I have a high regard for John Calvin. I’m currently working through his Institutes for the second time. I also have my three volume works of Jacob Arminius sitting next to Calvin on my shelf. Arminius’ writings are dryer than Calvins’, but I love Arminius’ emphasis on Christian unity. His “On Reconciling Religious Dissensions among Christians” is a masterpiece and should be read and lived out by every Christian, especially pastors. I am absolutely convinced that both of these men were Christians who loved Jesus and are part of God’s family. I am also convinced that neither of these men were heretics. These guys had much more to say about the Christian faith than the topic of free will and predestination. It’s unfortunate that some people have made them into such one dimensional thinkers as if this was the only topic these two cared about. On the subject of free will and predestination I certainly side with Jacob Arminius. However, both Arminius and Calvin would acknowledge that much of this topic remains a mystery.
At the age of twenty-four I penned a little reflection on this topic that, sixteen years later, thousands of more pages read and hundreds of more hours thought, I pretty much come to the same conclusion. So, here is what I will call “freedestination”:
Did I choose God?
Or did God chose me?
Did God choose me because I chose him?
Or did I choose God because he chose me?
Did God enable me to choose?
Or did I have the ability to choose on my own?
Did God choose me to choose him?
Or did I choose for God to choose me?
Can everyone choose? (Limiting God to respond to our choice).
Or can only the elect choose? (Limiting us to not really choose at all, but only to act upon the choice of God).
Are we free when we are in Christ?
Yes…. No, in Christ we are slaves.
But were we not slaves to the world?
Yes…. No, in the world we were free.
Free to be a slave to it that is.
Now in Christ we are a slave to be free in him.
Slaves are free and the free are slaves.
If I am a slave I do not choose, but my master chooses for me.
But my master chooses that I be free to choose.
In freedom I choose to be a slave – giving my right to choose over to my master.
In slavery my master sets me free - giving the right to choose to me! I
choose to allow him to choose to allow me to choose.
How can it be that God has chosen the elect before the foundation of the world so that whoever chooses him should not die but have everlasting life?
He is God – that’s how.
His paths are beyond tracing out. Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor? (Romans 11:33-34).