Second century father's on free will

TomFL

Well-known member
Here are a few quotations from second century church fathers:
“Let some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever occurs happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Now, if this is not so, but all things happen by fate, then neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it is predetermined that this man will be good, and this other man will be evil, neither is the first one meritorious nor the latter man to be blamed. And again, unless the human race has the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions.” -Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.)
“We were not created to die. Rather, we die by our own fault. Our free will has destroyed us. We who were free have become slaves. We have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God. We ourselves have manifested wickedness. But we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it.” -Tatian (120-180 A.D.)
“There is, therefore, nothing to hinder you from changing your evil manner to life, because you are a free man” -Melito (2nd century)
“But man, being endowed with reason, and in this respect similar to God, having been made free in his will, and with power over himself, is himself his own cause that sometimes he becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff.” -Ireneus (130-202 A.D.)
“I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. He was master of his own will and power…For a law would not be imposed upon one who did not have it in his power to render that obedience which is due to law. Nor again, would the penalty of death be threatened against sin, if a contempt of the law were impossible to man in the liberty of his will…Man is free, with a will either for obedience or resistance.” -Tertullian (160-225 A.D.)
 

Reformedguy

Well-known member
Here are a few quotations from second century church fathers:
“Let some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever occurs happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Now, if this is not so, but all things happen by fate, then neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it is predetermined that this man will be good, and this other man will be evil, neither is the first one meritorious nor the latter man to be blamed. And again, unless the human race has the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions.” -Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.)
“We were not created to die. Rather, we die by our own fault. Our free will has destroyed us. We who were free have become slaves. We have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God. We ourselves have manifested wickedness. But we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it.” -Tatian (120-180 A.D.)
“There is, therefore, nothing to hinder you from changing your evil manner to life, because you are a free man” -Melito (2nd century)
“But man, being endowed with reason, and in this respect similar to God, having been made free in his will, and with power over himself, is himself his own cause that sometimes he becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff.” -Ireneus (130-202 A.D.)
“I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. He was master of his own will and power…For a law would not be imposed upon one who did not have it in his power to render that obedience which is due to law. Nor again, would the penalty of death be threatened against sin, if a contempt of the law were impossible to man in the liberty of his will…Man is free, with a will either for obedience or resistance.” -Tertullian (160-225 A.D.)
Ya, and? So what
 

Sketo

Well-known member

Before the Reformation​


Augustine: “I once laboured hard for the free will of man, until the grace of God at length overcame me.”

Prudentius of Troyes: “Concerning Free Will. First. Evidently, that one should confess that free will, lost in Adam by the merit of disobedience, is restored to us and freed through our Lord Jesus Christ. Meanwhile [we live] in hope [of salvation]; later [we shall possess it] in reality, just as the Apostle says, ‘For in hope we have been saved’ (Rom 8:24). Nevertheless, we should assign the grace of the omnipotent God to every good work, whether in proposing, beginning, working out, or finishing with perseverance. And we should know that without it we are in no way able to do anything good, whether to propose, or to will, or to work.”

Bradwardine: “What multitudes, O Lord, do this day join hands with Pelagius in contending for free will and in fighting … free grace.”

John Wycliffe: “To believe in the power of man in the work of regeneration is the great heresy of Rome, and from that error has come the ruin of the church. Conversion proceeds from the grace of God alone, and the system which ascribes it partly to man and partly to God is worse than Pelagianism.”

Waldensians: “Whosoever upholds free-will absolutely denies predestination and the grace of God.”
 
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Sketo

Well-known member
Luther

“Free will is an empty term.”

“Free-will cannot will good and of necessity serves sin.”

“This is plainly to ascribe divinity to ‘free will.’”

“This error of free will is a special doctrine of the Antichrist.”

“But however, that the advocates for ‘free-will’ deny Christ, is proved, not by this Scripture only, but by their own very way of life” (The Bondage of the Will).

“And I would also, that the advocates for ‘free-will’ be admonished in this place, that when they assert ‘free-will,’ they are deniers of Christ” (The Bondage of the Will).

“I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want ‘free-will’ to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavour after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground …; but because even were there no dangers … I should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success … But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. Furthermore, I have the comfortable certainty that I please God, not by reason of the merit of my works, but by reason of His merciful favour promised to me; so that, if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God” (The Bondage of the Will).
 

Sketo

Well-known member
Calvin


“The Papists … hold that man, through his own free will, returns to God; and on this point is our greatest contest with them at this day.”

“Concerning that this clown babbleth of free will, it is sufficiently rejected throughout the whole scripture.”

“Faith is a special gift of God, which proceedeth not from our free will.”

“Let that ethical philosophy therefore of free-will be far from a Christian mind.”

