A Question I Was Asked:

Does Our 'Freewill' Mean That We Can Resist God's Call?

Here is the question:

'I am a little disturbed. I just heard a statement from my pastor that is bothering me to the core.

He said, "God is the only one with free will, we do not have free will by the way." It was a passing statement in the middle of a discussion about faith. I have not had the chance to ask him about it, and I can not get it off of my mind. Is it possible that I am taking this out of context? This pastor is as fundemental "Bible" based teacher as I have ever come across.'

My Reply:

Okay. Let us clarify this matter. Do we have 'freewill (or, 'free will'), and if so, can we therefore resist God's elective call to us?

The Holy Scriptures are clear that God has given us freewill and that we have been given genuine choices and, in fact, we are frequently advised to make the correct choices. Of course, it is perfectly true that God already knows the end of all things but we need to be careful and ensure that we also state that our decisions in this life are completely meaningful (not already decided!). The Bible constantly stresses that our decisions and choices in this life are meaningful! I am sure your pastor is a very good guy and means well but there is a very very simple way in which we can see that God has truly given us freewill, or 'free will' if you prefer. There is evil and suffering in this world as a result of decisions taken by Adam and Eve because God gave them freewill. If we deny that, then God Himself caused the pain and suffering in this world. It is actually essential that we recognise that mankind has been given freewill - as even Calvin insisted that we must recognise. And Here is an article which considers this matter:

Are Our Choices In This Life Meaningful?

However (and this is a pretty big “however”), I need to point out that some theologians have used the topic of 'freewill' entirely differently. They apply it to our calling as believers and some of these people, of an Arminian frame of mind, insist that when God calls us - that is, gives us an 'elective call' - we may decide to resist that call and we may resist it because of our "freewill" - but that is an entirely unbiblical sense of 'freewill' - numerous Scriptures show that God's elective call cannot be resisted. So it is just possible that your minister was discussing this sense of 'freewill' and (in that case) it would be quite accurate to say that when God calls us we become subject to His irresistible grace.

Here are some articles which show that God's grace cannot be resisted (which is the biblical position):

Can the Elect Be Deceived, Or Not?

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Hope that this clarifies things for you a bit.

Robin A. Brace, 2006.