DCG’s Thoughts on Calvinism (Baffled-Calvinists and Baffled-Free-Willers) And Free Will

Before I was saved, the preaching of the gospel that I heard was in a style of communication that implied to me that I had the inherent ability to repent and accept or reject God’s call/drawing to believe in Christ as my savior in order to be saved. Therefore, I concluded that the preacher believed the same about mans ability. Also, when I actually looked up the scriptures that were used in the sermons, the text implied to me that I, of my own will, needed to make a decision to accept Christ as my savior in order to be saved. I had no idea that the preacher might not actually believe man had the inherent ability to repent and accept or reject God’s call/drawing. For several months God was convicting me of my sin, that hell was my destiny, and that I needed my sins forgiven by faith in Christ. I was saved believing that I had the inherent ability to repent and accept or reject God’s call/drawing to accept Christ as my savior.

As a new believer, I began to study the word of God from that perspective. As I came across the few verses (approximately much less than 0.5%) when interpreted in a certain way could syllogistically be used to build an implied theology of “no inherent ability of man to repent and accept or reject God’s call/drawing to trust His word, to follow His commands and to believe in Christ as our savior”, I only temporarily mentally noted that those few verses by themselves could possibly be interpreted in a way that could be used to build the implied theology of “no inherent ability of man to repent and accept or reject God’s call/drawing” if a person ignored the implication of the majority of the Scripture and the implication of the style of communication used by God in the Scripture. I proceeded to interpret those few verses from an “inherent ability of man to repent and accept or reject God’s call/drawing” perspective, which is the precedence set by the majority of scriptures in the Bible and the communication style of the word of God; and I did not have any problems understanding and interpreting them from that perspective or precedence. During those early years of my Christian life I had not even heard of Calvinism. The style of communication used by God in the Bible is the same style people use every day of their lives – which is a style that obviously is built on an understood foundation that implies and assumes the hearer has the free will ability to accept or reject what is being communicated to them. Also, according to my reasoning capacity the mere existence of communications from God to man through His inspired word (the Bible), in which He tries to convince/persuade mankind to repent and accept His call/drawing, instructions/teachings, commands, promises and gifts, implies to me that mankind has the inherent free will ability to repent and accept or reject His call/drawing, instructions/teachings, commands, promises and gifts.

Years later I begin to come across Calvinists and heard their teaching and read of their theology of “no inherent ability of man to repent and accept or reject God’s call/drawing”. Their teaching and teaching method of using less than 0.5% of the Bible had a scholarly aura about it because they did a very good job of doing an academic syllogistic development using their interpretation of those few verses. It seemed strange to me that Calvinists would let the implication of approximately less than 0.5% of the Scripture set the precedence when the implication of the majority of the Scripture contradicted their conclusion. My experience indicates to me that a lot of people that get saved, intuitively/logically see this implied understood “inherent ability of man to repent and accept/believe or reject God’s call/drawing” in the majority of the Bible without even being fully cognizant of it; and therefore, like I was at first, are unable to rationally explain it at first. Also, like myself, they intuitively/logically let that set the precedence and automatically interpret Calvinism’s 0.5%, or less, supporting Scripture verses from “the inherent ability of man to repent and accept/believe or reject God’s call/drawing” precedent perspective. I have found Calvinism’s 0.5%, or less, Scripture verses are easily understood from the “inherent ability of man to repent and accept/believe or reject God’s call/drawing” perspective.

When a strict Calvinist would give their interpretation to me of those few scriptures in their syllogistic logic loop chain, the thought that repeatedly came to my mind was, “What about the rest of the Scripture, the majority of Scripture!” Each time I asked them about a verse or section of the Scripture that obviously implied the “inherent ability of man to repent and accept or reject God’s call/drawing (which call/drawing is through creation, the Scripture and drawing of the Holy Spirit)”, they would jump back to repeating their academic and scholarly syllogistic logic loop chain, based on less than 0.5% of the Scripture. After I had asked them about many more verses in the Bible that implied this “inherent ability of man to repent and accept or reject God’s call/drawing”, they would start accusing me of having a proof-texting mentality. At first, I was baffled, because I had never heard of the idea of proof-texting before. Later, I realized that they were also proof-texting.

