Parchment and Pen writes on the issue of “free will” and the problem one might have with the view that the will is essentially neutralized. What do you believe about free will?
Below is an excerpt. Click here to read the whole post.
There are many words and concepts in theology that suffer from misunderstanding, mis-characterization, and misinformation. “Predestination,” “Calvinism,” “Total Depravity,” “Inerrancy,” and “Complementarianism”, just to name a few that I personally have to deal with. Proponents are more often than not on the defensive, having to explain again and again why it is they don’t mean what people think they mean.
The concept of “free will” suffers no less with regard to this misunderstanding. Does a person have free will? Well, what do you mean by “free will”? This must always be asked.
Do you mean:
- That a person is not forced from the outside to make a choice?
- That a person is responsible for his or her choices?
- That a person is the active agent in a choice made?
- That a person is free to do whatever they desire?
- That a person has the ability to choose contrary to their nature (who they are)?
Calvinists, such as myself, do believe in free will and we don’t believe in free will. It just depends on what you mean.
When it comes to the first four options, most Calvinist would agree that a person is not forced to make a choice, is responsible for their choices, and is the active agent behind those choices. They would reject the forth believing that a person is not free to do whatever they desire. In fact, no matter what theological persuasion you adhere to, historic Christianity agrees on the first four. This is very important to realize. It is with the fifth option there is disagreement.