Does Man Have A Free Will?

Larry Ray Hafley

(Part One of Four)


(Editor's Note: The following article by brother Hafley is the first of four which will appear in the January, February, March and April issues of Watchman Magazine. Each article consists of 3 sections [or smaller articles]. Combined, they systematically answer the Calvinist doctrines of Total Depravity and Individual Predestination. I commend them to you.)

(Section 1)

DOES MAN HAVE A FREE WILL?

This series of articles is a response to an article by "Elder Wayne Camp, Pastor" of Pilgrims' Hope Baptist Church, Memphis, TN. Elder Camp's article was entitled, "THE COMMONLY BELIEVED LIE CONCERNING THE ALLEGED FREE WILL OF MAN," and appeared in The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator, August, 1995, Pp. 1-10. While this review will not completely cover Camp's conclusions, it will supply sufficient study material to address the question of our title.

Total Depravity And Free Will

Under the heading, THE LIE: MAN HAS A FREE WILL, Camp correctly comments, "Many, who claim to believe in total depravity, deny the depravity of the will, which is inconsistent with the doctrine of total depravity. If man is truly depraved totally, his will is depraved. The suggestion that one who is totally depraved has a will that can rise out of that depravity free of the shackles of it is ridiculous ...." Camp is right. Many Baptists believe in total depravity, but contend that man has a will that is free to choose whether or not he shall be saved. Camp denies this and argues that if man is indeed totally depraved, then he has no will with which to choose. Because his will comes from a well that has been poisoned by total depravity, man is neither able nor free to choose. To believe in the free will of man to choose salvation, one would have to deny the doctrine of total depravity, which to Pastor Camp is unthinkable. Says he, "Others deny total depravity altogether and argue consistently that the will of man is free. Some argue that the unregenerate sinner is as free to choose the right and reject the wrong as was Jesus."

Camp rejects both positions. First, assuming the fact of total depravity, he denies that man has a free will to choose. Second, he repudiates those who say that man is not born totally depraved and, consequently, has a free will. If man were not born totally depraved, he would have a free will, but, cries Camp, he is born totally depraved, therefore, he cannot have a free will. Camp's Baptist friends, who believe in free will, will squirm in vain to escape their dilemma. They want to hold to total depravity but accept free will. Camp says that such an attempt is "inconsistent" and "ridiculous, to say the least." Camp is correct!

Again, assuming the reality of total depravity, Camp contends, "The heart is one of the faculties of men which controls the will. Contrary to what some think, the will does not act independently of itself. It is controlled by the heart and mind, both of which are depraved. ... We are forced to the conclusion: A will that is controlled by an evil heart and (a) defiled, alienated mind will never cause a man to will to come to Christ." Granting total depravity, Camp is right. His opponents have two choices: (1) They can deny total depravity, or, being unwilling (note the irony of that word in this context!) to do that, (2) they must deny that man has a free will. So, the question is:

Are Men Born Totally Depraved?

To be fair, Camp does not earnestly argue this point. He assumes that most all of his readers will accept the doctrine of total depravity. However, we shall refer to a few references he gives to sustain it and comment thereon.

"One of the evidences of total depravity is that men, by nature, are liars. Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Men, by nature, are not only liars, they had rather believe a lie than the truth. I suppose that goes back to Eve believing the Devil's lie rather than believing God's truth."

First, the text says the wicked "go astray." It does not say they are "born astray." Second, the wicked of the text speak lies, but infants cannot speak. Third, these have "teeth" which newborns do not have (Psa. 58:6). Fourth, they are estranged "from the womb," not "in the womb." Fifth, Camp and all Calvinists believe that men are "conceived in sin." Hence, how could they be "estranged (from God) from the womb" if they are "conceived in sin" "in the womb"? Sixth, if the fact that men are "estranged" from God "from the womb" proves the doctrine of total depravity, then does Psalm 22:10 prove David was not born totally depraved, since it says of him, "I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly"? Seventh, these had stopped their own ears and refused to hear (Psa. 58:4, 5; Cf. Isa. 30:9; Jer. 6:17; 17:23: 19:15).

If, as Camp says, "men, by nature, are liars," was he lying when he said that? If men "had rather believe a lie than the truth," are those who gladly accept his conclusions believing a lie rather than the truth because that is what they had "rather" do?

But this tendency of men who had "rather believe a lie than the truth" "goes back to Eve believing the Devil's lie rather than believing God's truth," says our Elder Pastor. Well, has Camp forgotten that when Eve believed that lie she was not yet totally depraved? According to the creeds, she was not totally depraved until she ate of the forbidden fruit. So, being not yet totally depraved, what caused her to believe "the Devil's lie rather than the truth" ? Can Mr. Camp tell us?