“No free will of man can resist Him that willeth to save.”

“This movement of the will is not of that description which was for many ages taught and believed—viz. a movement which thereafter leaves us the choice to obey or resist it, but one which affects us efficaciously. We must, therefore, repudiate the oft-repeated sentiment of Chrysostom, “Whom he draws, he draws willingly;” insinuating that the Lord only stretches out his hand, and waits to see whether we will be pleased to take his aid. We grant that, as man was originally constituted, he could incline to either side, but since he has taught us by his example how miserable a thing free will is if God works not in us to will and to do, of what use to us were grace imparted in such scanty measure? Nay, by our own ingratitude, we obscure and impair divine grace. The Apostle’s doctrine is not, that the grace of a good will is offered to us if we will accept of it, but that God himself is pleased so to work in us as to guide, turn, and govern our heart by his Spirit, and reign in it as his own possession” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.3,10).
 

Sketo

Well-known member
16 Century


William Tyndale: “They go and set up free-will with the heathen philosophers and say that a man’s free will is the cause why God chooseth and not another, contrary to all scriptures.”

Robert Ferrar (Welsh Bishop of St. David’s martyred in Carmarthen on 30 March, 1555) with ten other reforming ministers: “… we disallow papistical doctrines of free will, of works of supererogation, of merits, of the necessity of auricular confession, and satisfaction to God-wards.”

John Knox: “… the general consent of all that sect is that God (by his foreknowledge, counsel, and wisdom) has no assured election, neither yet any certain reprobation, but that every man may elect or reprobate himself by his own free will, which he has (say they) to do good or evil … [All these things are] forged by their own brains, and polished by the finest of their wits, when yet in very deed they are but the rotten heresies of … Pelagius, long ago confuted by Augustine …”

John Knox: “Ye [Anabaptists] be proud contemners of the free grace of God offered to man in Christ Jesus. For with the Pelagians and Papists ye are become teachers of free will, and defenders of your own righteousness” (An Answer to a Great Number of Blasphemous Cavillations Written by an Anabaptist and Adversary to God’s Eternal Predestination [London: Thomas Charde, 1591], p. 121).

John Knox: “But the foundation of this damnable error, Which is, that in God they can acknowledge no justice, except that which their foolish brain be able to comprehend” (Select Practical writings of John Knox, p. 192).

John Knox: “And finally, if any persuade, that our merits, good works, or obedience, be any cause either of our justification, or yet of our election, let him be accursed” (Select Practical writings of John Knox, p. 194).

John Knox: “But now, in these last days, most cruelly doth he rage, omitting no occasion by the which he is able to deface the same, so that what he cannot do by open tyranny, that he travaileth to bring to pass by false doctrine and errors damnable; that is, Satan continually laboureth to intermeddle, and mix somewhat proceeding from us, besides Christ Jesus and His righteousness, in the cause and matter of our redemption and salvation” (Select Practical writings of John Knox, pp. 195-196).

John Knox: “And finally the general consent of all that sect is, that God by His foreknowledge, counsel, and wisdom, hath no assured election, neither yet any certain reprobation; but that every man may elect or reprobate himself by his own free will, which he hath, say they, to do good or evil. The rest of their opinions, most horrible and absurd, I omit at this present, touching only for advertisement this, which they think inexpugnable, and in which they glory, as of most precious pearls forged by their own brains, and polished by their fineness of their wits, when yet, in very deed, they are but rotten heresies of Arius and Pelagius, long ago confuted by Augustine, and by ancient writers before him” (Select Practical writings of John Knox, p. 191).

Jerome Zanchius: “No free will of the creature can resist the will of God” (quoting Augustine).
 

Sketo

Well-known member

17th Century​

Henry Ainsworth: “we grant evil freewill (or freewill to evil) is remaining in all natural men: we believe that freewill to good, is from grace and regeneration.”

Daniel Featley: “many men have too much Free-will, and take to themselves too free liberty now a days to advance and maintain free will.”

John Preston: “not by the power of free will but by the infused grace of His spirit.”

Peter Moulin: “It is proved out of the holy scriptures that an unregenerate man is altogether destitute of the power and liberty of his will, in those things that pertain to faith and salvation.”

John Owen: “the whole Pelagian poison of free-will … a clear exaltation of the old idol free-will into the throne of God … That the decaying estate of Christianity have invented.”

John Owen: Free will is “corrupted nature’s deformed darling, the Pallas or beloved self-conception of darkened minds” (Works, vol. 10, p. 150).

