A Jagged Contention: Free Will Is Death

“The problem the world has with preachers is that they not only give strange and culturally local ideas like an after-dinner speaker might, but they proceed to elect sinners, which is to say they remove the free will. The do this categorically, that means, not hypothetically and completely without any condition. Giving Christ sucks the air out for anything else, especially the free will. But is not the free will what religion is supposed to uphold? No. Free will is a synonym for death, since whatever it is, it is demonstrably not the person of Jesus Christ. Christ is life, and what is not life is death. Preachers destroy the myth of the free will, which has become the ultimate hope, and this surgical removal is precisely why no one can hear them.”

-Steven D. Paulson, Categorical Preaching in Justification is for Preaching, ed. Virgil Thompson, pg. 128.


Why do you think people hold so tightly to the idea that religion is supposed to promote the free will? What does it look like to have a preacher elect sinners and destroy free will? What dangers result from preaching to engage the free will as opposed to delivering Christ?


4 thoughts on “A Jagged Contention: Free Will Is Death

  1. The danger in preaching to the “free will” is that it perpetuates the illusion that the will is free. Also, depending on the delivery force of the preacher to get his hearers to make a “decision,” it borders on being cruel and maybe even abusive.


    1. Unregenerate men are always free to chose evil, and they are even free to chose civil good, but they are never able to do the good works that God requires. God requires that our good works are done from a perfectly pure heart, and we can never fulfill this requirement because of the fall of mankind into sin and the corrupt nature that we inherit.

      This is why it is necessary for God to come from the outside and to convert our wills that we might believe the gospel and be saved.

      Regenerate men, those who have been saved by grace, are capable of obeying God, but always in a weak, imperfect and fallen way. Thus, God must forgive even regenerate Christians from their best works.


  2. If someone points me to my “free will” it seems pretty similar to pointing me to myself. I am pretty sure if I look at myself it will eventually lead to one of two horrible ends: delusional, false pride or terrifying despair. Preaching and pointing to Christ alone leads to true freedom.

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