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Free-Willers' Habit of Misapplying Scripture

By: Dr. Robert A. Morey

“What must be in order for what is to be what it is?” This is the question that always first comes to my mind.

When I debated the Exclusive Psalmists, I asked that question and then proved they had to find a biblical passage that specifically said to sing ONLY the Psalms. To point to passages were Psalms were sung or where we are encouraged to sing psalms in general does not prove we can ONLY sing the Psalms.

In one stroke, all their arguments blew up because they did not think through what evidence from Scripture had to be in order for exclusive psalmody to be true. Since they could not answer my refutation of their doctrine, they declared that no one was to debate me on the issue. Geneva College forbade me from even walking on its campus!

If we apply “What must be in order for what is to be what it is?” to the issue of “free will,” what evidence in Scripture must be true in order for free will to be true?

  1. The passage has to have in view what man is. It must thus beanthropological in vision. If the passage has something else in view, according to the context, you cannot misapply it.
  2.  The issue of whether the pagan Greek concept of “free will” can be found in the Bible has to do with what man is in and of himself. 
  3. The issue of “free will” has nothing to do with violations of God’s revealed Law/Word. That we all can and do transgress God’s law only shows man’s bondage to depravity, not freedom from depravity.Take Luke 7:30 as an example. The passage has in view the disobedience of the Pharisees. They rejected the Law of God. Thus the passage has nothing to do with the metaphysical issue of whether man is free from God’s control. It only speaks of man’s sin against the revealed Law.
  4. What if we exegete the passages that directly have in view the issue of whether God is sovereign over the choices that people make? They would be the primary passages that determine the issue.
  5. As soon as you point this out, the free willers run for the hills as the last thing they want to do is to exegete primary passages on God controlling the thoughts, words, and deeds of men. They want to focus on passages that speak of accepting or rejecting the revealedwill of God when the issue has to do with the sovereignty of thesecret will of God (Deut. 29:29). 
  6. Man’s sin and rebellion prove the depravity of man, not free will. If man had a free will, then someone would have escaped sin. But the universality and inevitability of sin prove depravity - not freedom.


Now is the perfect opportunity to discuss the hermeneutical error of misapplying text to issues not in the immediate context. Free willers have to answer this question,

“What biblical passages -clearly according to their respective contexts- have in view (a.) the issue of the will of man andthat state (b.) man’s will is free from his depravity and bondage to sin and (c.) is also free from the secret and eternal decrees of God? What must be in Scripture in order for the Bible to teach free will?”

Not once in forty years of debating this issue has one free willer even attempted to answer this question.

Calvinists are not afraid of asking,

“Are their clear passages -in their respective contexts- that describe man’s choices as being in bondage to his sin and passages that specifically state that God caused someone to choose or not to choose something?”

We have dozens of clear contextual passages that show the bondage of man to his sin andGod’s sovereignty over the decisions of man. The free willers do not even have one verse on their side.

The final blow is the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. The doctrine of “free will” in not compatible with the idea that God controlled the authors of Scripture 100%.  This is why Pinnock, etc., in the end had to deny the Bible’s inspiration and inerrancy. This is what faces free willers. Either free will has to go or the Bible has to go. It is either one way or the other.

Is there one free willer out there in internet land who is willing to define, document, anddefend his concept of “free will”? I assert that no one can define, document or defend it. If you think you can, “Make my day.”

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