Thursday, April 12, 2007

Free Love vs. Free Will

How many times have you heard something like this from a modern pulpit?

"God loves you enough to let you go to hell if that is your choice."

You certainly don't have to hang around Evangelicals long before you will. The thought is, that allowing you do the choosing when it comes to your eternal destiny is the ultimate expression of free love (agape) from a loving God.

My question is: What Love is This?

I mean, as soon as I hear that, I wonder if the one who said it was ever a child with a loving parent, or if they themselves are parents. Because the axiomatic truth is, when you're a parent, it is quite often the case that the most loving thing you can do for your child is over-ride their stupid, idiotic, free-will decisions, in favor of making them to do something that is more conducive to their long-term health and well-being.

An illustration: two sets of parents of two small children are both walking with their child on the sidewalk. Both toddlers decide they want to run into the street. One set of parents sees the traffic and says, "No you may not do this thing that you have chosen to do." Their child persists and tries to run from them. The Dad catches the kid and picks it up and carries it back to the sidewalk. The child kicks and screams and doesn't understand and is obviously not happy. The child of the other parents says he wants to run in the street. They say, "We really wish that you would not do this thing that you have chosen, for we can see that you will certainly be squashed in the grill of an oncoming car." The child persists and runs into the street. His loving parents stand there and wave to him, tears beginning to fall down their cheeks. As he goes, they call out after him, "We love you enough to let you go, if this is what you choose."

Now, pretty clearly, one set of parents above needs to be locked up and have their child taken from them and given into the hands of someone who will love him enough to keep him from destroying himself.

And yet, this illustrates the Arminian version of the roll of God's love in the salvation of man. They can't stand the thought that maybe they're not playing in the street because God loved them enough to pick them up and move them, contrary to their desires. God must stand back and weep as those He loves choose hell. He loves them that much.

Are you kidding me? You really think this is the loving thing to do? Well, then, I just pray you don't have children.

(P.S. I don't want to be guilty of the Calvinist version of Nelson Price's infamous "bus illustration." If you're an Arminian and you think my illustration is unfair, I wish you'd point out to me where I've erred, which would, by the way, be the loving thing to do.)

1 comment:

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Gordon, I don't think any illustration can be as bad as the bus stop illustration.