Are Free-willers Brethren?

"Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, it is lawful. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch. And he baptized him."  - Acts 8:37-38

    Are free-willers brothers?  This is a question I see hotly debated on facebook - almost daily.  I've observed it for years now.  There are people that line up on both sides of the issue, but many of the folks I know line up on the side of "NO, of course not!"   In fact, some of them will go so far as to say that if you even THINK you believed you were a free-willer when you were converted, you cannot possibly be considered a brother or sister now and the right hand of fellowship will be denied.  But in my opinion, these folks have erected barriers to fellowship and are intolerant to a fault.

    The fact of the matter is, every person is different.  Every person is brought to the Lord differently.  And some of God's sheep are able to articulate very clearly the Gospel and all of its logical implications.  And others are not so much able.

    I remember when Jim baptized my son at 13th street.  He didn't ask him, "were you a free-willer when you believed the Gospel?" He simply asked him if he was relying on Christ alone for all of salvation and not upon any condition or work fulfilled by or within him.  He didn't have a big questionnaire for him to answer.  He didn't submit him to a long list of orthodoxy questions.  He simply accepted his profession of faith, embraced him as a brother, and baptized him.  And isn't this how we should be?

    I've met some so called "free-willers" that have held to free will shibboleths, but when asked who they were relying upon for salvation, including all of their faith, would answer in all earnestness, "Christ alone."  They didn't necessarily understand or believe the implications of their so-called "free-willism."   They simply liked the words "free will" as a phrase in very much the same way politicians like to use it.  However, when asked, they stated that they were simply resting in the imputed righteousness of Christ given to them by sovereign grace.  And when they were presented with the doctrines of Grace they didn't reject them, but they embraced them and loved them because in reality they already knew them to be true! 

    I would not accept someone as a brother who comes to me saying they believe their decision is the difference maker in salvation.  Nobody who is a true free-willer is to be treated as a brother.   Nobody is saved, regenerated, and converted without believing the true Gospel of salvation conditioned upon Christ alone.  

    Those who deny the doctrines of election and definite atonement and fight against them are sometimes evidencing themselves to be hardened by God against the Gospel.  It's not true in all cases.  So we should be careful not to judge too harshly.  We are to simply leave these people be, shake the dust from our feet, and move on.  But let's stop obsessing over free-willers and "false gospels."  We have the truth.  We have the proverbial brass ring!  Let's focus on it, proclaim it, love one another, and those who come to us confessing Christ.  

For more on this subject by me, read my article, "The Day You Were Converted."

Topics: Pristine Grace Gospel Distinctives
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