John Owen: “SECONDLY, The second end at which the new doctrine of the Arminians aimeth is, to clear human nature from the heavy imputation of being sinful, corrupted, wise to do evil but unable to do good; and so to vindicate unto themselves a power and ability of doing all that good which God can justly require to be done by them in the state wherein they are, — of making themselves differ from others who will not make so good use of the endowments of their natures; that so the first and chiefest part in the work of their salvation may be ascribed unto themselves; — a proud Luciferian endeavour!” (A Display of Arminianism, chapter 1).

John Owen: “I come now to consider the main question of this difference, though sparingly handled by our divines, concerning what our Savior merited and purchased for them for whom he died. And here you shall find the old idol playing his pranks, and quite divesting the merit of Christ from the least ability or power of doing us any good; for though the Arminians pretend, very speciously, that Christ died for all men, yet, in effect, they make him die for no one man at all, and that by denying the effectual operation of his death, and ascribing the proper issues of his passion to the brave endeavors of their own Pelagian deity” (A Display of Arminianism, chapter 9).

John Owen: “We, according to the Scriptures, plainly believe that Christ hath, by his righteousness, merited for us grace and glory; that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings, in, through, and for him; that he is made unto us righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that he hath procured for us, and that God for his sake bestoweth on us, every grace in this life that maketh us differ from others, and all that glory we hope for in that which is to come; he procured for us remission of all our sins, an actual reconciliation with God, faith, and obedience. Yea, but this is such a desperate doctrine as stabs at the very heart of the idol, and would make him as altogether useless as if he were but a fig-tree log. What remaineth for him to do, if all things in this great work of our salvation must be thus ascribed unto Christ and the merit of his death? Wherefore the worshippers of this great god, Lib. Arbit., oppose their engines against the whole fabric, and cry down the title of Christ’s merits to these spiritual blessings, in the behalf of their imaginary deity” (A Display of Arminianism, chapter 9).

William Jenkyn: “The bending of men’s hearts to believe and persevere are the supernatural fruits of God’s eternal decree, and not the natural fruits of man’s depraved and frail free will.”

John Trapp: “The friends of free will are the enemies of free grace.”

Thomas Watson: “We ought not to unite with error. ‘What communion has light with darkness?’ (2 Corinthians 6:14). There are many who would have peace, by the destroying of truth; peace with Arminian, Socinian, and other heretics. This is a peace of the devil’s making” (The Beatitudes).

Thomas Watson: “This crown of free will is fallen from our head” and “If it be God’s purpose that saves then it is not free will.”

Francis Turretin: “The word “freewill” (as also “self-determining power” [autexousiou] used by the Greek Fathers) does not occur in Scripture … I Cor 7:37 does not mean freedom of the will.”
 

Sketo

Well-known member

18th Century​

Matthew Henry: “The counsels and decrees of God do not truckle to the frail and fickle will of man.”

Augustus Toplady: “A man’s free will cannot cure him even of the toothache, or a sore finger; and yet he madly thinks it is in its power to cure his soul.”

George Whitefield: “Man is nothing; he hath a free will to go to hell, but none to go to heaven, till God worketh in him” and “you dishonour God by denying election. You plainly make salvation depend, not on God’s ‘free grace’ but on Man’s ‘free will.’”

William Huntington: “This brought me out of the free-will fog, and truth shone in my heart like a comet … from that moment I waged war against free will.”
 

Sketo

Well-known member

19th Century​

J. N. Darby, early leader of the Plymouth Brethren: “This re-appearance of 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. All who have never been deeply convicted of sin, all persons in whom this conviction is based on gross external sins, believe more or less in freewill” (Man’s So-called Freewill, p. 1).
 

Sketo

Well-known member

Charles Spurgeon​

“I will go as far as Martin Luther, where he says, ‘If any man ascribes anything of salvation, even the very least thing, to the free will of man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learned Jesus Christ rightly.’”

“Free-will doctrine—what does it? It magnifies man into God. It declares God’s purposes a nullity, since they cannot be carried out unless men are willing. It makes God’s will a waiting servant to the will of man, and the whole covenant of grace dependent on human action. Denying election on the ground of injustice, it holds God to be a debtor to sinners.”

“His will cannot be neutral or ‘free’ to act contrary to his nature.”

“Free will has carried many souls to hell, but yet never a soul to heaven.”

“I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, “You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for myself.” My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will.”
 

Sketo

Well-known member

20th Century​

Arthur W. Pink: “if the will is their servant then it is not sovereign, and if the will is not sovereign, we certainly cannot predicate ‘freedom’ of it.”

Louis Berkhof: “Freedom of the will is a psychological fiction.”

John Gerstner: “We have already shown that there is no such thing as free will. That’s a will-o’-the–wisp. You never make choices without reasons, not as a responsible or a rational person” (A Primer on Free Will, p. 11).

