Ligon Duncan here discusses the nature of human freedom, or free-will, at The Gospel Coalition website. Calvinists are often misunderstood as denying the freedom of the will. This is not the case and Duncan explains why:
Filed under free will, interviews, video
Good video. Very clear.
We do need to be careful with our terminology here, I think. Terms carry a lot of baggage, and in the minds of the vast majority of Christians today ‘free will’ does not imply what Christians such as you and I believe about human freedom. In this way, we reject ‘free will’. A better term for the Reformed position, which has been called ‘soft determinism’ or compatibilism, is ‘free choice’. ‘Free choice’ (unlike ‘free will’) embraces the fact that WHAT human beings desire or will for themselves is caused/determined by countless external and internal factors, but that human beings nonetheless make real choices, in virtue of the fact that whatever we choose is what we desire/will for ourselves (we are never ‘forced’ to choose what we do not personally desire for ourselves, which would be a real threat to freedom and moral responsibility). The will itself is not ‘free’, but our choices — and our moral responsibility for them — are authentic.
The Biblical import of the framework here, of course, is the substantial determinative impact which the Fall had and has on the desires of human beings, WHAT they desire for themselves. The effect of the Fall is that human beings do not — cannot — desire God. The Elect are delivered from this state, but even this liberation does not amount to ‘free will’ in the dominant Arminian sense, for the monergistic gift of faith, whereby we now desire Christ, is still causational/determinative. If I am truly Elect, I am not ‘free’ to not be Elect; what I desire spiritually is just the consequence of Christ’s atonement for my sins on the Cross.
But I do believe, like Augustine and Edwards, that the will is free. Because of the conventional use of the term in church history and the fact that words have multiple uses in different (even if related) contexts, I’m comfortable with calling it free will. I find it takes the wind out of the sails of those who challenge Calvinists by accusing us of denying the freedom of the will.
But I catch your drift for sure and can see your point.
On a related note, check this out: http://edwards.yale.edu/archive?path=aHR0cDovL2Vkd2FyZHMueWFsZS5lZHUvY2dpLWJpbi9uZXdwaGlsby9nZXRvYmplY3QucGw/Yy4wOjEud2plbw==
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