"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.


    Community Websites

    Monergism Books on Facebook


    Latest Posts



    Ministry Links

  • « What is Reformed Theology? by R. C. Sproul (DVD series) | Main | Monergism Particular Redemption T-Shirt »

    Popular Definition of "Free Will" Self-Contradictory

    The following is a definition lifted from a Christian dictionary... with a short comment that follows..

    Free Will: The ability of an agent to make genuine choices that stem from the self. Libertarians argue that free will includes the power to determine the will itself, so that a person with free will can will more than one thing. Compatibilists typically view free will as the power to act in accordance with one's own will rather than being constrained by some external cause, allowing that the will itself may ultimately be causally determined by something beyond the self. Hard determinists deny the existence of free will altogether. Most Christian theologians agree that humans possess free will in some sense but disagree about what kind of freedom is necessary. The possession of free will does not entail an ability not to sin, since human freedom is shaped and limited by human character. Thus a human person may be free to choose among possibilities in some situations but still be unable to avoid all sin.1

    1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 46-47.


    Comment: Evans said, "The possession of free will does not entail an ability not to sin, since human freedom is shaped and limited by human character."

    This statement is contradictory. If the will must sin of necessity then it is in bondage to corruption, and that which is in bondage is not free. So we must ask, freedom from what? Freedom from coercion, yes, but not freedom from necessity (the necessity to sin in this case). So even the author of the definition himself rejects free will perhaps without even knowing it.

    Posted by John on June 1, 2010 02:42 PM


    Free will (which Arminians insist God gave us) necessitates not merely the capacity to choose but also having the right to choose. If man has free will, then he must necessarily have the right to choose whatever he wants and, therefore, God has no right to punish him for how he exercises that free will. Having the right to choose removes any culpability for choices made because it is presumed that God has given man the right to make those choices.

    That definition is messed up!!! The american dream loves it and takes much pride in it. It is self determining!
    If it means to freely use and choose from all which has been given us, than i would agree to some moment of time and extent. I have legs and so freely choose to walk with them. But they have been given me and i also have a desire to use them to walk for my convenience.
    If we have been given to do good, than we have free will to do good (most of the time if something doesn't stop us from doing so). But still it has been given us and is of our desire or will to do!

    I think he is tryng to say or claim that god has set the laws and now is not in any of them and so we must choose how we live and obey as to reaping what we sow within these set laws. That Gods hand is no long in the laws he set up long ago. That free will is one of the gifts given us by god.

    It does not work in any way that is of truth and justice though. It seems to me that it (free-will) is here meant to be believed in ignorance of its contradictions and injustices. Like a religious dogma we wish to believe is true. That it is somehow comfortable to think of as truth yet it doesn't make any sense. I can't make any sense of it in real life!
    Human freedom is one thing and human will is yet another. Human freedom to will is true! We all have that freedom to will or even to choose that which we will. But to have what we will by our freedom to choose does not always come to be true! We are not god! This seems to be talking about this worlds laws of reaping what we sow (going to jail or not), which requires our will and freedom of choice to obey the law. Even that is not true!
    Its messed up or my head is so very messed up here! I choose to live and not die but my will cannot do it or make it happen!
    I think this is an American definition of our lives in this country hoping the law always works and we are healthy and without any sin which causes bad consequences. Than we are free to choose how we live.

    Maybe what this guy is saying is that if we freely choose to eat of the tree of life, than we will not have to pay the consequences of our sin. That here we are free to will and God will give it to us to eat of if we choose. Of course, we would have to believe that christ died for our sin. Why else would god give us this tree again.
    I can only see this from having gained the knowledge of good and evil so be as god. That here we desire our will to be free in our own accordance!
    Why this term is given, is strange unless applied to the american life and democracy which is pure - and that doesn't work either when we see the truth behind it for it is not pure or true as we think and want to believe. That we choose only that which serves us in someway in our life and its desires we want fulfilled should someone else not get in our way.
    Character is not the deciding factor in our will in its freedom to choose!
    The central truth comes at the fall when we became as god. Everything flows from there according to our freedom of will to choose good and evil. We are the problem! Free will is our demand of god!

    Now i said too much here not knowing why this is such an issue today except that we can't always see gods hand in all things.

    "Libertarians argue that free will includes the power to determine the will itself,"

    Does a person have another will that has the power to determine the "will itself"? What about that will - does it have the power to "reprogram" itself, to change its own values - as it wills? - or is there yet another will that has power over it?

