Thursday, March 19, 2009

Free Agency?

2 Nephi 2:26
“And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from Evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments with God hath given.
27 wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediator of all me or to choose captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the Devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. “
Now come on. Jesus didn’t do anything for me according to this. He just made it possible for me to work for my salvation by choosing the good, exercising “free agency” for good. Or if I want I can choose to be captive to the devil. I’m tempted to just quote Ephesians chapter 2 and call it good. This just doesn’t square with biblical teaching at all. It squares with what people would like to believe about themselves. But it isn’t what the Bible teaches about us, that we are conceived in sin. Psalm 51:5 (ESV)
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me. “
Far from being free the Bible teaches that we are dead until we are given the life that is faith in Jesus Christ. Ephes. 2:1-10 (ESV)
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
[2] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— [3] among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. [4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— [6] and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [7] so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. “
No picture of free agency here. Rather we are dead and made alive. We are acted upon. And not only are we acted upon in conversion, but throughout the life of faith. It is God that prepares the good works we walk in. We are raised up. God raises us up. He saves us. He doesn’t merely make it possible for us to save ourselves. Again, what Joseph gives with his right he takes back with his left. It is an awful sick perverse doctrine. Unfortunately it was probably nothing more than the product of what he heard at a few revivals growing up, salvation by works, and free will, re-termed free agency. That’s right. Most Trinitarian Christians today are just as messed up when it comes to the doctrine of salvation.


Steve Martin said...

Man o man have you got that right!

Many Evangelicals are right on board with the Mormons on this pernious doctrine which leads people right back to the bondage of their own idolatrous will.

I fthe Mormons believe so stongly in know it's got to be wrong.

Brigitte said...

I have to admit, something in me does not always totally "get it" when we rant against "decision theology".

I DO get it, when I want to pray and address God and when I want to go to communion. I have no right to ask anything, no right to approach, no right to receive anything, no right to pray anything, even a "sinner's prayer". Only, only, ONLY, because He called, he did, he does, he promised, he wants it, he draws. Really, I should be left out in the cold. But not so. He does not want it. (Thank God)

Bror Erickson said...

Yes Brigitte,
Decision theology looks innocent on the surface. However in the end it puts salvation back on the believer, and his decision, his promise to God. Then he is in constant jeopordy, always wondering if he did enough, if he really meant it, if he has kept his promises, or does he really believe. And there is a sense in which there is this question "Do I believe" Do I really believe" and it becomes a vicious circle. When in fact the Gospel is true whether you believe it or not. It doesn't really matter if you believe Christ died for your sins, the fact is he did. Faith only latches on to this and receives the blessings of this.

Brigitte said...

"Do I believe" Do I really believe" and it becomes a vicious circle.

In understand that. We don't believe in faith per se, and we don't believe in any decision. I understand well how you can drive yourself nuts.

"It doesn't really matter if you believe Christ died for your sins, the fact is he did."

That's very good.