What is Free Will?
by Matt Slick
Free will is the ability to make choices. There are debates as to what extent this free will is to be understood as it relates to people. There are two main views: campatibilism and libertarianism.
The compatibilist view is the position that a person's freedom is restricted by his nature as is described in Scripture. In other words, he can only choose what his nature (sinful or regenerate) will allow him to choose. Therefore, such verses as 1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 3:10-12; Rom. 6:14-20 are used to demonstrate that, for example, the unbeliever is incapable of choosing God of his own free will.
Libertarian free will says that the person's will is not restricted by his sinful nature and that he is still able to freely choose or accept God. Verses used to support this view are John 3:16 and 3:36. Two subdivisions of libertarian free will would be "open absolute free will" which says that man's choices are not knowable by God until they occur, and "non open absolute free will" which would state that God can know man's choices but he cannot determine them.
The biblical position is compatibilism. Since the Bible clearly teaches us that the unbeliever is restricted to making sinful choices (1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 3:10-12; Rom. 6:14-20) then we must conclude that anyone who believes in God (John 3:16; 3:36) does so because God has granted that he believe (Phil. 1:29), has caused him to be born again (1 Pet. 1:3), and chose him for salvation (2 Thess. 2:13).
All the cults and false religious systems teach the libertarian view of free will that salvation and spiritual understanding are completely within the grasp of sinners (in spite of their enslavement to and deadness in sin) and that salvation would be totally up to the ability of the individual to make such a choice.
One of the things we've been doing is developing videos. The newer generations are bombarded with images and we Christians need to adapt to their needs. So, we've been working hard to get them going. Take a look at the one to the right when you get a chance and let us know what you think. Its on Mormonism.
We hope to produce many more of these, hundreds, as a matter of fact on all sorts of topics. We are embedding the videos into the CARM articles as well. So far, people really like them.
Also, we want to produce hour long videos on topics and have them accompanied by workbooks for training purposes. But, that is in the future. Anyway, hope you enjoy the video.
What's Happening With CARM?
- New CARM Newsletter format - Notice that we have a video embedded. We'd like to include videos related to the newsletter, but that may not happen for a while since Ryan is returning back to N.C. and he does the video work in the office. So, I'll have to learn how to do it.
- Debate with Atheist Dan Barker - Matt Slick will be debating atheist Dan Barker on the evening of Saturday Sept. 26, 2009, in Portland Oregon. The topic isn't set yet. James White of aomin.org will also be debating Barker in the morning. Topic to be determined. More details to come.
- Debate with Atheist Edward Tabash - I was contacted this past week about a possible debate with Edward Tabash at Boise State University. I am very interested in this and have agreed to do it. No details yet.
- Videos - We are producing videos for Youtube and embedding them in CARM articles, see for example: http://www.carm.org/christianity/answers-seekers/how-do-i-become-christian. You can also check them out on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/user/carmvideos. Ryan was also adding videos to Tangle and MySpace. The goal is to produce hundreds of videos. If you have any suggestions for topics for us to cover, please let us know at [email protected].
- Prayer Support: If you would like to pray specifically for CARM, then please check out http://www.carm.org/christianity/prayer-ministry/carm-prayer-needs
- Feedback and Suggestions. If you've got feedback on the CARM site, ideas, anything, please contact us at [email protected]. We want to hear your ideas!
- WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! If you like what CARM does and want to support it, we have some options.
- Tax Lawyer - Well, its sometimes very difficult to maneuver through the intricacies of non profit do's and don't's. One thing I've learned... whatever anyone says, they're probably wrong and we have to pay money later to fix it. So, time for the big boys. Is there a tax lawyer out there who knows about non profit stuff and who'd be willing to help CARM out? Its expensive, I know, but we have got to bit the bullet on this. Contact us at [email protected]
- We need Drupal and programming help - We really need some help. We are looking for someone who knows Drupal. we have a development site that you could use to help out. This is a serious need. If you agree to the CARM Statement of Faith, please contact us at [email protected]. We are in desperate need of some technical help. If you want to help out, please consider this seriously. We get lots of people with good intentions and very few who follow through.
