As a preface to this piece on free will, what needs to be stated is that the word: "catholic" is not the exact same word as the word: "christian." Nor is the word: "Catholic" the same identical word as the word: "Christian." Pertaining to both words, whether capitalized or in small or case letters, they are not spelled the same. Nor do they consist of precisely the same alphabet lettering. What is far more important is that they are not interchangeably synonymous.
One dictionary definition of "catholic" has the connotation of "universal." Obviously, the word: "universal" is in no way synonymous with the word: "catholic" NOR "Catholic" capitalized.
With the "universal" or "inclusive" inference, the word catholic has a non-mistakably religious aura to it. Not so the word "universal." "Universal" by itself intrinsically has nothing to do per se with anything religious. So clearly the import of the meaning of catholic contrasted with the meaning of universal are - logically - FAR from being identical or synonymous.
Why then would the concept of "universal" be associated in the dictionary with "catholic?" Would it be that everything religious is "catholic?" Hardly. Clearly there are many religious sects and cults who would in NO way consider themselves nor want to be considered "catholic" in the "universal" sense of religious inclusivity.
The word "catholic" is never once found within the entirety of the Sacred Sixty-Six books of The HOLY BIBLE. Never once! However, the word "Christian" is found:
Acts 11:26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.
They were called Christians - NOT "catholics" NOR "Catholics."
Why some who claim to be considered "christians" want to be called "catholics" is perplexing, and one wonders about why they wrongly and errantly equate the two different and differently-spelled words as presumably being synonymous....wanting to be included in the religious sense of the word "catholic."
Quite frankly and honestly, most common people associate the words "catholic" and "Catholic" with a certain religious sect which in some way is related to the Roman Catholic church in Rome, such as eastern orthodox catholics who are identified as breaking away from Rome and being headquartered in Constantinople, or anglican catholics who broke away from Rome because of the dictates of an English king and the English language replacing Latin, or episcopalian catholics in America finding it inconvenient to travel to Rome to worship, or lutheran or presbyterian catholics who want to hide behind the proverbial skirts and within the shelter of the huge and once-world-government Roman Catholic church under Constantine, and so perhaps think they can thus avoid persecution for the faith.
This webpage author gets the feeling that so-called "protestants" who want to associate themselves with catholics in creed and allegiance are not being Bible-centered but rather human-centered. Recall the New-Testament verse of Acts 11:26 stated above, and which word was used for orthodox disciples of Jesus Christ. It was not "catholics," as already shown by that reference!
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man lays a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD is safe.
It is confusing, and therefore lamentable, when newscasters and even some preachers equate the word: Christian with the word: Catholic - in that the religious denomination of Catholic contains serious and irreconcialable heresies which genuine and authentic Christians do NOT have (whether such non-catholics and non-Catholics are considered protestant, Protestant, or whoever).
For example, it is abhorrent for bonafide Christians (be they Protestant or not) to give credance to the catholic heresy of "purgatory, " for which heresy there is NO canonically-Scriptural basis. Indeed:
Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm (with no "purgatory") has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.'
Second Corinthians 6:2 For He says, "At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation." Hey, now (not later in "purgatory") is the acceptable time; hey, now is the day of salvation.
Fear and idolatrous worship of humans by humans, rather than fear and worship of God, is one cause of misbelieving in the myth of "purgatory." Some mistakenly deduce that "God would not burn my dear disbelieving mother, son, daughter, dad, etc. without giving them a second chance in purgatory." Such is incongruent with:
Job 34:33 Will he then make requital to suit you, because you reject it? For you must choose, and not I; therefore declare what you know.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me;
Matthew 12:48 But He replied to the man who told Him, "Who is my mother, and who are My brothers?"
Matthew 12:49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Here are My mother and my brothers!
Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother, and sister, and mother."
Luke 14:26 "If any one comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
First Corinthians 7:16 Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?
Besides the heresy of "purgatory," there are other grievous catholic heresies, such as presuming that apocryphal books (such as Sirach, Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, Baruch, etc.) belong in The HOLY BIBLE.....plus presuming that Mary was a perpetual virgin, easily disproven by references to the physical and familial brothers and sisters of Jesus such as:
Matthew 13:56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?"
Mark 3:32 And a crowd was sitting about Him; and they said to Him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you."
Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
Luke 8:20 And he was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you."
It goes beyond reasonable assessment to presume that all those siblings of Jesus were adopted.
Moreover, the heresy of Mary being sinless is evident by Mary's statement in her Magnificat:
Luke 1:47 ....and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior....
"My Savior?" Those words are not to be misconstrued, nor taken lightly pertaining to Mary herself needing someone to atone for her, relating to her sins, such as her sin of blaming and chiding the temporarily-relocated 12-year-old Jesus (conversing within God's House) for causing them worry, plus her sin of attempting to get Jesus to show off His winemaking powers at Cana ahead of His time for whatever questionable motive(s) she had.
The worst catholic heresy is practically damnable, as to their self-righteous presumption that by ingesting eucharist they sacrifice themselves and/or Christ's symbolic body in arrogant self-atonement to absolve themselves of their own sins simply by what they have done during communion "for Christ." Giving Christ's body back to Him is more than an insult to the Lord; it is instead hideous blasphemy. Christ never intended for them to give back to Him what He instead gave to them.
First Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Hey, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to respond than the fat of rams.
Not even mentioned yet are the brownie-points-related phenomena of catholic indulgences and relics, against which the non-road-blocking, non-plagiaristic, non-violent and non-racist, real Dr. Martin Luther (king of the Lutherans) vigorously objected to and thoroughly rejected as purported purgatory-time extenders.
Now, on to free will.
It has been said that:
Romans 11:29 .....the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
Romans 9:16 So it depends not upon human will or exertion, but upon God's mercy.
