Just recently a very popular leader in American west coast Christianity was being interviewed and was asked, "what do you think about the doctrine of predestination," to which he answered, "the problem with predestination is that it removes the free will of man and turns him into a robot." I would dare say that most all who heard this gave a hearty amen without ever thinking deeply about what this phrase "the free will of man" is suppose to mean, or even if it is so. I know that I spent years as a Christian thinking that the gospel couldn’t be the gospel unless each person was in complete control of their free will to choose or refuse Christ as his or her savior. But I had never really thought about the will of man and if it really was free in the sense I supposed it was. Was the phrase "the free will of man" suppose to mean that man’s will acted completely free from any outside influence? And if not, what are the influences that cause a man to will one thing instead of another? The answers to some of these questions were closer than I thought. Most people when asked, what is the free will of man, will answer, " It means that man can do whatever he wants to do." To which I will say a big hearty amen. But lets look closer at he answer that was given. It was said that man can will anything he wants to, or in other words the things man wants, those things he wills. Wanting is the same as desiring and willing is the same as choosing, so it can be said man chooses or wills those things he desires or wants. This is a far cry from the idea that man’s will is free to act in any way without restraints. In fact the more we contemplate how the desires of mankind shape his choosing or willing it becomes more evident that the will or the ability to choose is the servant of the desires. I can not think of one instance from human life when someone willed or choose something that he didn’t think or believe would be to his highest benefit either immediately or in the future. The man who goes to war and the man who opposes it does so desiring the greater good of his choices. And it should be noted that while the will does carry out the desires of men it can do nothing to place desires within man. You can not will yourself to like a food that you hate. Yes, you can, with the right motivation (belief in a future benefit) will yourself to eat food you hate, but you can not will your taste buds to like the taste of it it.

So what does all this have to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the doctrine of election? Which to me are two in the same. Or better yet what does the will of man have to do with the gospel at all, and why do we think that the will of man plays such a significant role in him coming to Jesus, when he will only come if he wants to. And he can not will himself to want anything.

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