    Soli Deo Gloria

    Dave Leonard

    As I look back on my life, I find that my free will and choice had nothing to do to make me a christian. That in fact, it seemed that all worked against my free will as it tore me from the world where all claim and promote "free will" and right choice's. The christian life always seemed to work against my will! I didn't will these many things to happen and would not want any of them to happen had i been able to choose my own way!

    As I now see what I use to do, I am now more shocked at the person I used to be than of the things themselves. That person was not someone I am now proud of but now, horrified to see that is was me who was like that. I never chose to be a christian or even to use my "free will" to accept Christ so to be justified. I did come to the end of myself in a great way knowing my heart was without any good and that i was ever so lost as to know the way to God. However, when i heard the gospel I was unbelievably ecstatic and over joyed that it could be true! How could God be so good to me, to us and do this great thing in Christ?

    My point here is that an enormous change began which i would never have chosen to happen as it did. It was as if something far greater brought about all the many things in and around me so to cause me to look at chirst as I picked up my cross in the midst of many hardships, many losses, and many tears, through heart felt convulsions who than began to loathe even myself as i began to hate sin in me and by me, all as I was being drawn to the gospel and its marvelous truth.
    All did not originate nor happen by my consent or in my "free will" except that I knew somehow, to look to christ along the way with joy and hope.

    If we cannot see what we once use to be, than I rejoice for you, that you were not the sinner I was. But are we not all born into the same mold as are all and so must all be born again no matter how good we were?
    Free will (to me) is nothing but the natural excuse in pride to say, we are justified by our good works and have no need of inner transformation, as we were never such sinners as those others who have not accepted Christ. That our acts of sin had stopped and we have no more need of further changes inside us. That we need not pick up our cross and follow Christ further as we have already arrived by our free will and choice. Our works re just fine, if we do them for God. Oh how good we are!
    I am the chief of sinners! I had such righteousness and hated others injustices of which I would not do to any. I found out differently! I could never have chosen freely by my will for i could not see anything of such horror in me!
    To the very good man, "You must be born again"! PERIOD!!!! Drop your free willing!! Fall!!! Quit free willing your life to a future shocker! Join me, a sinner always in need of grace and transformation by He who does all things and complete all he has begun and so authors our lives, Jesus the Christ.
    Love one another as I have loved you!

    to Bruce, Amen, and I say again,Amen!!

    "He who ascribes to himself more understanding than this, is the blinder for not acknowledging his blindness."
    I feel guilty here for getting to the point as though it can make people hear second to last above).
    I know none can see but that god reveal or give them sight to see. Why than did i ask of others to repent though blind? Why did i not simply ask that they know gods grace or the gospel? I don't know but it seemed so very clear to me at the time I wrote what i wrote! I really am being humbled ever so greatly! Now i see how it is we are to wait upon the lord and do only that which is of human understanding in so much as the blind can understand.
    Do not fall as i said but do repent and know grace from above!

    The first response comment posted above by Chancellor Roberts is news to me as a Wesleyan/Arminian Christian. Neither Wesley nor Arminius ever said any such thing. The only free will given to humans is the ability to reject God due to our totally depraved nature.
    One difference we have with our Reformed/Calvinist brothers and sisters in Christ is that we believe that the grace of God unto salvation is extended to every human and when God's grace is extended to us we can cooperate with that His grace or we can reject His grace which will result in the damnation of the soul. Now, even the mere "cooperation" with the grace of God is only made possible by the grace of God itself and there is no merit in the individual himself and no ability for a human to redeem himself apart from God's grace.
    Finally, "Having the right to choose removes any culpability for choices made" as stated above is pure unadulterated fiction both from the Biblical writings and the writings of Wesley and Arminius.
    We know as well as you do that it is "Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us!"
    Please, please, please. Let us not set up straw men in order to easily knock them down and thereby puff ourselves up! The world just loves to see divisions in the Body of Christ. Let us love one another and this will be a great witness to a world devoid of the love of God. PTL!

    hey i choose to become a christian so i guess free will came into it but i was definatly pushed to become part of the church i mean it wasnt all concious decisions

    Will is the capacity to choose and is something all humans have. Free will is the right to choose, which no one has.

    Post a comment

    Please enter the letter "o" in the field below: