Ever have questions about how some Christians believe that we do not have free will and that God is the one who calls people to become Christian? In the 1600s, Martin Luther wrote a book called The Bondage of the Will in which he describes the Bible’s teaching on our inability to choose salvation for ourselves.
In this excellent presentation by Dr. Rod Rosenbladt (White Horse Inn), he addresses concerns that are often raised about the bondage of the will:
- Do I have any choices I can make?
- Is there no point, then to evangelism and doing good?
- I thought that I needed to have faith in Christ and repent, that sounds like something that I do on my own.
- Where does the Bible say that I have no ability to choose God?
If you read only one book of the Bible this year, make it the book of Galatians. Contained therein is the Apostle Paul’s admonishment of the church in what is now Turkey because of their errors in presenting a gospel that is not consistent with the message of Jesus Christ.
The people of the church were concerned because many believed that in order to become a Christian you first must become a Jew and follow all of their laws. Yet with amazing brevity Paul lays out the whole of Biblical history, God’s laws, and God’s ultimate plan for salvation in a way that makes it exceedingly clear that it is not what we do, but it is the atoning work of Christ that accomplished that work for us.
It is often curious to people why I would wish to engage in dialogue with atheists, especially when I emphasize that my intention is in no way to convert or subject them to Christianity. It comes at even a greater curiosity on both sides of the table for me to suggest that these conversations help me to actually strengthen and enrich my own belief. In reading the book Christless Christianity by Dr. Michael Horton of the White Horse Inn radio/podcast, I ran across a few passages that may begin to help answer that question:
The search for the sacred has become a recurring cover story for national news magazines for some time now. Although this search is often identified as an encouraging sign of interest in God, it may be more dangerous than atheism. At least atheism makes arguments and shows an interest in a world external to the feelings of the inner self. Furthermore, after each round of this quest for the holy grail, evangelicalism itself looks more and more indistinguishable from the ooze of pop spirituality more generally (page 159-60).
Well-known author and speaker, Max Lucado, took on the arduous task of writing what has been titled The Inspirational Study Bible. It may come as a shock to people who have happily ingested their sedatives and floated for the past several years in la-la land, but the Bible is anything but cheery and pleasant. Even from the first actions of the very first people, the whole earth is said to have changed and been cursed by the eating of fruit! On and on there are tales of carnage, blood, human sacrifice, and sex crimes. To make the Bible meet the audacious standards of the word “inspirational,” it would have to go under the knife.
When I hear the word “inspirational” many things come to mind: lilies floating on the surface of a pond, salty ocean breezes, soft clouds drifting in an azure sky. Ah! What calm and peaceful images. However, these are not at all words or phrases that I would use to describe the contents of the Bible. Even if we look past the carnage and drama in its pages, Hebrews 4:12 says that “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.”