I soon realized that there was something wrong with my method of discussing my conclusions with them. Finally, I realized that they were experts at getting folk like me to get started on a verse hurdling contest, and then they would start accusing folk like me of being guilty of proof-texting. From that point on, I very early in discussions with Calvinists point out to them the majority implication of the Bible, instead of getting caught up in a verse hurdling contest.

Now days, when I ask Calvinists to interpret the majority of the Scripture, that reeks with the implication “that man has the inherent ability to repent and accept/believe or reject what is being communicated to them from God” from their “no inherent ability of man to repent and accept/believe or reject” perspective, the usual answer I get is along this line is: “Yes, God communicates with man in a style that implies that man has the inherent ability to accept/believe or reject what is being communicated to them from Him, but God knows that man does not have that inherent ability.” To me, that response seems to imply that God has been deceiving mankind on this theological issue for millennia, implying that God is a deceiver. When I tell them that implies that God is a deceiver, they usually respond by saying that “— My (God’s) ways (are) higher than your ways — from Isa. 55:9”. This type of response is what I get from the majority of strict TULIP type Calvinists (5 point Cal.) and strict TUIP Calvinists (4 point Cal.).

Also, when I ask strict Calvinists why 95% of the time they preach in a communication style that also implies “that man has the inherent ability to believe or reject what is being communicated to them”, they usually reply by saying, “that is the way God does it in the Bible” (which indicates that they are aware that the majority of the Bible implies that man has the inherent ability to accept/believe or reject what is being communicated to them from God). To me, that answer seems to be saying, “If God is deceiving man on this issue in the Bible, then so can we.”

I have met Christians that claim to be Calvinistic and say man has free will, that I mentally like to think of as baffled-Calvinists. The majority of Christian literature these baffled-Calvinists read is written by strong 5-point and 4-point Calvinist authors. These baffled-Calvinists are mentally confounded between the highly intellectual, scholarly, and academic syllogistic chain reasoning argument presented by strict TULIP and TUIP (5 point and 4 point) Calvinists and their own common sense logical reasoning ability that sees that the majority of the Bible and the communication style of God in the Bible reeks with an obvious implication of the inherent ability of man to accept/believe or reject what is being communicated to them from God; they see the obvious contradiction. In an effort to try to resolve the contradiction (but it really only somewhat masks the contradiction), these Baffled-Calvinists will say that from God’s perspective He unconditionally elects who will be saved and from man’s perspective it is a free will whosoever decision; and they will say that TUI, TU and free will are all true and that we can not understand it because “— My (God’s) ways (are) higher than your ways — from Isa. 55:9”. To me, their answer seems to imply that God is justifying their internally contradictory theology. Worse yet, their answer seems to imply that God is just in being a God that contradicts Himself. I do not believe it is logically proper to use Isa. 55:9 to justify internally contradictory theology. Isa. 55:9 can be used to explain some hard to understand theology (such as the Trinity and God creating the world and universe in 6 twenty four hour days), but not internally contradictory theology. In the case of man’s free will and God electing people before He created the world, it is wise to apply the mystery of “— My (God’s) ways (are) higher than your ways — from Isa. 55:9” to the question of “How can God foreknow those whom He can convince/persuade to make a free will decision to repent and accept His call/drawing — in the new testament era, that would be repent and accept Christ as their savior?” rather than to justify God being a God that is just in contradicting Himself. Also, I have met Christians that claim to believe in “inherent ability of man to repent and accept/believe or reject God’s call/drawing, instructions/teachings, commands, promises and gifts”, but they also are mentally confounded between the highly intellectual, scholarly, and academic syllogistic chain reasoning argument presented by strict TULIP and TUIP Calvinists and their own common sense logical reasoning ability that sees that the majority of the Bible and the communication style of God in the Bible reeks with an obvious implication of the inherent ability of man to accept/believe or reject what is being communicated to them from God; they also see the obvious contradiction. I like to call them baffled-free-willers. Again, in an effort to try to resolve the contradiction (but it really only somewhat masks the contradiction), these baffled-free-willers will also say that both the Calvinist’s total depravity concept and free will are both true; or from God’s perspective He unconditionally elects who will be saved and from man’s perspective it is a free will whosoever decision and that we can not understand it because “— My (God’s) ways (are) higher than your ways — from Isa. 55:9”. Again, to me, their answer seems to imply that God is justifying their internally contradictory theology and also justifying God being illogical (contradictory). The majority of Christian literature these baffled-free-willers read is written by non-Calvinists.