W. E. Best: “God’s character is maligned by every person who believes in free will.”

Gordon H. Clark: “The Bible consistently denies free will.”

R. C. Sproul: “The neutral view of free will is impossible. It involves choice without desire.”

James White: “Then why do you embrace Christ, and your moral Buddhist neighbour across the street does not? Are you smarter than he is? More spiritually sensitive? Better, in any way? What makes you to differ? Is the Holy Spirit working just as hard on him as He did on you? If so, why do you believe, and he does not? No matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid coming to the conclusion that, in a ‘free will’ system of salvation, those who believe do so because there is something different about them. If the Spirit is bringing equal conviction to bear upon each individual, the only deciding factor, given equality in everything else, is something in the person himself. I believe the only possible difference between the redeemed in heaven and the guilty, condemned, punished sinner in hell is a five-letter word … It’s called ‘grace.'”

Steven Houck: “This free-willism is a serious error which is contrary to the Holy Scriptures.”
 

TomFL

Well-known member


20th Century​

Arthur W. Pink: “if the will is their servant then it is not sovereign, and if the will is not sovereign, we certainly cannot predicate ‘freedom’ of it.”

Louis Berkhof: “Freedom of the will is a psychological fiction.”

John Gerstner: “We have already shown that there is no such thing as free will. That’s a will-o’-the–wisp. You never make choices without reasons, not as a responsible or a rational person” (A Primer on Free Will, p. 11).

W. E. Best: “God’s character is maligned by every person who believes in free will.”

Gordon H. Clark: “The Bible consistently denies free will.”

R. C. Sproul: “The neutral view of free will is impossible. It involves choice without desire.”

James White: “Then why do you embrace Christ, and your moral Buddhist neighbour across the street does not? Are you smarter than he is? More spiritually sensitive? Better, in any way? What makes you to differ? Is the Holy Spirit working just as hard on him as He did on you? If so, why do you believe, and he does not? No matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid coming to the conclusion that, in a ‘free will’ system of salvation, those who believe do so because there is something different about them. If the Spirit is bringing equal conviction to bear upon each individual, the only deciding factor, given equality in everything else, is something in the person himself. I believe the only possible difference between the redeemed in heaven and the guilty, condemned, punished sinner in hell is a five-letter word … It’s called ‘grace.'”

Steven Houck: “This free-willism is a serious error which is contrary to the Holy Scriptures.”
What in the world does any of that have to do with what was believed in the first 400 years of Christian history

Theo previously challenged the claim so I provided a few references
 

Sketo

Well-known member
What in the world does any of that have to do with what was believed in the first 400 years of Christian history

Theo previously challenged the claim so I provided a few references
Just a few other quotes on “freewill” that’s all.
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
Here are a few quotations from second century church fathers:

So you reject sola Scriptura.
Got it.

No wonder your theology is so messed up.

Romanists quote the ECF's.
Because their theology isn't Biblical.

Mormons quote the ECF's.
Because their theology isn't Biblical.

JWs quote the ECF's.
Because their theology isn't Biblical.

You quote the ECF's.
Because your theology isn't Biblical.
 

TomFL

Well-known member
So you reject sola Scriptura.
Got it.

No wonder your theology is so messed up.

Romanists quote the ECF's.
Because their theology isn't Biblical.

Mormons quote the ECF's.
Because their theology isn't Biblical.

JWs quote the ECF's.
Because their theology isn't Biblical.

You quote the ECF's.
Because your theology isn't Biblical.
Incredible

You challenged me on the fathers beliefs

When I got the chance I posted their belief in regard to free will

so your come up with the absurd syllogism above

So if anyone quotes the Fathers their doctrine is unbiblical or they are a JW or a mormon

Your methodology is absurd
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
Incredible

You challenged me on the fathers beliefs

Nope.

YOU were the one who brought up "the Fathers" in the first place.
Would you like me to QUOTE you?

I don't consider the ECF's to be authoritative.
That's why I base my doctrines on inspired SCRIPTURE, not on the words of men.


So if anyone quotes the Fathers their doctrine is unbiblical or they are a JW or a mormon

Why would you quote the ECFs?
Do you consider them inspired? (I don't.)
Do you consider them infallible? (I don't.)

I quote Scripture.

Your methodology is absurd

Here we have it, folks!

edit personal comments
 
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TomFL

Well-known member
Nope.

YOU were the one who brought up "the Fathers" in the first place.
Would you like me to QUOTE you?


Yeah and you challenged me for proof

your final absurd claim

Here we have it, folks!

edit

edit
show me where i stated that

The methodology spoken of is your absurd tactic of tying anyone who quotes the Fathers for any purpose to a JW or a Mormon or has false doctrine

It was a rather dishonest tactic

r r
 
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