "depraved" but rather God places a little spark of divine grace within us which enables us to recognize and accept God's justifying grace. Preparing grace is "free in all for all," as Wesley used to say.

Wesley got the total depravity of man wrong. You cannot get that wrong and understand salvation.

Wesley Wesley and Prevenient Grace

God's prevenient grace is with us from birth, preparing us for new life in Christ. "Prevenient" means "comes before." Wesley did not believe that humanity was totally "depraved" but rather God places a little spark of divine grace within us which enables us to recognize and accept God's justifying grace. Preparing grace is "free in all for all," as Wesley used to say.

Wesley loved medieval Roman Catholic mysticism, and developed his doctrine of perfectionism in connection with it.

Wesley rejected the imputation of Christ's righteousness in justification.

Wesley believed in the heresy of baptismal regeneration.

Bob these are just a few of Wesley's problems. It doesn't matter if Whitefield or Spurgeon think highly of him, it doesn't change the fact that Wesley had some very problamatic beliefs. I wonder if he even understood the gospel.

KC Bob said...

I thought it interesting that the people who actually knew John Wesley (and what he believed) did not consider him to be a heretic. These men, who I respect yet disagree with on a few issues, respected him and viewed him as a brother in Christ and not did not wonder if he even understood the gospel.

Gregg Metcalf said...

I just thought of something, I am not sure how we got on Wesley to begin with. My post dealt with the damming effect of the heresy of free will. My point was that this doctrine deceives men into thinking they can at any time make a move towards God in order to do something (exercise faith) that would please God while dead in sin.

KC Bob said...

Yeah. I think that we have discussed that before. My point was basically that many reformers like Wesley and Luther did not ascribe to some of Calvin's views but that did not mean they were heretics.

lyn said...

I find it interesting that men defend men instead of standing firm on truth. It's also interesting that men will swallow error as long as it is mixed with truth. As J.C. Ryle so aptly stated "I am quite aware that the things I have said are exceedingly distasteful to many minds. I believe many are content with teaching which is not the whole truth, and fancy it will be "all the same" in the end. I am sorry for them. I am convinced that nothing but the whole truth is likely, as a general rule, to do good to souls. I am satisfied that those who willfully put up with anything short of the whole truth, will find at last that their souls have received much damage. Three things there are which men never ought to trifle with—a little poison, a little false doctrine, and a little sin."

How much error can one preach before they are labeled a 'heretic'?

KC Bob said...

Yeah. Not sure why Spurgeon felt a need to defend a supposed heretic like John Wesley. Perhaps Spurgeon himself was a heretic? Oh wait, LOL, is it possible for a Calvinist to be a heretic? Heaven forbid!

I hope that I am not offending. My point in all of this is to point out the absurdity of calling people heretics and labeling views that do not agree with one's biblical interpretations as heresy.

Instead of calling each other names and seeking to divide, cannot we not simply discuss and leave the name calling to the atheists?

"Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may." -John Wesley

lyn said...

KC Bob,

How wrong can one be and still be right? BTW, I didn't label Wesley as a heretic, I do think his teachings were false. The Gospel is not something that can be tampered with, nor is any part of God's holy word.

My whole point was to avoid labeling; the doctrines of grace are found throughout Scripture. However, the free will doctrine originated with man. Instead of starting from this point and going into His word, most will resort to the labeling and never come to a right understanding of truth.

As for biblical interpretations, what I've presented is not an interpretation. What Wesley presented indeed was his interpretation. WHat's the difference? One must interpret scripture with scripture, read within the context of the portion of Scripture being studied, look into the original language and the Greek grammatical construction of the sentence, the tense[s] of the verbs used, etc. and most importantly of all, seek God the Spirit as one's teacher. We should shy away from commentaries as a means of interpreting the meaning of any text.

Are there secondary issues that we can disagree with and if so, who determines such? Can one be that far off in their interpretation of the most important truth in all of Scripture and be considered a vessel of honor, useful to the Master?

KC Bob said...

"BTW, I didn't label Wesley as a heretic, I do think his teachings were false."

I am okay with that view. Using inflammatory words like heretic and heresy do nothing but divide brothers from brothers.

lyn said...

I agree with you, name-calling is not something we should resort to. However, if someone truly is a heretic, then it is not unbiblical to say so, providing one gives ample support for doing so.

KC Bob said...

Here is a note on heresy from Mideast missionary Carl Medairis on the topic.

"The arrogance that heresy hunters manifest is disturbing at best. It suggest that the one has figured out full and final revealed truth, and the other hasn't. Throughout the years I've seen several examples of the one who preached most powerfully against a certain sin, be the one who fell into that sin. Not loving may be the greatest heresy of all."

You can read more of Carl's experience at Wheaton University at http://carlmedearis.com/2012/04/heresy-at-wheaton/

I have no more to say on this topic and do not wish to speak further on it. I think that we have sufficiently shared our thoughts. I wish that we could share our thoughts in person over a cup of coffee. This medium does much to foster misunderstanding.