Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What God's grace has not freed will not be free

Calvin's Institutes
Book Two - The Knowledge of God the Redeemer in Christ
Chapter Two - Man deprived of freedom of choice & bound in servitude
Sections 4-5 - Free will in the church fathers
Section 4 - They aren't clear, but tend to give men more credit than his will deserves.
Free will is the power to choose good with grace - to choose evil without grace
Section 5 - Different kinds of "will" and of "freedom" in the fathers
We are free from necessity, but not from sin and misery
Section 6 - Operating and co-operating grace?
Scholastics try to insert a cooperating grace, to give some merit to our desire for good - but we have no such desire or merit.
Section 7 - Man is necessarily, but without compulsion, a sinner.
This does not establish free will.
We don't have to choose evil; we just always want to.
Call it freedom if you like!
Section 8 - Augustine's doctrine of "free will"
Our will is overcome by sinful desires.
Without God's grace we are not free - 2 Cor 3.17; John 15:5.
Section 9 - Voices of truth among the church fathers
They spoke variously, but consistently downplayed our will and magnified God's grace.

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