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No single word resonates with Americans and millions of others quite like freedom. A television commercial announces that buying a certain automobile or flying with a certain airline will make you "free." People celebrate their country's ...

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Greg Greg Barron

September 11, 2013  3:18pm

Roger Olson is professor of theology at Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and the author, most recently, of Against Calvinism (Zondervan). Maybe this information about the author....that he is the author of "Against Calvinism" would have been better declared at the beginning of the article so as to see or be alerted to to what his obvious bias was going to be in the article.

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Bob Davies

October 11, 2012  2:24pm

What Jesus comes to accomplish is the possibility of freely engaging in a relationship with God that is its own reward: something not in tension with our negative freedom, but rather chosen out of it. The problem in the Garden was NOT that a certain type of freedom was actually bad. That freedom was a gift reflective of the dignity of the created creatures God made us to be. The problem wasn't the gift of freedom or it's use. That same freedom was used wonderfully everyday as Adam and Eve chose what to eat and how to spend their time. The problem on the day they chose to eat from the tree in the centre of the Garden was not the exercise of a bad kind of freedom. It was, rather, with what they chose: to eat what wasn't good and what God had warned them would cause death.

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Bob Davies

October 11, 2012  2:18pm

The fruit in the Garden of Eden is the scriptural basis for Free Will: the gift of the inviolate freedom of the individual to choose other than God. That freedom, 'negative freedom', is a statement of the dignity God gave his created people in his garden. Free Will is the gift God has given every person. No person, state, or other human power has any right to challenge or inhibit that freedom. Our cultural trends are not towards promoting individual free will or negative freedom (freedom from), but rather are towards what we'd call positive freedom (freedom to). The attempt to use the power of the state or other means to create opportunities for people to do things (i.e. to make them 'more free'), even at the expense of the God given individual negative freedom others enjoy. The trendy freedom narrative actually held today, for example, is that the limits of poverty can be overcome by coordinated human intervention. But the only Christian answer to poverty is freely chosen charity.

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gordon payne

October 07, 2012  9:24am

Chapters, that is, of Genesis.

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gordon payne

October 07, 2012  9:21am

There's no ducking the point if one takes the first eleven or so chapters as something more than fairy tale respecting man, his nature and purpose. From innocence to command, from exposure to evil, thru temptation, beyond commission in violation to condemnation, something ongoing, there is no excuse for failing to appreciate God's finding that man's imagination, absent His grace, inclines toward's evil, whether in the choice or from the choice, whether willfully or from a deformity of understanding, ignorance is and remaining no excuse. For the normal believer in Jesus, we know because the Bible tells us so.

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editor UNITYINCHRIST.COM

October 06, 2012  9:42am

Now Gordon, a response only a learned theologian could understand (and wade through). But for us normal believers in Jesus--huh?--come again?

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gordon payne

October 06, 2012  9:20am

One is better off reading Isaiah Berlin's work on freedom. From a Biblical perspective, confused. From a Calvinist perspective, false. Bondage in the Biblical sense, always respecting sin. Freedom, in the Calvinist sense, always in the freedom from bondage, and there of the will beyond any material condition. Moral depravity, even in the will if not the understanding, is always seen in a controlling context, the 'inclination' prevailing until set free by grace, the more the assent the better. Free will, always defined in its Arminian sense, a Pelagian adoption of the philosopher's presumption, the essential goodness of man - contrary to a human condition, clearly revealed and historically proven, all too fallen, and there, despite the raptures of Pope espousing the cause of Leibniz. Confusing the faculty of choice with an ability to choose good is the devil's play to ultimately dispose of evil, its existence, in the choice, the choice paramount beyond good and evil!

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editor UNITYINCHRIST.COM

October 06, 2012  4:16am

I almost totally agree with this article in the 'spirit', but not quite 'the letter.' On page 4, I disagree with the statement "I'm already free from the law and from condemnation;" The whole article shows and demonstrates that we in Christ have become free from the power of Satan's world, free now to keep God's law. The sentence in question should read, "I'm free from the 'penalty of the law' and from condemnation;' Christ's sacrifice freed us from the penalty of God's law, so we could pursue true sanctification, which you defined very well. Often this idea of what we must do to pursue this 'sanctification' is distorted, on the one hand by those churches who are super-grace oriented, this often turns grace into license to do what one pleases, ie sin, whilst on the other side of the fence are the legalists, who would attempt to force by church legislation the obedience of the believer (Pharisaism). Check the Topical section of my site for the article 'What is Grace?' to clarify.

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Helmut Egesa Wagabi

October 06, 2012  2:38am

As Christians we should always remember that we were slaves of Satan before we were saved but when Christ came into our lives, we were set free from bondage to sin and ushered into service to God where we should always live in obedience. Our freedom in Christ does not allow us to do everything we feel like doing. Remember we still have a body that lusts after sin and can only overcome the struggle through subservience to the word of God. Please see Psalm 68:18-21; Ephesians 4:8,9.

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Angie BATEY

October 05, 2012  9:49pm

Some people may not see this as true freedom but maybe it's because they have their own sense of what freedom is. Freedom apart from God is not freedom, it is imprisonment. Imprisonment because nothing here on earth can compare to God's Kingdom and God's plan. What we have on earth shadows in comparison. And what a man can build with his own hands is rubble compared to what He freely gives to man. But so many go through life without ever accepting it. I believe the stumbling block can be arrogance but more often (and stronger) is a man's fear of his own creator. Thank you for this article. It is very realistic but more than likely misunderstood by many.

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John Chapman

October 05, 2012  9:04pm

Thanks, but I just can't seem to process this. Pretty sure I know what freedom looks like, but freedom constrained by obedience = ??

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George Ertel

October 05, 2012  1:20pm

The hose example made the author's point effectively. The essay might better have started and ended with that. The unexplained/unsubstantiated assumptions and the straw-man arguments detracted from the essay. Thanks for writing, but no thanks for writing so much.

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