Remember, before she ate of the tree, Eve was totally hereditarily righteous. Her whole being -- body, soul, and spirit -- had come from God. So, if she was totally depraved at her creation, it was God who created her so. Even the creeds of Calvinism will not admit that. So, Elder Camp, how came Eve to receive and believe a lie before she was totally depraved? Since, according to you, it is those who are totally depraved who are more disposed to believe "a lie rather than the truth," how did Eve accept a lie over the truth? Was she pure and altogether righteous before she ate of the tree? Did she have "free will" before she ate the fruit? Before ever having sinned, before sin was in the world, Eve heard, believed, and obeyed a lie. Camp knows why we do so. He says it is the result of total depravity. Now, let him tell us why Eve did so. She was not totally depraved at the time she heard, believed, received, and obeyed the lie. Did she have a choice in the matter? Or had God so created and programmed her that she could not do otherwise? Hmm, Mr. Camp?

(Section 2)

"MEN ARE BORN WITH EVIL HEARTS"

So says Wayne Camp, editor of "The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator," in an article entitled, "THE COMMONLY BELIEVED LIE CONCERNING THE ALLEGED FREE WILL OF MAN." In support of the idea that man does not have a free will with which to choose salvation, which is conditionally offered by the Lord, Elder Camp concisely contends: "The heart is one of the faculties of men which controls the will. Contrary to what some think, the will does not act independently of itself. It is controlled by the heart and mind, both of which are depraved .... the heart of an unsaved person .... is depraved.

"... Men are born with evil hearts.

"... There is no way that such a heart would cause a man to will to come to Christ. Its whole inclination is against God and against law and order. How could such a heart incline the will of an unregenerate person to come to Christ?"

Camp's Four Passages

Camp cites four passages in order to prove that men "are born with evil hearts."

(1) "Jeremiah 17:9--The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" First, whatever the text teaches, it does not say that men are born with evil, totally depraved, hearts. Second, observe the context of Jeremiah 17:9:

(a.) The Lord appealed to these people (Jer. 6:16). Why did he appeal to them to "stand ... see ... ask ... and walk" in his ways when he knew that they could not do so due to their totally depraved, evil heart which they were "born with"? (b.) These had "done worse than (their) fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me" (Jer. 16:12). How could they be "worse than" their fathers if all had an equally evil, totally depraved, heart? They could have heard God if they had not walked after the stubbornness of their evil heart. They had a choice in the matter, "But they said, We will not walk therein" (Jer. 6:16; 11:10). (c.) So, how did they obtain this "evil heart" that was "deceitful" and "desperately wicked"? Their heart departed from the Lord (Jer. 17:5). It was not born apart from the Lord, but they made it that way--"Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck" (Jer. 7:26). "But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction" (Jer. 17:23). Since they "made their neck stiff," it was not born that way. "Thus saith the Lord ... the God of Israel ... they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words" (Jer. 19:15). (d.) Corruption then, as now, is in the world "through lust," not through birth (2 Pet. 1:4). "Thus saith the Lord unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet" (Jer. 14:10) They did not refrain their feet, but they could have (Jer. 4:1; 6:16)!

(2) "The imaginations of the natural man's heart are evil. Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of his heart was only evil continually." This verse does not say that men "are born with evil hearts." How, though, did man reach this evil state before God? The earth was corrupt, "for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth" (Gen. 6:12). The earth was not corrupt because all men were born totally depraved, but because "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." The earth was "filled with violence through them," through men who had corrupted their way. The earth was filled with violence "because of them," not because of total hereditary depravity. Hence, they were not born corrupted, but they corrupted their way. "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions" (Eccl. 7:29). As the Lord said of the king of Tyrus, "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee" (Ezek. 28:15). If the king was "born with an evil heart" as Camp contends, when was he ever perfect in his ways?

Men may so corrupt their way "that every imagination of his heart (is) only evil continually." There is no denying that some "cannot cease from sin" (2 Pet. 2:14). But how do they get into that condition? They become so because they exercise their heart "with covetous practices," not because they were so born (Eph. 2:2, 3).

(3) "This evil is a continual thing in the heart of the person whom God has not regenerated. And, I should point out, that this does not begin at 16 years of age or older. It begins very early in life. Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living as I have done." This passage does not say that man is born with an evil heart. It says his heart is "evil from his youth." If that means one's heart is born evil, then Goliath must have been a warrior, a soldier, when he was born, for Scripture says he was "a man of war from his youth" (1 Sam. 17:33). If, a man "is born with" an "evil heart," then it is not evil "from his youth," but, rather, "from his birth." Man's heart, as observed above, becomes corrupted "through lust," not through birth (Jas. 1:13-15; 2 Pet. 1:4; 2:10; 3:4).