- We would like to implement Drupal's natural login registration feature and offer things like micro blogging, favorites, discounts, different theme options, etc. (We don't know how many hours this would take.)
- We would like to integrate the CARM registration log in ability later with the online schools, the shopping cart, etc.
- We want to implement a project donation page.
- We believe that the workman is worthy of his or her hire. If you want to volunteer, great. If you'd like to be paid, then please understand we don't have a lot, but we would be willing to pay someone fairly.
- Twitter - you can follow the CARM twitter stuff at https://twitter.com/carmorg. We post stuff throughout the day.
- Facebook - Hundreds of people are now friends on the CARM facebook. If you're interested, just go to http://www.facebook.com/carm.org
- HD camera suggestion - One of our cameras we use for video shooting isn't working right. The other still does fine, but it is taking a LOT of time to do videos. With tapes we have to record, rewind, play into the system, digitize, then modify before uploading. They tapes are about $30 a package and since we'll be doing hundreds of videos and we want to save time, we have begun looking for a Hard Drive based camera (that will cut our work time in about half) so we can upload directly from the camera's hard drive to the computer's hard drive. The camera needs to have high definition, audio in and audio out jacks, and a shoe. So, we are looking for recommendations from some of you experts out there on what would be a good camera to get. Right now, we don't have the money, but we can begin our research with your help. Also, since Ryan is going back to North Carolina, I'll be needing to shoot and edit videos here by myself, so I'll need something that is quicker and cheaper to work with. If you have any suggestions please email us at [email protected]
- Poll Software - We were using a free poll program online but it stopped working. Don't know why. Does anyone know of a good poll program that isn't too expensive, that we could install on our server?
- Radio Show - We want to have the Faith and Reason Radio show on different stations. So, we're asking for some suggestions in your area. Send them to [email protected]
From Ryan Turner
Well, quite a bit has happened in the last few weeks since the last newsletter. I spent Monday, June 22nd to Saturday, June 28th in Manti, Utah for the Mormon Miracle Pageant (or play). Manti is a small town of a few thousand people nestled in the middle of Utah. The town is made up of approximately 95% Mormon. During mid-June the Mormon Church puts on a large play (pageant) which recounts stories from the Book of Mormon and events in the early history of Mormonism during and shortly after the life of Joseph Smith. Interestingly, the play is an indirect slam on Christianity. The play begins with Joseph Smith talking to all of the various preachers in the New York area. Each one of the preachers gives Joseph Smith a different answer on how to be saved. As a result Joseph Smith goes into the woods and prays. He then is visited by the angel Moroni who tells him all of the churches are false and he is basically exhorted to restore the true gospel which has been lost from the earth. Then Mormonism starts, etc.
Interestingly, when the play recounts the history of events surrounding Joseph Smith, they are extremely dishonest. Nothing is said of the fact that Joseph Smith had at least 33 wives, his marriage to already married women, his marriage to young 14-16 year old girls. Anyhow, the purpose of the pageant is not to paint an accurate history of who Joseph Smith truly was nor the history of Mormonism in the early 19th century. The point of the pageant is to glorify Mormonism and promote the Church.
So...each night for about two weeks 10,000 Mormons show up to watch this play. However, these Mormons are greeted by about 150 Christians who are ready to engage the Mormons in discussion. I had the privilege of being able to share the gospel to several dozen Mormons during my week down in Manti.
Love and Hate Mail
- Hello Team, I wanted to take a minute to tell you how grateful I am that I have found your site. I just receive the visit of two young men that obviously love Jesus, they are from "the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
Day Saints." What sticks me is how they didn't right out came out and say they were Mormon. I have to say that the booklet they gave me "sounds" good, there is references to the Bible and a Christ Follower that isn't in
a deep relationship with Jesus can easily fall into the trap.
