This debate is well worth viewing.
The argument from Calvinism states:
“any claim that we make for the explanation as to why we are saved, be it good works, wise decision-making, or persistent perseverance under trial, would result in our “taking credit” for our own salvation and thus render grace meaningless.”
Paul argued that Abraham believed God and that it was that belief that was accounted to him as righteousness. So belief was a requirement from God for the choosing of Abraham.
Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: (KJV)
Is choice not inherently offered in the Gospel? The choice is to believe.
Everything necessary for salvation is provided freely by God. That is the good news (the gospel). Everything includes even faith. But faith freely given is not faith applied. Calvinism declares that we have no choice. But Jesus states no king goes into battle without contemplating the cost. His implication unlike Calvinism is that we must first consider the cost.
27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Luke 14:27,31 NASB
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (KJV)
The will of the flesh is opposed to the Spirit. Paul speaks of this struggle presented when the law came. The Gospel presents the solution and provides us with the power to become what we could not do without it. This power is given to those who believe. Those who believe are born not of the will of the flesh but of God.
As Nicodemus said we cannot enter again into our mother’s womb. Neither can we rebirth ourselves spiritually. This rebirth is totally and completely from God nothing from us. So our question must be — does God cause us to believe against our will in order that we receive this new birth, or does He use the Gospel to offer us the chance to believe if we so chose?
Does it make sense that God would put Himself and Jesus through the agony of the cross if He intended to save us no matter what we thought about the situation? And if our individual salvation was predetermined by Him; then would the cross really be necessary to appease Himself, when He already knew the final outcome which He alone intended without any response from us at all.
Doesn’t free will and the need for our considering the cost and then committing to what we believe make Christ’s suffering on the cross meaningful. It doesn’t take an all powerful God to create robots, man is doing that every day. But it does require an all powerful God to give man free will, and still be able to know the end of man’s exercise of his will even from the beginning. His knowing the end from the beginning when we are free to choose for ourselves is an act that only the omnipotent God can perform.
Paul tells us to be reconciled to God.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 NASB
How would it be possible for us to be reconciled if this is all Gods doing? Belief is the only way that we can answer this call. And unbelief is the only way that God will reject us if we don’t.
Free will is a defense of a Holy God, without free will total predestination exists, and God creates evil man and preordained his sin in order to redeem some, but not all, yet He wishes that all might be saved or redeemed.
Calvinism argues that with me as an Armenian my will must precede God’s Grace. It is said:
“It must be argued by a free will advocate that free will does precede God’s will for my salvation.” Is this true? They say:
“Grace is contingent upon man’s decision.” Never, God has provided the way of escape for every man. Grace is available to choose or not.
Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright is to turn away from evil; the one who guards his way safeguards his life. (NET)
We are told that “The big question on this debate is — is there one verse that tells me you can come to Christ. Not that you should, but that you can? You must decide this answer.
We are told that to believe in free will denies the sovereignty and omnipotence of Almighty God.
That God foreknew and carried out everything according to His foreknowledge.
But the best answer that I have heard to this is that there is nothing impressive or powerful about foreknowing your own determinations. It is much more representative of an all powerful God to understand that He knows the end from the beginning even though man has disobeyed and gone his own way. There is no being Greater than God.
Deuteronomy 30:19b. therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: (KJV). Choose you do have a choice.