What a "monster - God" Camp's doctrine has created. "Men are born with evil hearts," says Elder Camp. If so, who knows it better than God? If God knows "men are born with evil hearts," why did he ever curse the ground or smite every living thing as he had done? He knew the nature of man, for he had created him. He knew they were unable to be willing to do his will, for he created them thus. Still, he cursed the ground and sent the flood for doing that which they could not help but do. It is like killing a newborn for defiling his diaper. He cannot do otherwise. He has no choice. Shall we kill him for it? Men are born with depraved hearts. Evil is their natural disposition; they cannot do otherwise. So, curse the ground and drowned the rest!

(4) "All kinds of evil come out of the heart of the natural man. Matt. 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

 ".... There is no way that such a heart would cause a man to will to come to Christ." Assuredly, evil proceeds from the heart, but this text says nothing about how the heart came to harbor such things, nor does it say that men "are born with evil hearts," much less does it say that "such a heart" would prohibit a man from being able to will to come to Christ, as Pastor Camp teaches.

Note the context. First, Jesus cited Isaiah 29:13 and applied it to the Pharisees (Matt. 15:7). In the Isaiah text, the people "removed their heart far from me." How could they "remove their hearts" from the Lord, if they were born away from God? Second, Jesus assumed that though their hearts were far from him they could still hear and understand him (Matt. 15:10; Mk. 7:14, 16). This contradicts Elder Camp. He says that such a heart cannot permit the will to hear and understand; that is, come to Christ.

Third, in another encounter in Matthew 13, Jesus again quoted Isaiah and said, "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" They were the ones who "willed" or chose not to hear; they were the ones who refused to hear; they were the ones who hardened their hearts (Isa. 1:4-6; 30:9-11; 65:2). God appealed to them (Isa. 1:18-20). Yes, murder proceeds from the heart (Matt. 15:19). They were guilty of murder which came from their heart, but it had not always been so (Isa. 1:21). Yet, if Camp is correct, their hearts were full of murder when they were born. This contradicts Isaiah 1:21. The word of God is sown in the heart, but they understood it not because they closed the eyes of their heart to the truth (Matt. 13:19; Isa. 1:18-20).

Fourth, Paul also quoted Isaiah 6:9, 10 and made the same application--"their eyes they have closed" (Acts 28:26-28). He appealed and reasoned with such hearts out of the Scriptures. Some believed; some did not (Acts 28:23, 24). Remember, too, that this same group had requested a Bible study with Paul -- "we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against" (Acts 28:22). Would natural born "evil hearts" ask for such a hearing? Camp says "there is not way" that could happen, but these did, and some believed! Finally, Paul said that pagan Gentiles "will hear" the "salvation of God" (Acts 28:28). That "salvation of God" which the Gentiles "will hear" is the gospel (Acts 13:26, 46-48; Rom. 1:16). Contrary to Camp's contention, their hearts could be persuaded "to will to come to Christ."

Consider Zechariah 7:9-13

The text of Zechariah 7:9-13 will sheds light on the issues in dispute. "Thus has the Lord of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice, and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.' "But they refused to pay attention, and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from hearing. And they made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. And it came about that just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen," says the Lord of hosts."

First, they were commanded not to devise evil in their hearts. According to Camp, "Men are born with evil hearts." If so, they could not have done anything except to devise evil in their hearts. However, the Lord appealed to them not to do so, and punished them when they did. Thus, they had a choice in the matter, or else God created them with "evil hearts" and then, under penalty of punishment, commanded them not to devise evil when he knew they could not do otherwise! Second, "they refused;" "they turned;" "they stopped their ears from hearing. And they made their hearts like flint." They were not born that way. "They made" themselves that way! Third, because "they" did these things out of conscious choice, of their own free will and determination, the result was "that they could hear" the word of God.

Fourth, carefully observe Zechariah 7:13 -- "just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen, says the Lord of hosts." Note the adverbial words, "just as" and "so." God could hear and respond to their prayers, but he chose not to do so, "just as" they could have heard and responded to God's commands. However, if the people were born with a heart that was incapable of being willing to hear and obey God, then "just so" God was incapable and unable to hear their plea to him. If the cause of their not hearing and obeying God was a flawed, depraved nature, "just so," therefore, God's inability to hear and respond to them when they called was because of something intrinsic and inherent in his nature! Is Mr. Camp ready for that conclusion?