I had to go online and look it up and thanks to Jesus, I found you guys. I now have a better knowledge of their belief and feel better equip to answer them in love when they are back, because they are coming back. I am a little nervous, but I trust that God will show up and show them the truth.
If I can please ask you to join in prayer with me, that God will give me the words He wants me to tell them, I would much appreciate it.
Thank you for all you do for the Kingdom!! Your sister in Christ!
Good is good...All the time!!
- Hello, I just wanted to drop a line and thank you guys for your website and the clarity you bring to many verses and issues in the Bible. CARM is a great ministry outreach and has great information on it. I have been a believer since I was young, but just recently really came to the Lord and started following Him my last semester at college. The website is a great place for me to go to find a starting point for many answers I have about the Bible. All of you are in my prayers right now and I just want to lift all of you up for your tremendous work for our Savior Jesus Christ!
To God be the glory!
- Hi there CARM, I just want to thank our good Lord for your ministry. Here down in New Zealand Christadelphiansim is not really recognised, therefore remaining unknown to those who seek the truth. I myself signed up for one of their seminars 'Getting to know your Bible' for I had never have heard of them
Time and time again the spirit of discernment sifted out erroneous doctrines they were teaching, exactly everything on your site but this church was not upfront about it's teaching. So in front of the class I simply asked "Is Jesus God in the flesh?" and "Does Satan exist?" the teacher denied both and to the class's amazement people started firing questions with concern, for the teacher could not back it up with Scripture.
The Christadelphians reasoning was simply a lack of in depth study and alignment for the Scriptures, yet when I politely challenged the teacher he never once opened his Bible!!! So thank you! It is truly a blessing to
have a website that is truly Christian and that uses the armour of God (Eph 6:10-20) throughout it's research ministry.
God bless! Lagi from Auckland
P.S. I will now always check the statement of faith at any church I attend!
- Dear brother Matt! Your website has been a wonderful resource that has enriched and made me more strong in by belief of God. I am doing a regular study every day from your website. I have saved almost every webpage so that I can study when I don't have access to the Internet. I really enjoying looking through many
issues which has been a source of encouragement as well as foundation to be built up in Christ. Thank you very much for our hard work in bring up such a website. I also thank all the people who have participated and
contributed in bringing up stuff related to the defense of the faith. I will also be using these materials in teaching others--especially young adults.
- what you propose about witnesses appears to be absolutely preposterous. You say that J.w. are cult. Really? That's interresting becuase in the first century the apostles and followers of jesus were considered not to be
members of the regular christian church and were therefore labeled as a cult. Also, it is interesting to note, that during world war 2 during concentration camps, that along with the jews and gays and gypsies, jehovah's witnesses were also persecuted and imprisoned. But UNLIKE ANY OTHER PERSON IN THE CAMP, all they had to do was sign a peice of paper renouncing their religion and they would have been released. What a temptation. But they held fast and refused, and stayed in the camps. Let us also note that in the days of the bible, shadrach, meshach and abednego were told by king nebuchadnezzer that all they had to do was bow to the idol and they would be spared, but they did not and were thrown into the furnace,,,BUT THEY WERE NOT HARMED...it's interesting to see the similarities between ancient followers of the truth and modern day
I am NOT a jehovah's witness, but I do have problems with people who run their mouth when they don't know what they are talking about.
- Wicca is not use for ones interest if one only is interested in it cause they think that is what it is all about that then they should not even call them selves wiccan or a witch or whatever they call them selves. But they
are not wiccan. Why do you say wicca is the enemy we have done nothing to you. The things you say about wicca are mostly wroung.
Thank you for reading,
- I read your argument with the Shepard's Chapel, then I went and read their Statement of Faith and realized how you twisted the truth to win your cause. Be careful...you will be accountable. I am not a member of their
church, just found your site while doing a search which lead me to The Shepard's site....I guess I should say "thank you". It's a great find!
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