Willing to Believe, by R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul surveys the free-will controversy by introducing the reader to the views of Pelagius, Augustine, Cassian, Luther, Calvin, Arminius, Edwards, Finney, and finally, Chafer. Each man receives a chapter, and thus the work provides helpful historical perspective. Along the way, Sproul provides limited commentary and evaluation of each man’s understanding, largely in an objective manner. His brief conclusion is stated below.

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If the fall renders man morally unable, dead in sin, and enslaved to sin, then human freedom must be viewed in one way. If the fall is not so radical, then the will of man is viewed differently. How we view our fallen condition, then, has radical implications for how we understand both the nature and necessity of regeneration as it relates to faith. This in turn greatly influences how we understand the biblical doctrine of election. From Augustine to the Reformers and Jonathan Edwards, down to the present, those who believe that the fallen sinner retains the capacity to choose what he desires but is enslaved by these desires, rest their confidence in the knowledge that salvation is of the Lord and those whom the Son makes free are free indeed.

R.C. Sproul, Willing to Believe : The Controversy Over Free Will, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000), 204.

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