Thursday, June 11, 2009

"i" is for irresistible

For those kind souls who want to know how I am doing since my recent surgery: I'm doing okay and getting better. The gall bladder removal was quick and recovery was quite normal. But we are still trying to get my blood pressure under control. I get tired a lot and still have pains in my neck and frequent (mild) headaches. But as I said, I'm getting better; I can mow the lawn now without the fear of tearing things up inside.

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I heard this on the radio:
"We have a free will. If we were forced to love him (God), it wouldn't be love." --Chuck Colson

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First, let me say that I have a great respect and admiration for Chuck Colson. His efforts to help the incarcerated, and society-in-general are noble. Wisdom abounds in his public discourses concerning the matter of "world view." But politely and respectfully, I believe the above quote reveals a common theological error and is biblically unsubstantiated.

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When it comes to "free will," R.C. Sproul explains it well. I paraphrase: We are free to choose anything we want; the problem is that we are incapable of wanting God (on account of our natural/fallen state).

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Since the unredeemed are dead in their transgressions, the Holy Spirit must first quicken a person, and only then he or she is able to appreciate and respond to the irresistible grace of God. It is a mistake to call that "forcing his love" ...it is grace.

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The apostle Paul was on the Damascus road looking to persecute Christians when the Lord apparently "violated" his free will. That sounds silly, doesn't it? Don't worry; nobody will be dragged into heaven kicking and screaming.

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Imagine that a lifeboat approached a drowning person from the Titanic. We would not say that the rescuer is forcing life upon those he reaches out to. Those who were grabbed from the dark and icy deeps would be grateful for having been rescued.

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Neither would we imply anything evil of the rescuer on account of those who were not plucked from a watery grave. (That is double-predestination.)

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If we pressed the illustration to be more accurate, we'd say that the lifeboat pulled an already dead body from the water and resurrected the victim to life. Is that "forcing" life upon a dead person?

11 comments:

Denise said...

So happy to hear you are feeling a lot better. When I heard you were mowing the lawn I thought now that's a good sign, but please don't try to overdo things. Very bossy of me I know and please forgive me for my bossiness :) Interesting post and that photo was a beauty.

Shammickite said...

Good to know you're mending well, and that the lawn isn't suffereing from lack of attention.

Craver Vii said...

So nice of you do drop by and leave a comment, Denise. Bossiness forgiven. :) The folks around me have been helping me to be careful; thanks.

Interesting?? I welcome your thoughts regarding any post... Even if they do not agree with what I've written.

Oh Shammy, I think you know my heart for the front lawn. It is presently in need of a feeding.

Denise said...

Back again. I'm sorry, didn't mean to sound like the word 'interesting' was a negative. I truly meant that you article was interesting. Also I had to go away and dare I admit it, find out who Chuck Colson was. One thing I love about blogging is that it gets the old brain cells moving and I learn. I am the type of person who needs to go over these discussions very thoroughly before it will sink in and so I cut and paste your post on a word document - hope that's okay - so that I can read it a few times before being able to make an intelligent comment. That's just me :) I like to read these kinds of post also because my mind is always open and I like to get all points of view, so yes, I found this post very interesting and when I get a quiet moment I will be back :) A bit busy right now because our son is getting married in two weeks and we're expecting a LOT of company. I am spring cleaning like a crazy woman but I have to keep checking in with the blogging world just because I love to read posts like this one :)))

Brother Greg said...

The idea of God's sovereignty rails against the western, American mind; that we are not the masters of our own destiny. While 'Christians' would pretty universally agree, in word, that God is sovereign, to really believe it, unfortunately, seems to be another matter. Good post, poster boy!

L.L. Barkat said...

Not sure if I should congratulate you on being able to mow the lawn. But definitely joyful about your recovery.

fishing guy said...

Craver: So glad you are improving after the operation. The body is such a complicated thing and yet healing will take place.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the comment of Colson.

donsands said...

Nice post Craver.

Chuck Colson is a fine Christian. I thought he was reformed?

You are right. We are dead in our sins. God has to "quicken" us, or revive us with his mercy and Spirit.

Why does God make a rebel His child? Because He has set his love upon him.
Why does god love us rebels?
I don't believe we'll ever know that, even in glory.

What a God and Savior we ex-rebels, and now heirs, have!

Oh. here's a link to try bro. let me know what you think: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRQdn5c8tQ0

Every Square Inch said...

Craver - glad you're doing better. I'm always wary about making final conclusions about a persons theology just on a single quote so I'll hold of any judgment on what Colson believes.

Rather I prefer to marvel that God can compel us to love Him, yet preserve the authenticity of that love. The beautiful irony of the gospel is that it is His compulsion to make us love Him that is the greatest expression of His love for us

mommanator said...

very thoughtful writing, thanks

Craver Vii said...

Congratulations to your family, Denise. I hope the wedding plans go smoothly for you. Chuck Colson is really neat. Talk about interesting... you should hear his life's story.

We are birds of a feather, Brother Greg.

Congratulations would be fine with me, L.L. but your joy will satisfy just as well.

You are so right about the body's complexity, Fishing Guy. I marvel at how fearfully and wonderfully we have been created.

Based on the daily Breaking Point broadcasts, I would guess that he is not reformed, but he is a fine Christian who's life is a strong testimony for the Lord. I have a lot of respect for him.

I am glad you left that comment here, ESI. Looking back, I wish I had phrased it in a way that was more consistent with critiquing the phrase rather than lumping this esteemed brother in a camp of theological error.

I'm always blessed when you visit, Mommanator.