Choice –Part 3: Is Choice Really a Choice Without a Choice?
A basic premise of selective salvation is God selected people to go to either Heaven or Hell. The selected people have no say in the matter. There is no way a person could alter his eternal destiny.
When a person "chooses" to accept Christ as his Savior, he actually does not make the choice himself. The desire to make this decision is implanted by God. Before God implants this desire, the person literally has no ability to decide spiritual things himself. Listed below are some of the comments by Selective Salvationists that say we have no choice:
Selective Salvationists say the reason we are unable to make these decisions is because we are spiritually dead. They say a spiritually dead person is unable to make any type of response. It is like throwing a life preserver to a dead body floating on the water; it can’t even reach over to grab the preserver. Therefore, a spiritually dead person is totally unable to do something as simple as choosing to accept Christ as his Savior. Listed below are some quotes by Selective Salvationists concerning this:
Selective Salvationists will use another analogy to show our total inability to accept God’s salvation. Basically, they say since a baby does not choose to be born, we cannot choose to be born again. Listed below are some quotes by Selective Salvationists concerning this:
The Bible contradicts this viewpoint. There are many verses that say we have a choice to accept or reject salvation. A list of the verses can be found in the chapter What Does the Bible Say?
How do Selective Salvationists reconcile these verses? How can they say we have no choice and yet be in agreement with the verses that say we have a choice? How can they say we are totally incapable of making any spiritual decisions when we are able to make decisions to commit sin?
"Irresistible Grace" is the central theme of selective salvation. Basically, it means when God chooses (elects) certain people to be saved, they will be saved. He forces them to accept Him. He puts an irresistible desire in their hearts to want God and there is nothing they can do to reject God. They have no say in the matter.
According to Selective Salvationists, once God puts this irresistible desire in a person’s heart, he automatically starts to desire God. As a result of this desire, he "chooses" to abandon his sinful ways and turn to God. Since the targeted person (unaware of God’s intervention) seems to come to this conclusion on his own, he is said to have a "choice."
Is this truly a choice? Can it actually be said this person chose God out of a truly free heart? Does a person really have a choice if he is forced to accept or reject God? The dictionary defines "choice" as, "The voluntary act of selecting. The right and power of making a selection."
Just because someone calls something a choice doesn’t mean it is actually a choice. In 1995, Saddam Hussein wanted to show the world He was a great leader and was loved by his people. He wanted to dispel the notion he was a ruthless dictator who was hated and despised by his oppressed subjects. He, therefore, held "free" elections for his office. Saddam Hussein received 99.96% of the votes. (In 2002, Hussein held another election obtaining similar results.)
These elections, of course, raised many eyebrows. No one took these numbers seriously. Just about everyone realized truly free hearts did not cast these votes. They realized these votes did not reflect the true sentiment of the Iraqi people.
To illustrate this, let’s consider two different types of elections of the exact same population in Iraq. The first election would be an open election and the second would be a secret closed election. In the open election, everyone in Iraq has to openly cast their vote on a large chalkboard (in front of everyone). The names of the voters (and their selection) are recorded and given to Saddam Hussein.
The secret election, however, is done in such a way that the individual votes are kept secret. There is no possible way for anyone to find out how a person votes. The voter is able to truly vote his conscience.
If we were to conduct both of these elections on the same day on the exact same population in Iraq, do you think there would be a substantial difference in the final count? Do you think Saddam Hussein would receive 99.96% of the votes in both elections? Do you think these people would express their true feelings if they knew Saddam Hussein would have a list of all negative votes?
If you think there will be a substantial difference between the two votes, you would have to admit that the Iraqi people were not able to make a truly free choice in the open election. Yes, it is true they did make a "choice" in the open election, but it wasn’t a true choice. That choice was a sham and mockery of truth, fairness, and common sense. A true choice comes only when a person has the freedom to choose opposing views.
Likewise, when Selective Salvationists talk about choice, they are not talking about a true choice. The "choice" they are talking about is a mockery of truth, fairness, and common sense. I do not believe a God of integrity would ever perpetuate such a deception.
A person does not have a choice in salvation unless he has the realistic opportunity to accept or reject salvation. I see only two options for a person who believes in selective salvation. The first option is to admit those who are the elect have no choice or free will to accept or reject God. If a person believes in this option, he has to explain why a large number of verses say we have a free choice to accept or reject God.
The second option is to admit that those who are the elect have a real choice to accept or reject God. If people have a true choice, some will choose to reject God. Therefore, some of the elect will never become Christians. You cannot say the elect have a free will to accept or reject God if there isn’t the realistic probability some will reject God. Therefore, if you believe in selective salvation and believe these people have a choice in the matter, you are then forced to accept the fact some of the "elect" will end up in Hell.
Article 11 and Error VI (Canons of Dort) say all of the elect are going to Heaven and not one of the elect will go to Hell. Therefore, if you say an elect person cannot reject God, you are forced to accept the first option that says the elect have no choice or free will to accept or reject God. God has the sovereign right to do this, but I have to stand by my earlier contention that you can’t force someone to love you. If this is true, I have to believe there are a large number of people in Heaven who do not love God. They may not hate Him, but they did not choose to love Him.
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