Today I would like to review the above Meme that has recently come across my feed. For those who don’t know, Seventh-Day Adventists are about as Arminian as you can get. To my knowledge all of the christian cults are which should tell you something right there.
Usually when people debate free will they do so in a broad philosophical sense. Since God knows everything and chose to create the universe with said knowledge, then logically he knew every decision that would ever be made, so did you really choose which color socks to wear this morning anyways?
While such questions are entertaining to ponder we should keep philosophy in it’s proper place, in service to the word, not interpreting it. Scripture doesn’t address such things. What is addressed though is matters of will as it pertains to salvation, and that is what is relevant. Honestly, when it comes to theology it doesn’t matter who ultimately decided which socks you were going to wear this morning. What matters is whether or not you are going to heaven or hell when you die.
Another Armchair Theologian author by the name of Baptized1985 wrote an excellent post on original sin which you can find HERE. To summarize though, because of Adam’s sin you cannot do anything spiritually good. This includes making decisions for Jesus.
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Psalms 51:5 NASB
“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:3 NASB
“because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,” Romans 8:7 NASB
Notice above that in an unregenerate state your flesh is “not even able” to be anything less than hostile to God. This is what you are dealing with when you are speaking to an unbeliever. You don’t have the power to overcome this depravity, only God does. These people need to hear the Word of God (Rom 10:17) and be given faith (Eph 2:8). Decision moments may come later as a “good work” if you want to call it that.
I have reviewed Arminian proof-texts carefully. It’s not like they don’t have Bibles too. The error they make though is they tend to use narrative verses that are being spoken to people that have already received faith as a gift from God, and are thus irrelevant to the issue entirely. I’ll write a post specifically on this one of these days.
Growing up in Adventism I have been to my fair share of altar calls. I also have been a part of them when visiting other churches with friends or family, or when attending a harvest festival down at angels stadium. They even had one at my public high school once. I remember each time I would try to work up the courage to be the first one to walk down, I could never seem to do it. Because of this I always doubted whether or not my decision for Jesus was real or just a result of peer pressure.
That may not be the problem for everyone, but at the core of decision theology that is the real issue. On some level your salvation is up to you. God comes a certain distance and you have to cross the rest. Some may preach that shorter than others but in a decision paradigm everyone presents something that the hearer must do to help Jesus save them.
If these are new concepts for you check out my older posts on the Gospel and Justification. Notice that it is Jesus who comes to us and saves us. We look to him for our assurance not to ourselves. This is what Lutherans call a “Christ Centered” approach to salvation theology. So obviously, I think the meme is spot on. Two thumbs up!