Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

Calvinist, Erwin Lutzer, writes:Arminianism said man was sick; Calvinism said man was dead. If he is only sick, common grace might help him to recover by enabling him to make a right choice. But if he is spiritually dead, he needs the Giver of Life to make the choice for him….” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.180, emphasis mine)

Lutzer answers: “Needless to say, God does not coerce a person to believe. There is no such thing as a person who doesn’t want to be saved and God saves him anyway because he is elect.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.191, emphasis mine)

Wait! So God will “make the choice for him” though “God does not coerce a person to believe.” How exactly is this not Double-Talk? Even Calvinist, R.C. Sproul, admits: Determinism means that we are forced or coerced to do things by external forces.” (Chosen By God, p.59, emphasis mine)

Lutzer explains: “Now (and here it gets tricky) Calvinism goes on to say that God grants the inclination and ability to choose Christ to some, namely, the elect. God does not coerce anyone, if that means he saves a man against his will.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.191, emphasis mine)

Of course it gets “tricky” because it’s Double-Talk.

If they are regenerated against their fallen will, then no matter how much Calvinists may insist that “they come most freely having been made willing,” they are in reality, forced.

Calvinists miss out on the step between being willing and unwilling, both being a state of mind, fully in accord with an individual’s wishes. To bring a will, irresistibly, to its polar opposite conclusion, is an act of force. Gentle persuasion, by contrast, brings about a resistible change. But if the change cannot be resisted, then it is forced, regardless of how vehemently Calvinists otherwise insist.

Arminian Charge:  Calvinism does Violence to the Will.

Myth or Reality:  Calvinists deny that Irresistible Grace does any violence to the will of man. However, asserting one thing, and proving it, are entirely different matters. The fact that Calvinists admit that it is tricky, reveals the problem.
Question:  Is it accurate for Calvinists to allege that if and when unilateral and monergistic regeneration is applied to one who is of the Calvinistically elect, that there is “no violence to the will” of the individual?

Answer:  If unilateral and monergistic regeneration is performed on an unwilling participant, as being someone who is unregenerate, totally depraved and totally opposed to the kingdom of God, in order that they may irresistibly be made willing, then yes, violence is indeed done, no matter whether a creed denies it. Conversely in Arminianism, regeneration is performed upon a willing participant: “...after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” (Ephesians 1:13) Thus only in Arminianism can it be said that no violence is done.