Instead of referring to these two types of baffled Christians as baffled-Calvinists and baffled-free-willers, they could also be referred to as [baffled Calvinistic leaning fence straddling contradictory door of heaven soteriological Christians] and [baffled free will leaning fence straddling contradictory door of heaven soteriological Christians]. Fence straddling contradictory door of heaven soteriology is the view that on God’s side of the door of heaven is written [no free will of man, unconditional election, unconditional predestination, and man unconditionally/irresistibly given a believing will/heart] and on man’s side of the door of heaven is written [whosoever of his own free will believes and accepts Christ as savior].

It is important that a person critically question the baffled-Calvinists and baffled-free-will Christians about their definition of free will because some of them are really compatibilist Christians which define free will of man as being restricted by the evil pole of his fallen nature (sinful or regenerate); and since they believe unregenerate man’s fallen nature has only a single pole of evil, which is sinful, unregenerate man can only choose sin, which means he can only reject Christ as his savior. Therefore, God has to perform a magical supernatural transformation (most often called regeneration by Calvinist’s) of an unsaved person’s will into a believing will that believes in Christ as his savior according to Calvinist soteriology. In Arminianism soteriology, God has to perform a magical supernatural transformation of an unsaved person’s will into a free will enabling the unsaved person to make a free will decision to either accept or reject Christ as his savior.

In the area of inherent-free-will and no-inherent-free-will of man, there is another type of Christian that I call “misled/uninformed-free-will-Christians”. These Christians will say they believe in the inherent-free-will of fallen mankind, but they will also say that an unsaved person must first be enabled or enlightened in order to be able to accept Christ as their savior. Many of these “misled/uninformed-free-will-Christians” conception for an unsaved person first being enabled or enlightened is in reality an initial type of regeneration (a supernatural transformation) where the unsaved person’s will/heart is supernaturally transformed by the Spirit of God into a will/heart (free will) that is then able to repent and accept Christ or reject Christ as their savior — which in reality, indicates that they are unknowingly affirming Calvinism’s idea of total depravity which means that fallen mankind does not have inherent-free-will capability to accept or reject God’s call/drawing, commands, instructions, promises and gifts (gifts like receiving salvation through a free will decision to accept by faith Christ as savior) — some Christians call this idea “Individualistic Prevenient Grace” instead of “Classical Universal Prevenient Grace” which according to Classical Arminianism is applied to all of fallen mankind sometime after the fall of Adam and Eve which by a supernatural transformation restored free will back to all of fallen mankind. Ironically, some of them also claim not to hold to Calvinism’s view of total depravity??? I have learned that I always need to question these types of Christians to find out what they actually mean by the words enabled and enlightened (enablement and enlightenment) to be able to accept Christ as their savior — because, some of them do not believe that first being enabled and enlightened to be able to accept Christ as their savior is a supernatural transformation of the will/heart, but is just the convicting/convincing/persuading teaching work of the Holy Spirit and the word of God.

P1– I refer to myself as an “inherent-free-willer”, which means I believe in the inherent ability of fallen mankind to accept/believe or reject God’s call/drawing/convicting/convincing/persuading teaching work using the creation, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:18-20; Rom. 10:8-17; 1Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12; Luke 8:21; Jn. 15:26, 16:13; 2 Thess. 2:13).

