Man’s Free Will: Roman Catholic & Arminian Unity in Doctrinal Error

Ephesians 1:4-6; Romans 8:30, 31
       He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.
       Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): God’s eternal Election is the first link in that chain of a sinner’s salvation of which heavenly glory is the end.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): The human mind, when it hears this doctrine of election, cannot restrain its petulance, but boils and rages as if aroused by the sound of a trumpet.

WILLIAM TIPTAFT (1803-1864): You know when Christ preached it, it always gave offence. In Luke 4, when He preached election, they endeavoured to cast Him down headlong from the brow of a hill. When He preached it again, “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him,” John 6:65,66. When He clearly stated it again, the Jews said: “He hath a devil, and is mad,” John 10:20.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): I verily believe that the grand reason why such doctrine is so spurned at and hated by carnal people, is, that it strikes at the very root of human pride, cuts the sinews of free-will all to pieces, and brings the sinner to lie down at the foot of sovereign grace; and, let his attainments in the school of Christ be ever so great, it constrains him to cry out, “Lord, why me? why me?”

AUGUSTINE (354-430): We know that the grace of God is not given to all men; and that to them to whom it is given, it is given neither according to the merits of works, nor according to the merits of will, but by gratuitous favour… The grace of God does not find men fit to be elected, but makes them so.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): If any man doth ascribe aught of salvation, even the very least, to the free-will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): The doctrine of predestination is not a doctrine of God! Predestination destroys the comfort of religion, the happiness of Christianity. This uncomfortable doctrine also destroys our zeal for good works. Furthermore, the doctrine of predestination has a direct and manifest tendency to overthrow the whole Christian revelation, and at the same, makes that Revelation contradict itself. Predestination is a doctrine full of blasphemy!

AUGUSTUS TOPLADY (1713-1778): My dear sir, there are marks of spirituality in your conversation, though tinged with an unhappy mixture of pride and self-righteousness. You have been speaking largely in favour of free-will; but from arguments let us come to experience. Do let me ask you one question, How was it with you when the Lord laid hold on you in effectual calling? Had you any hand in obtaining that grace? Nay, would you not have resisted and baffled it, if God’s Spirit had left you alone in the hand of your own counsel.

J. N. DARBY (1800-1882): The doctrine of freewill serves to support that of the pretension of the natural man to be not irremediably fallen, for this is what such doctrine tends to…If Christ came to save that which is lost, free will has no place.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): Alas! [free will] is the merest delusion. Man is not free. He is the slave of Satan.

WILLIAM TIPTAFT: Free will is a very stronghold of Satan’s.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): It may indeed seem strange that the devil should so far have prevailed with Christians, that profess the faith of original sin, and of the necessity of a Saviour, as to make them look at grace as useless in this prime step of conversion and renewing of a sinner, that when the grace of God and man’s free-will come to be compared, man’s will should have the preference and pre-eminence, the highest place and commendation in the work, and the great weight of it should lie there, and that proud nature should be thus bolstered up, that it shall stand in need of nothing for the man’s conversion, but the right use-making of what it has in itself. And yet it is no wonder that the devil drives this design so vigorously; for what shorter cut can there be taken by him to ruin souls, than to make them drink in this error, that nature and free-will will do their turn, and so take them off from all dependence of free-grace, and on Jesus Christ, and give them ground of boasting in themselves?

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): I readily believe, that the leading points of Arminianism* spring from and are nourished by, the pride of the human heart.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Those who today insist on the free-will of the natural man believe precisely what Rome teaches on the subject! That Roman Catholics and Arminians walk hand in hand may be seen from the decrees issued by the Council of Trent,** which is the avowed standard of Popery:
      “If anyone shall affirm, that man’s free-will, moved and excited by God, does not, by consenting and co-operating with God, the mover and exciter, so as to prepare and dispose itself for the attainment of justification; if moreover, anyone shall say, that the human will cannot refuse complying, if it pleases; but that it is unactive, and merely passive; let such an one be accursed!”
       “If anyone shall affirm, that since the fall of Adam, man’s free-will is lost and extinguished; or, that it is a thing titular, yea a name, without a thing, and a fiction introduced by Satan into the church; let such an one be accursed!”

AUGUSTINE: It was by the evil use of his free will [in the Garden of Eden] that man destroyed both it and himself…And what about that saying of the Lord, “No one can come to Me”—that is, “believe in Me”—“unless it has been granted to him by My Father,” John 6:65? Is faith given to the person who is already willing to believe, in recognition of the virtues of his good will? Or rather, is not the will itself stirred up from above?

WILLIAM FAREL (1489-1565): Whosoever upholds free-will, absolutely denies the grace of God…It is by means of this teaching of the natural power of man that popery took salvation out of the hands of God, and put it into the hands of the priests.

J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): Rome desires no other liberty than that of free-will, which, exalting the natural strength of fallen man, dries up as regards mankind the springs of divine life, withers Christianity, and changes that heavenly religion into a human moralism and legal observances.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): My brethren, discard for ever with detestation and abhorrence any doctrine which would lead you to think that any work, or grace, or anything just, pure, lovely, or of good report in man, is of man himself. Depend upon it, though it come to you in the garb of earnestness, and paint its cheeks, and look fair enough to you, it is the harlot of Popery in another dress. Only let such doctrine be pushed to its fair conclusion, and you come at once to salvation by works. Ever stand by the good old Calvinistic banner, the banner which Augustine waved of old, and which Paul handed down to us direct from our Master Jesus; and hold, believe, and affirm, never swerving from it, that all things in the new creation are of God.
*Editor’s Note: John Wesley was an Arminian in doctrine.
**Editor’s Note: The Roman Catholic Council of Trent (1563) condemned the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation, and its decrees and definitions have been upheld by several popes. Its decrees also condemn the theology of their own St. Augustine, who made the same arguments against man’s free will as the Protestant Reformers of the 16th century Reformation, more than 1,000 years earlier. The Council of Trent decrees remain Catholic doctrine today; nor can they ever be rescinded without also confessing that the Roman Catholic doctrine of Papal infallibility is the Satanic fiction that it really is.


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