A Synergist Mistakenly says 'Amen' to Spurgeon
Is the Spirit's work of irresistible grace (John 6:63, 65, 37) a matter of forcing someone to believe? And must love be freely chosen to be genuine? This related Spurgeon quote comes from his sermon entitled "Human Inability" with an interesting short discussion with an Arminian which follows...
Spurgeon once said, "Oh!" saith the Arminian, "men may be saved if they will." We reply, "My dear sir, we all believe that; but it is just the if they will that is the difficulty. We assert that no man will come to Christ unless he be drawn; nay, we do not assert it, but Christ himself declares it--"Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life;' and as long as that "ye will not come' stands on record in Holy Scripture, we shall not be brought to believe in any doctrine of the freedom of the human will." It is strange how people, when talking about free-will, talk of things which they do not at all understand. "Now," says one, "I believe men can be saved if they will." My dear sir, that is not the question at all. The question is, are men ever found naturally willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ? We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful. supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ. You reply, that men sometimes are willing, without the help of the Holy Spirit. I answer--Did you ever meet with any person who was? Scores and hundreds, nay, thousands of Christians have I conversed with, of different opinions, young and old, but it has never been my lot to meet with one who could affirm that he came to Christ of himself, without being drawn. The universal confession of all true believers is this--"I know that unless Jesus Christ had sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God, I would to this very hour have been wandering far from him, at a distance from him, and loving that distance well." With common consent, all believers affirm the truth, that men will not come to Christ till the Father who hath sent Christ doth draw them.
Visitor: arminians say amen to this.
Response: Not exactly... while Arminians do believe in the necessity prevenient grace, but they would reject Spurgeon's calling the Holy Spirit's influence "irresistible" ... meaning they would reject that Christ provided EVERYTHING we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe. Arminians as well as all synergists affirm that the saving work of the Spirit is ultimately resistible or ineffectual and that faith springs as a choice generated from our unregenerated human nature. But Christ says "the Spirit quickens and the flesh counts for nothing" (John 6:63). That means our flesh or unregenerate nature does not and cannot have faith.. Only as God grants it do we have faith (John 6:65) and ALL TO WHOM HE GRANTS HAVE IT (John 6:37)
Visitor: Sorry, I missed the irresistible word- Of course you are right regarding Arminians, we believe that God will not force a person to believe. Even though His desire is that all men should repent He will not force them. Thank you for pointing this out.
Response: If a toddler disobeyed and ran out into the street into oncoming traffic, which parent shows love to their child? The one who stands at the edge and calls out for their child to get out of the way and does nothing more? ( i.e. requires them to meet a condition or else they would not lift another finger to help?) Or the parent who, regardless of what the child wants at the moment, runs out into the street at the risk of his own life, scoops up the child and makes certain their child is safe?
In every day life we consider the first parent selfish and the second to be showing love. Yet the second parent could be accused of forcing the child. How is it love then? BECAUSE we understand that parents know better than their children what is good for them.
So in the end, the Arminian conception of only loving if one meets a condition is really not love at all. What kind of parent would force a child to meet a condition before he would help him save his life. How much more God? So the arminian idea of love is simply bunk. Not only is it unbiblical, but in every day life we would never think of love in such terms.
When God gave you physical life, was he forcing you to be born? He gave you eyes to see, ears to hear? Given your logic giving you physical birth, a body, eyes, ears and the like would also be force and therefore unloving. You see, such a view like yours, makes no sense at all. When God gives us NEW eyes to I do not believe it would be accurate to call this force, it is mercy.