P2– I believe humans are born corrupted sinners [The old man (Rom. 6:6; Eph.4:22; Col. 3:9)] most likely having a spiritual bi-polar fallen nature, of good and evil, because of Adam’s and Eve’s sin, that is, fallen/corrupted/sinful mankind is now spiritually bipolar nature (one pole is good and the other evil) (Gen. 2:16-17; Gen. 3:1-7; Rom. 2:14-15, Rom. 7:15-25)], thus having two inherent internal driving forces pulling on man’s free will and also giving man inherent knowledge of good and evil. Because one of the poles is evil, the bi-polar fallen nature not only inclines man to do good but also inclines fallen man toward evil ensuring that people capable of moral decisions and acts will sin and not be able to live a consistent sinless life.

If just having knowledge of good and evil means/indicates that man is fallen and condemned, then why is not God’s nature also fallen and condemned because Gen. 3:22 states that man (Adam and Eve) has become like God knowing good and evil? However, the majority of Scripture indicates that God’s nature is pure good (holy, righteous and just); therefore, it is probably not just possession of mere knowledge of good and evil that indicates that Adam and Eve (mankind) are condemned and fallen since God already told Adam and Eve what was the good thing to do and what the evil thing to do was before they sinned by disobeying God’s instructions; therefore, because of Romans 2:15 and 7:23, I believe most likely it is an internal fallen corrupted bipolar nature (one pole is good and the other pole is evil), not a single poled fallen nature of evil, produced in Adam and Eve when they sinned by disobeying God’s command that condemns fallen mankind, and this fallen bipolar nature is what internally drives mankind to do good and evil (at the discretion of their free wills) and gives mankind an inherent internal knowledge of good and evil. Calvinist’s teach that fallen mankind has only an inherent single poled nature of evil that does not move/drive men and women to do good. This fallen bipolar nature (having a good pole and an evil pole) in fallen mankind would account for the inherent internal drive to do both good and evil and also give mankind inherent internal basic knowledge of good and evil after many generations later when mankind had lost all verbal and written records of information from God following the fall of man in the garden of Eden. Many Calvinists teaches that a person has to be indwelt first by the (Holy Spirit) (regenerated, born again) in order to have a will to do the good thing of believing in Christ as their savior. All Calvinists teach that man has to have God first perform an effective magical supernatural transformation of a person’s will into a believing will (even if they do not call it regeneration, born again) because they believe man’s internal single poled evil nature does not have a good pole that also internally drives man to do good, especially the good of making a free will decision to repent and accept Jesus as their savior.

In the book of Romans, God through Paul possibly gave evidence that mankind has a bipolar nature having two poles (one pole is good and the other pole is evil). In Rom. 2:15 the Holy Spirit states through the Apostle Paul that the gentiles have the law written in their hearts which I believe, most likely, is biblical evidence of the good spiritual pole of the bipolar nature of fallen mankind. In Rom. 7:23 the Holy Spirit has the Apostle Paul state that a law of sin dwells in his members which I believe, most likely, is biblical evidence of the evil spiritual pole of the bipolar nature of fallen mankind.

Therefore, I believe there is a high probability that humans are born corrupted bipolar sinners [The unsaved old man (Rom. 6:6; Eph.4:22; Col. 3:9)] having bipolar hearts/natures (“the heart is deceitful above all things….” – Jer. 17:9) with two spiritual poles (good and evil) because of Adam’s and Eve’s sin; that is, fallen/corrupted/sinful mankind has a spiritually bipolar nature, a good pole and an evil pole (Gen. 2:16-17; Gen. 3:1-7; Rom. 1:19, Rom. 2:14-15, Rom. 7:15-25) internally pulling on our free wills, rather than just externally pulling on our wills as took place with God’s external commands and instructions and the external temptation of the serpent that took place in the garden of Eden – thus, man knowing good and evil is the result of the fallen bipolar nature received when Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Because one pole of man’s bipolar fallen nature is evil, it inclines unsaved mankind and saved mankind towards sin and ensures that morally capable people will sin and not be able to live a perfect sinless life. The new man (born again person) is a Christian born again (indwelt by the Holy Spirit and should be willingly walking in/after the Spirit); that is, the new man has a good spiritual pole, an evil spiritual pole and the indwelling Holy Spirit all pulling on our wills and we should be (of his own free will) willingly walking in/after the Spirit (Eph. 3:16, Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; 2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 7:24-8:26; Gal. 5:16-25) in order to have higher success rate of more consistently living Godly lives.

Many Calvinists teaches that a person has to be indwelt first by the (Holy Spirit) (regenerated, born again) in order to have a will to do the good thing of believing in Christ as their savior. All Calvinists teach that man has to have God first perform an effective magical supernatural transformation of a person’s will into a believing will (even if they do not call it regeneration, born again) because they believe man’s internal single poled evil nature does not have a good pole that also internally drives man to do good, especially the good of making a free will decision to repent and accept Jesus as their savior.

When the early Christians concluded that fallen mankind had only a single poled fallen nature that was evil, the door was opened for pagan unconditional determinism and unconditional predestination to be easily injected into Christianity ultimately resulting in the development of an anemic puppeteering sovereign God concept and the TULIP soteriology.

P3– I believe that it makes no difference whether or not a person has free will to seek/grope for God (Rom. 1:18-20; Psa. 19:1-4; Acts 17:27) or to accept/believe His call/drawing/convicting/convincing/persuading (Jn. 3:16, 6:40; Heb. 4:12) the Bible says that no one can come to Christ unless the Father (who through His grace sent Christ) has granted (through His grace) him to be drawn (John 6:65,44). John 6:44 and John 6:65 do not teach that mankind does not have the inherent free will capability to accept or reject the drawing of God to accept/believe or reject Christ as their savior; they just indicate that God has to grant them the opportunity to be drawn. No person can come to Christ unless the Father who sent Christ draws him; and Christ will raise him up on the last day if they behold Christ and make a free will decision to believe in Him. The crowds, in Jesus’ day, hearing Jesus speak were being taught by God through the words of Christ (God’s words) {(which are spirit and life (John 6:63)} were granted the opportunity by the Father to come to Christ if they learned from Christ’s words (God’s words) and make a free will decision to believe His words; they are the foreknown ones that God foreknew he could convince to make a free will decision to believe in Christ that were given to Christ. God has granted to all of mankind (Jn 3:15-16; Jn 12:32; Rom 8:32; 1 Tim 1:15; Titus 3:4) to be drawn to Christ/God by the convicting/convincing/persuading work of the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit both taking advantage of man’s God given conscience and capability of seeing the evidence of a creator in creation (Rom. 1:18-20; Rom. 10:8-17; 1Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12; Luke 8:21; Jn. 15:26, 16:13; 2 Thess. 2:13). — which is God teaching and enlightening of men and women giving them the knowledge/information they need to know and (of their own free wìll) believe in order to be saved, that is, of their own free will accept/believe Christ/Jesus as their savior.

P4– I believe in the eternal security of true believers in Christ, which are born again having been sealed with the indwelling Holy Spirit after they made a free will decision to trust in Christ as their savior [the good soil believers (soil number 4 – Matt. 13:8&23; Mark 4:8&20)].

P5– I believe that God has elected before the beginning of the world those folk in the new testament era whom He foreknew whose free wills/hearts He could convince (the good soil number 4 – Matt. 13:8&23; Mark 4:8&20 folk) to truly, repent and accept/believe His call/drawing, instructions/teachings, commands, promises and gifts (such as, salvation by faith in Christ); and throughout the remainder of their earthly lives, God can convince to make free will decisions to repent after they have sinned – this convincing is done by God’s disciplining actions, God’s word and by conviction of the indwelling Holy Spirit in His children.

P6– I believe that God has elected before the beginning of the world those folk before the new testament era whom He foreknew whose free wills/hearts He could convince to repent and accept/believe His call/drawing, instructions/teachings, commands, promises and gifts; and throughout the remainder of their earthly lives, God can convince to make free will decisions to repent after they have sinned – this convincing is done by God’s disciplining actions and God’s word.

P7– I do not believe in the Calvinistic concepts of total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints.

