- Paperback: 80 pages
- Publisher: Starke & Hartmann Inc (June 30, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0970984952
- ISBN-13: 978-0970984951
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.2 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,082,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Really Bad Thing About Free Will: A Critical Look at the Salvation by Willpower" Doctrine" Paperback – June 30, 2006
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He wrote in the first chapter of this 2006 book, “One of the most popular statements in the Christian religion today is, ‘Jesus saves.’ By itself, this statement is true. As presented by the Christian religion, however, it is hypocrisy packaged in a false expression. If Jesus saves, then why is salvation presented as a challenge? Why is it put forth as the result of a wise decision? Why do ministers at altar calls tell people to come down and ‘get saved’? Why is the exercise of the human will advertised as the all-important thing? What, exactly, saves? Is it Jesus or will power?... Christianity believes it’s will power.” (Pg. 15) He adds, “‘Jesus did not do it all. It is up to you to finish the work of salvation.’ … [This] is the substance of Satan’s favorite message. And the doctrine of free accommodates it perfectly.” (Pg. 20)
He says, “I ask free will people what percentage of the work is Christ’s, and most of them answer, ‘100%.’ … But then I follow up with, ‘Then why isn’t so-and-so saved?’ and the person is stumped because they want to say, ‘Because I believed and so-and-so didn’t,’ but they know I’ll torture them with the 100%... Even if Jesus does 99.99% of the work, it’s still the .01% human contribution that saves… With the free will doctrine, .0000000001% on the human side saves as well as seven fewer zeroes… No matter what the numbers, the Jesus side tries, but the human side saves. Why not just make it 1% Jesus and 99% us? It’s the same result as before, it’s just a lot uglier without the whitewash… the more nines one puts on the Calvary side of the equation, the harder Jesus tried, and the more monumental becomes the failure of Christ.” (Pg. 25-26)
He states, “At last, Someone has lived the perfect life… God’s own Son did do it. And the [author of evangelistic tract] writers calls the work of this Son ‘sufficient.’ … Then the tract says: ‘You are free!
If I’m free, then I’m saved as well. Right? Well, no. Alas. I am not saved, and neither am I free. The word ‘sufficient’ … has proved to be false advertising. The word ‘free’ is false as well… Christ is not enough. I am not free, I am not saved… These writers, who have jerked me from hell to heaven, are returning me to the grave.” (Pg. 33)
He points out, “According to so-called men of God today, God offers ‘helpless sinners’ a ‘general invitation’ to ‘accept’ His Son. Did you catch the absurdity of expecting helpless people to do something?... In the ninth chapter of Acts, an extremely stubborn and helpless-top-save-himself person named Saul of Tarsus is en route to Damascus to arrest and kill Christians. Before he could even say, ‘Praise the Lord,’ Saul was on the ground beholding Christ’s glory… Paul became the rule of salvation, not the exception… This does not mean that everyone gets pitched off a pony and blinded. But the principle is the same: Salvation operates in spite of us, not because of us.” (Pg. 37-38)
He explains, “If human belief cannot save, what is its purpose? Human belief is a gift of God that acquaints people with something God already did… People do have faith and they do have wills, but the believing and the willing originated outside themselves. Belief is a gift of God. It is a gift that follows salvation; it does not precede it. We are not saved because we believe, we believe because we are saved. God gives belief to acquaint us with an already-accomplished work.’” (Pg. 40-41)
He says, “Then why does Paul say to the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.’ … Turn to Ephesians 2:8-9… In grace, YOU ARE SAVED. It’s a done deal. Christ saved you two thousand years ago. He did the same for the Philippian jailer… You may or may not believe it yet, but it doesn’t change the fact… Then what is the Philippian jailer asking? … Answer: his realization of it.” (Pg. 41-42)
He asserts, “Wake up, Doctor [James] Dobson! You did not choose God. He chose you. Someday you will realize this… had God not forced Himself upon you, you would be like the rest of us infirm people… whom you now believe to be too foolish or too stubborn to know what’s good for them.” (Pg. 48-49)
He suggests, “If one takes what is correct about Calvinism and correct about Arminianism, then discards the common error between them, one arrives at truth. The Calvinists are correct in that only God can give people belief; they are wrong in assuming that God has predestined only a select group from humanity for eternal life. The Arminians, on the other hand, are correct in that salvation is for all; they are wrong in teaching that it is up to man to appropriate this salvation. Put the two truths together and we discover that salvation is, indeed, for all, and God will eventually give all belief.” (Pg. 61)
He clarifies, “I am not a Universalist, so please do not call me that. People who belong to the Universalist cult disregard scripture and belittle the blood of Christ; they think God saves just because He’s NICE. I have nothing to do with either Universalists or Unitarians… I am a believer in scripture, correctly translated. I am an advocate of the power of the cross and the ability of Christ to save humanity from all sin. God is love AND He is righteous, and both these attributes met at the cross; this is what I’m about.” (Pg. 69-70)
He says, “I learned that there were two glorious ages ahead: the thousand-year kingdom… and the new heavens and new earth… I learned that most people would be dead during these glorious times… When I learned that this wasn’t their fault, I felt sad for the people. But when I realized that they would eventually be given belief and live eternally with God, it mollified my grief. After all, what were two short eons compared with eternity? Nothing, relatively. Besides, as I said, the unbelievers would be dead. In the death state, there is no consciousness of time… These people would not KNOW they were dead. It was God’s merciful provision… When on realizes that all is of god and that nothing, absolutely, is of oneself, one does stop condemning unbelievers. It does make one ask God, however: ‘Why me and not them?’… God simply said, ‘Because I chose you… Enjoy what I’ve done for you. Stop worrying about everyone else… It’s not that the rest are cheated, it’s that you and the others are especially blessed… So rejoice!’” (Pg. 72-75)
Zender is, as always, provocative and outspoken. But his arguments are clearly and forcefully stated, and will be of interest not just to those who agree with him, but to all Christians looking to challenge their “conventional” ways of looking at things.