(Section 3)

FREEWILL AND THE MIND OF MAN

"Another faculty of man which controls his will is the mind. The mind of the unregenerate is enmity against God and would never cause him to will to come to Christ. Romans 8:7 The carnal mind is enmity against God. Men are by nature alienated and enemies in their minds (Col. 1:21). The mind of the unregenerate is bent toward sin and is against God. It causes him to always walk in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. How could such a mind ever incline the will toward God? .... Yet, some are insistent that this alienated mind often inclines men to bow to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. I ask, 'Why would such a mind ever motivate a person to come to Christ?'

"The mind of the unregenerate is vain. Men by nature walk in the vanity of their mind (Eph. 4:17). Their mind is empty and vain when it comes to spiritual matters. The only way they can come to Christ is if God renews their minds as well as their hearts. The mind and conscience of men, by nature, is defiled. Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbeslieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Can a defiled mind and conscience cause one to will to come to Christ? How could it? Why would it?

"We are forced to the conclusion: A will that is controlled by an evil heart and (a) defiled, alienated mind will never cause a man to will to come to Christ .... Leave any man to his own depraved will and the words of Jesus will be always true. John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (Wayne Camp, The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator, August, 1995).

The Carnal Mind

The carnal mind is against God (Rom.8:7). It is hostile to holiness. It is not subject to God; that is, it is not submitting to the law of God. This text does not say the carnal mind is not amenable to God, for it is accountable (Rom. 1:18-3:23). Neither does the text say that it is impossible for the carnal mind to be appealed to by the gospel, for it can be (Acts 13:44-46; 1 Cor. 3:1-3; 15:1, 2). What, then, does, "neither indeed can be," mean? Simply this: "That God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth" (1 Jn. 1:5-7). Therefore, "set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth," for "no man can serve two masters" (Col. 3:2; Matt. 6:24). The carnal mind cannot be submitting and yielding to the law of God. First, if it could, that would result in a man serving two masters, which Jesus said is impossible. Second, it would mean that one could have fellowship with God while walking in darkness, which the Spirit says is impossible. Hence, Paul says the carnal mind "is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."

Pastor Camp says, "Men are by nature alienated and enemies in their minds" and cites Colossians 1:21 to prove it. Does the text say what Camp alleges? Does it say, "And you, that were some time alienated and enemies in your mind by nature," at birth? No, it says, they were "alienated and enemies in their mind by wicked works."

Next, Camp says, "The mind of the unregenerate is bent toward sin and is against God." If so, as per Camp's view, who bent it? Who bent the mind of man that way? If this mind "causes him to always walk in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind," it is the fault of the one who "bent" it that way.

So, Who "Bent" The Mind To Sin?

The mind of man may be blind, vain, corrupt, or renewed (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 4:17, 23; 1 Tim. 6:5). It may be "bent toward sin and ... against God." Paul tells us how the mind of man may be corrupted and blinded to truth and righteousness. "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtility, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). Even Elder Camp agrees that Eve did not have an "evil heart" "by nature." So, how was her mind corrupted? It was corrupted by the craftiness of the devil. She heard, believed, and obeyed a lie. She was "deceived." Her pure and perfect mind did not prevent her from the allurement and enticement of the devil's cleverly crafted words.

Now, note, the adverbs, "as" and "so." "As the serpent beguiled Eve ... so your minds should be corrupted." "As" hers was, "so" ours may be. If our minds are evil "by nature," at birth, so was Eve's mind corrupt by the nature God gave her when he created her, for our minds are corrupted as hers was -- "as," "so." On the other hand, if (as was truly the case), Eve's mind was corrupted by the subtil deceit of the devil, then so is our mind corrupted -- "as," "so."

The devil blinds the mind of man through lust (Mk. 4:15, 19; Jas. 1:13-15; 2 Pet. 1:4). Eve's sinless mind "saw" that which was "pleasant" (Gen. 3:6). She desired the fruit, being convinced that the penalty God had pronounced would not follow. In that, she was "beguiled," or "deceived." In the same manner ("as," "so"), our minds are corrupted. We corrupt ourselves (Gen. 6:12; Deut. 9:12).

We may set our minds "upon things above," or upon things below (Col. 3:2). We may "lay up treasures upon earth," or we may "lay up treasures in heaven" (Matt. 6:19, 20). The choice is ours. Like Eve, we may be deceived "by the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in" (Mk. 4:19). If we do "as" she did, "so" we will be corrupted as she was (Gen. 3:6; 1 Jn. 2:15-17).