P8– I do not believe in the internally contradictory theological statements such as:

1) [Total depravity (which says that man does not have free will capacity to accept or reject God’s call/drawing/convicting/convincing/persuading) and that man also has free will to accept or reject God’s call/drawing/convicting/convincing/persuading] are both true;

2) [Unconditional election (which is built on the foundation idea of (total depravity) that man does not have free will capacity to accept or reject God’s call/drawing/convicting/convincing/persuading) and that man also has free will to accept or reject God’s call/drawing/convicting/convincing/persuading] are both true;

3) In an effort to try to resolve the internal contradiction (but it really only somewhat masks the contradiction), statement 1 and 2 are often stated leaving out the explanations in parentheses as follows:

* Total depravity and man’s free will are both true.

* Unconditional election and man’s free will are both true.

4) Most often, in an effort to try to resolve the internal contradiction (but it really only somewhat masks the contradiction), statements 1 and 2 are often summarized in this statement:

* On God’s side of the door of heaven is written unconditionally elected & predestined and on man’s side of that door is written whosoever will — which I like to call fence straddling contradictory door of heaven soteriology.

* More accurately stated, fence straddling contradictory door of heaven soteriology is the view that on God’s side of the door of heaven is written [no free will of man, unconditional election, unconditional predestination, and man irresistibly given a believing will] and on man’s side of the door of heaven is written [whosoever of his own free will believes and accepts Christ as savior].

P9– I do not believe in the Calvinist definition of God’s sovereignty (which is a degraded view of God’s sovereignty), which states that for God to be sovereign man must not be allowed to have the inherent capacity of his will to make a free will decision to accept/believe or reject God’s

call/drawing/convicting/convincing/persuading, instructions/teachings, commands, promises and gifts.

1) I do not like to say that God’s sovereignty and free will of man are both true, because some folk know what the Calvinist definition of God’s sovereignty is, and that definition would make the statement contradictory. If the statement (That God’s sovereignty and free will of man are both true) is used, then that statement should be either be preceded or followed by a statement clearly defining God’s sovereignty, such as, God sovereignty created man with free will and allows man to have free will capacity to accept/believe His call/drawing/convicting/convincing/persuading, instructions/teachings, commands, promises and gifts. This will make sure that folk will not conclude that you believe in contradictory theology like what is common among pagan religions.

The churches that I have regularly attended, so far, in my Christian life are churches that were/are inhabited mostly by a mixture of “inherent-free-willers”, “baffled-Calvinists” or “baffled Calvinistic leaning fence straddling contradictory door of heaven soteriological Christians”, “baffled-free-willers” or “baffled free will leaning fence straddling contradictory door of heaven soteriological Christians”, “misled/uninformed-free-will-Christians” or “Individualistic Prevenient Grace free-will Christians” and “modified Arminians that believe in eternal security”. I have found that when the above non-Calvinist types of Christians make up the majority of the congregation they worship, minister and fellowship together without fighting over their differences in the area of free will of man; they just discuss their differences in the area of the free will of man. I believe the peaceful fellowship occurs because all these types have one thing in common in the area of the free will of man; that is, in the practical everyday world they believe in the free will of man to either accept/believe or reject God’s call/drawing communications to mankind; therefore, they all witness, teach and preach in a communication style (the same communication style God used in the Bible, God’s word to mankind) that implies that man has free will to either accept/believe or reject God’s call/drawing communications to mankind. However, I have found that when 4-point (TUIP) and 5-point (TULIP) Calvinist start making up a significant portion of the congregation (or make up a significant portion of the church leadership and teachers) trouble starts brewing in the congregation. I have observed that during the period of time that the 4-point and 5-point Calvinists make up a very small minority of the congregation, they try to hide their Calvinism by publicly making the following statements: (Total depravity and man’s free will are both true. — Unconditional election and man’s free will are both true. — Sovereignty of God and man’s free will are both true.)

Updated 01/15/2018 #26q_7

David C. Geminden

1 Response to DCG’s Thoughts on Calvinism (Baffled-Calvinists and Baffled-Free-Willers) And Free Will

  1. Pingback: Some of My Thoughts on Calvinism | Thoughts by DCG

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