Philippians 2:13 for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Several things need to be said about the passages above.
Some misleading lutherans have concocted the cultic idea that humans have no will until God calls them to have one, after which point in time they then have a will to choose whether or not to reject God's call, even though they can never accept God's call themselves (and I guess they mean "without God's help" to accept such).
If it is the case of humans having no will until God calls them to have one, and humans have no God-given power by themselves to accept nor reject, why did Eve (with whatever innate power and will she already had been given by the Creator) succomb to Satan's temptation in the Garden? Did God have Eve "will for His good pleasure" as it states in Philippians 2:13 when she eat the Forbidden Fruit? As Cain was contemplating committing murder, did God call Cain with a successful outcome to "will for His good pleasure" when and after He declared to him:
Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it."
Some cultic lutherans even go so far as to assert that everyone God calls will be saved, because:
Romans 9:19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"
Romans 9:20 But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me thus?"
Romans 9:21 Has the potter no right over the clay.....?
Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.
Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Those pseudo-protestant cultists presume that since God is at work within a called person to will (or want) to do His good pleasure, that person either no longer has a free will or is incapable of wanting to go astray and backslide, being that:
Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
But what of the possibility to go astray, even so much as to become accused and destined for eternal punishment in hellfire?
John 8:31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in Him, "If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples,
Romans 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of His call,
Romans 11:22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.
Colossians 1:23 provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Hebrews 8:9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I paid no heed to them, says the Lord.
So even though:
John 10:28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.
it is possible that:
Second Timothy 4:10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
Second Peter 2:22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
Hebrews 10:27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries.
"Once saved, always saved" might not always be the case!
Does Satan (formerly archangel Lucifer) yet have a free will, which free will he irrevocably misused to rebel against God and become destined for everlasting damnation with no chance to repent?
Proverbs 29:1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
Luke 16:24 And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.'
Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.'
Hebrews 12:17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
Even if Satan has retained his free will, and if he could and/or would change his mind, his prophesied perpetual doom is sealed, and no power or entity in existence will change that. And will the glorified saints in Heaven yet retain their free wills to choose to sin if they decide to do so? The words are intriguing:
Revelation 21:5 And He who sat upon the throne said, "Hey, I make all things new." Also He said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true."
If any one or more of the resurrected and raptured saints in the heavenly realm suddenly chose to sin, the following verses would be negated and mean nothing:
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Hey, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will reside with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Revelation 21:5 And He who sat upon the throne said, Hey, I make all things new. And He said to me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Revelation 21:6 And He said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him who thirsts of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Revelation 21:7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful and disbelieving, the abominable and murderers and immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Revelation 21:24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.
Revelation 21:26 and they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no way enter into it anything which defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Revelation 22:3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they who do His commandments, that they have the right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Revelation 22:15 For outside are dogs and sorcerers, and immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie.
So will the glorified saints become always-perfectly-functioning robots without free will any longer? Will the damned in outer-darkness hellfire who are not merely cursing the religious right and fundamentalist Christians along with the Lord and Creator Himself, yet have free will - even though such will no longer do the forever-cursed any good - whether or not they could and/or would change their minds using any possible free will? It becomes evident not only that those (whether angelic, demonic, or human) who formerly had free wills do decide to either be for God or instead against Him will either not have the capacity to change their mind and/or will not have desire to change their minds. Such a status is hard for us mortals this side of eternity to imagine, but it is well to remember that God hardened Pharoah's heart.....after Pharoah hardened his own heart.
And who gets the supposed "credit" (i.e. who is at fault and to blame) for hardening hearts, the defiantly wayward human....or instead God?
Exodus 7:13 Still Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them; as the LORD had said.
Exodus 7:22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts; so Pharaoh's heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them; as the LORD had said.
Exodus 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart, and would not listen to them; as the LORD had said.
Exodus 8:19 And the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them; as the LORD had said.
Exodus 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.
Exodus 9:34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
Exodus 9:35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken through Moses.
Exodus 10:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them,
Exodus 10:20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.
Exodus 14:8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the people of Israel as they went forth defiantly.
Deuteronomy 2:30 But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him; for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that He might give him into your hand, as at this day.
First Samuel 6:6 Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had made sport of them, did not they let the people go, and they departed?
Second Chronicles 36:13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God; he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the LORD, the God of Israel.
Job 9:4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength--who has hardened himself against Him, and succeeded?
Daniel 5:20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was deposed from his royal throne, and his glory was taken from him;
John 12:40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and turn for Me to heal them."
Romans 9:18 So then He has mercy upon whomever He wills, and He hardens the heart of whomever He wills.
Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Within the overall group of who are legitimately called "Christians" instead of questionably-termed: "catholics," Baptists prefer to view the call of the Lord from a different perspective different than Lutherans.
To give an illustration, imagine that there is a gigantic supply ship far distant from a rowboat out in the middle of the ocean. For Baptists, they must row their rowboat to the slowly passing supply ship in the distance and catch up with it to get the life-or-death help they require for survival:
Hebrews 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect); on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
Hebrews 7:25 Consequently He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him.
James 4:8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.
Lutherans, in contrast, see the supply ship searching for and coming to them, dead in the water, and when the gigantic supply vessel arrives, asks them: "Do you need help?"
Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew He also destined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that He might be the first-born among many brethren.
Romans 8:30 And those whom He destined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified.
First John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins.
Revelation 3:20 Hey, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.
Both Baptists and Lutherans would agree that the supply ship, the rowboat, the ocean, the moving of both rowboat or supply ship -- all ultimately come from or are enabled by a benevolent Creator God:
James 1:17 Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Hebrews 2:11 For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brethren....