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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Prayer and the Doctrine of "Free Will".

(This post is taken from a conversation being held over on Wade Burleson's Blog)


Prayer is simply incompatible with the doctrine of “free will”.

Someone (I cannot remember who) once said; “We are all Calvinist on our knees.” If I am praying for God to save my child, I am asking God to violate his “free will”. It cannot be otherwise.

If I truly believe in the doctrine of “free will” then what exactly am I asking God to do for my child? Anything God does that will influence my child in the slightest way will be a violation of his “free will”. Anything God does that will influence the will of my child that he does not do for all children (no matter how small the influence) is an act of “Election”.

However, if I start with the understanding that the will is not free, but that the will of my unregenerate child is in bondage (a slave to sin) then that changes everything. Then my prayer to God for my child is that God will “free” the will of my child; so that my child may indeed, of his now “freed” will, choose to embrace the grace of God.

The best treatment of this subject is not Luther in ‘The bondage of the will’ but instead John Calvin’s ‘The Bondage and Liberation of the Will’, subtitled “A Defense of the Orthodox Doctrine of Human Choice against Pighius” published by Baker Academic. Notice that subtitle! Calvin is defending the doctrine of “Human Choice”.

If you do not have this book and you are an honest seeker of truth then I highly recommend you purchase it and read it with Bible and pen in hand. You can pruchase it from at the following link.

Grace Always,



Paul W. Foltz DD said...

Amen. Brother Greg.
Prayer brings us into comformity to God's Will and Purpose fpr us.

It is an act of Submission and Worship.
Paul W. Foltz DD

G. Alford said...

Well put Dr. Foltz...

Sadly many Baptist today are seeking a God that conforms to their will, and that is how they view the purpose of prayer. Prayer is not worship for them, it is a way to get God to do what they want and nothing else.

Grace Always,

Rev. said...

That "someone" is J.I. Packer in his excellent work, 'Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God'.

Paul W. Foltz DD said...

rev, Are you promoting that book/

Anyone reading the Word on his knees, asking the Holy Ghost to reveal the Word to him, KNOWS FROM EXPERIENCE, that prayer involves submission and Worship.

God has already promised to give us the things we need, to do His Work, and fulfill His purpose in out lives.