I saw this quote from Charles Spurgeon, posted as a graphic from Monergism Books on FaceBook. Thought I’d repost it here since it is so true, and sooooo misunderstood.
“Free will I have often heard of, but I have never seen it. I have always met with will, and plenty of it, but it has either been led captive by sin or held in the blessed bonds of grace.” – C. H. Spurgeon
I’m not sure the actual source text of this Spurgeon quote, but it’s on the Internet so it must be true.
Here are a handful of other great quotes on the myth of free will from Evangelical scholars of the past:
“[Man’s will] is not free at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bondslave of evil since it cannot turn itself to good.”
“We are all sinners by nature ,therefore we are held under the yoke of sin . But if the whole man is subject to the dominion of sin , surely the will , which is it’s principal seat , must be bound with the closest of chains.”
“Before the fall, man had been created with a free will, so that, had he been willing, he might have kept the law; his nature was pure; the disease of sin had not yet reached him … But having desired to be as God, he died – and not he alone, but all his posterity. Since then in Adam all men are dead, no one can recall them to life, until the Spirit, which is God himself, raises them from the dead.”
“There has been no such thing as freedom since Adam fell. Adam was free. Not a single child of Adam has ever been free… Man’s will has been bound ever since the fall of Adam. By nature man is not free to choose God … Do not talk to me about free will; there is no such thing. There is no such thing as free will in fallen man. The Bible teaches that.”
-Martyn Lloyd-Jones Romans – Assurance
“The choices a fallen man makes are voluntary and self-determined, not coerced, but are in bondage and taken captive by sin, so they make evil choices of necessity, so they are not free. Free from coercion yes, but not free from necessity, due to a corruption of nature. Calvin said, “We do not say that fallen man is forced unwillingly into sinning, but rather that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin (Rom 7:6; 2 Tim 2:26) and therefore sins of necessity.”
“We do not make choices contrary to our desires or natures, nor separately from God’s meticulous providence.”
“…we allow that man has choice and that it is self-determined, so that if he does anything evil, it should be imputed to him and to his own voluntary choosing. … We deny that choice is free, because through man’s innate wickedness it is of necessity driven to what is evil and cannot seek anything but evil. … we do not say that man is dragged unwillingly into sinning, but that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin and therefore of necessity will in an evil way. For where there is bondage, there is necessity. But it makes a great difference whether the bondage is voluntary or coerced.”
-John Calvin from Bondage and Liberation of the Will