When our minds are set upon things below, they are at enmity with God, alienated from him, and are not subject to the law of God, "neither indeed can be." "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Rom. 8:12, 13). "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal. 6:7, 8). The choice, the decision, is ours to make. Whether we shall mind the things of the Spirit or of the flesh is up to us to determine. Whether we shall be carnally minded or spiritually minded is up to us to decide. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness" (Rom. 6:16)? So, how will you bend your mind? Where will you "set" it (Col. 3:2).

Can The Carnal Mind Come To Christ?

Without citing the reference, Camp quotes a portion of Ephesians 2:2 and says the carnal mind causes man "to always walk in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind." Then, he asks, "How could such a mind ever incline the will toward God .... some are insistent that this alienated mind often inclines men to bow to Jesus .... I ask, 'Why would such a mind ever motivate a person to come to Christ ....

"How could it?" Since the Ephesians are the ones under discussion, since they are the one who were spiritually "dead," fulfilling the desires ... of the mind," let us see how they came "to Christ." "In whom (Christ), ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13). When did they "trust" in Christ? "After," not before, they heard the word of truth, the gospel. When were they "sealed with that holy Spirit of promise"? "After," they believed, not before, they were sealed. They were not sealed with the Spirit in order to enable them to believe, but were "sealed" "after" they believed.

These unregenerated Ephesians who had alienated minds and were at enmity against God, when they "heard" Paul, were "baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:5). The Ephesians "believed." "Faith," says the Spirit, comes by "hearing" the word of God (Rom. 10:17). When these Ephesians, who had "not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit," "heard the word of truth," they believed, repented, and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 19:5; 20:21; Eph. 1:13; 5:26).

Camp asks, "Why would such a mind ever motivate a person to come to Christ?" Answer: "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Rom. 2:4). "I have loved thee ... therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jer. 31:3). As the pure mind of Eve could respond to overtures of the devil, so impure minds may respond to the goodness of God. If not, is the word of the devil more powerful than the word of God? The devil's word could woo and win a pure, sinless child of God, but God's word cannot convert an impure, sinful child of the devil -- is that it? It is, if Camp's view is correct.

Jesus said, "Come unto me ... and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). To what kind of mind did Jesus issue his appeal? It could not have been to a regenerated mind, for they have no need to come to him; they are already with him. Plus, they are not in need of rest; they already have it. So, when Jesus said, "Come unto me," he was inviting alienated minds, those at enmity with God. But if alienated, unregenerate minds cannot be motivated to come to Christ, why did Jesus invite them? Elder Camp needs to tell us.

"The Only Way"

"The only way," Camp argues, "they can come to Christ is if God renews their minds as well as their hearts." And if he does not do his work, if God does not renew their mind, whose fault is it if they do not come to Christ? Here is Camp's case: The vain, alienated mind is invited by Jesus to "come unto me." But this mind cannot come until God renews or regenerates it. God does not do his part. He does not renew their mind. The invited ones, therefore, cannot come; they cannot answer the invitation because God fails to renew their minds. Then, at the judgment, those alienated ones are bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness, into the lake which burneth with fire and brimestone, because they did not come to Christ. But they were "by nature," at birth, unable to come to him. God had to renew their minds before they could come to Christ; it was "the only way." But God did not do his part. Whose fault is it that they are lost?

Though Camp cites Titus 1:15 to prove the the "mind and conscience of man, by nature, is defiled," the passage makes no such profession. It says the mind and conscience of the defiled and unbelieving ones is defiled, but it does not say how it came to that end. However, if the mind is "by nature" "against God," as Mr. Camp avows, why does it profess that it knows God (Titus 1:16)? If a mind were what Camp says it is "by nature," it would not profess that it knows God, but these minds did so profess. These defiled minds are further proof that "by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:20; Titus 1:16). As James challenged, "Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works" (Jas. 2:18). First, these defiled ones defiled themselves by their own works (Psa. 106:39; Titus 1:16). Second, they failed to cleanse themselves from all defilement of the flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1--NASB). Third, they still tried to pass themselves off as the servants of God, but their works denied them and belied their profession.

Mr. Camp cites John 5:40 thusly: "Leave any man to his own depraved will and the words of Jesus will be always true. John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." No, to suit Camp, the text should say, "And ye cannot come to me that ye might have life because God has not yet renewed your heart." That is Elder Camp's view!

But, then, there is this. Camp cites John 5:40. He says the unregenerate mind cannot "will" to come to Christ, that it is impossible for it to do so. If that be true, why did Jesus, just six verses earlier, say, "These things I say that ye might be saved" (Jn. 5:34)? If Jesus knew they "could not" and "would not" "be saved" no matter what he said, why did Jesus say, "These things I say that ye might be saved?" (Someone needs to tell Mr. Camp that his phone is ringing -- again.)


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