heart without our conscious consent. Unintentional and deliberate sins run into each other so that it is impossible to draw a line between them. The doctrine that there is no sin without consent implies power to withhold consent. But this contradicts the universal need of redemption and our observation that none have ever thus entirely withheld consent from sin.?

(b) H. B. Smith?s Review of Whedon on the Will, in Faith and Philosophy, 359-399 ? ?A child, upon the old view, needs only growth to make him guilty of actual sin whereas, upon this view, he needs growth and grace too.? See Bibliotheca Sacra, 20:327, 328. According to Whedon, Com. on <450512>Romans 5:12, ?the condition of an infant apart from Christ is that of a sinner, as one sure to sin yet never actually condemned before personal apostasy. This would be its condition, rather, for in Christ the infant is regenerate and justified and endowed with the Holy Spirit. Hence all actual sinners are apostates from a state of grace.? But we ask: 1. Why then do infants die before they have committed actual sin? Surely not on account of Adam?s sin, for they are delivered from all the evils of that, through Christ. It must be because they are still somehow sinners. 2. How can we account for all infants sinning so soon as they begin morally to act, if, before they sin, they are in a state of grace and sanctification? It must be because they were still somehow sinners. In other words, the universal regeneration and justification of infants contradict Scripture and observation.

(c) Notice that this ?gracious? ability does not involve saving grace to the recipient, because it is given equally to all men. Nor is it more than a restoring to man of his natural ability lost by Adam?s sin. It is not sufficient to explain why one man who has the gracious ability chooses God while another who has the same gracious ability chooses self. <460407>1 Corinthians 4:7 ? ?who maketh thee to differ?? Not God, but thyself. Over against this doctrine of Armenians, who hold to universal, resistible grace, restoring natural ability, Calvinists and Augustinians hold to particular, irresistible grace, giving moral ability, or, in other words, bestowing the disposition to use natural ability aright. ?Grace? is a word much used by Armenians. Methodist Doctrine and Discipline, Articles of Religion, viii ? ?The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and works, to faith. Calling upon God wherefore, we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.? It is important to understand that, in Armenian usage, grace is simply the restoration of man?s natural ability to act for himself; it never actually saves him, but only enables him to save

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment