The following is an excerpt from a correspondence between Marc Carpenter and a non-Christian named Renee:
Hello, Renee –
You are saying that God did not unconditionally choose to damn certain people before the foundation of the world, that God does not actively harden people, and that man has a will that is independent of God’s active causation.
There is no such thing as “free will” in any sense of the word. God actively directs and causes all actions and events, including the sins of men and angels. I am not typing this e-mail to you out of my own “free will”; I am typing it because God is causing me to type it. Men do not sin of their own “free will”; they sin because God causes them to sin. He does not merely “permit” sin; He actively causes men to sin. This is especially seen in the crucifixion. A man from our assembly and I were just discussing this this past Sunday. Pilate told the Jews that he could find no fault in Jesus Christ. If the Jews had the “free will” to choose to crucify Christ or not, it is possible that they could have been convinced by Pilate either to let Jesus Christ go or to inflict some lesser punishment. Of course, this did not happen, because God caused them to do what God had determined beforehand would be done (Acts 4:27-28). God turns the king’s heart wherever He desires (Proverbs 21:1). God turns turns His people’s enemies’ hearts to hate His people and to deal craftily with His servants (Psalm 105:25). Everything is controlled by God. If there is even one action that is not controlled by God, then there is at least one will that is independent of God, and God is not God.
The Christian Confession of Faith states it like this (and take note of the Scripture proofs):
God absolutely controls all actions and events; nothing at all happens by chance or merely by His permission. All actions and events happen because of His sovereign decree, including the sins of men and angels. Contrary to the aspersions of the enemies of God, this doctrine does not attribute sin to God; instead, it provides great comfort for believers. [Gen 50:20; Exo 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; Deu 2:30; 32:39; Jos 11:20; 1Sa 2:6-8,25; 2Sa 17:14; 2Ch 10:15; 11:4; 25:20; 36:22; Job 12:14-25; 23:13-14; 26:7-12; Psa 105:25; 115:3; 135:5-7; Pro16:4,33; 21:1; Isa 40:23-26; 42:9; 43:13; 45:6-7; 46:9-11; Jer 18:6; 52:3; Eze 17:24; Hab 1:6,12; Joh 19:11; Act 2:23; 4:27-28; Eph 1:11; Rev 17:17]
Romans 9:19-21 refutes the lie that man’s “free will” is how a sinner is held accountable for the acts of sin he performs. The sinner asks, “Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will?” In other words, why does God hold me accountable, since God controls what I do? How does Paul answer this question? If he were a “free will” heretic, he would have said something like, “You know, you’re right. God really wouldn’t have a reason to find fault with you if He were the one controlling what you do. The only reason you’re accountable for the acts of sin you perform is because God does not actively cause you to sin; you sin of your own free will.”
But that’s not how Paul answers it, because Paul is a believer. Instead of saying that man has a “free will,” he says, “O man, WHO ARE YOU answering against God?” He says that man has absolutely no business shaking his fist at God for making him do certain things. And why does man have absolutely no business doing that? Is it because God didn’t make him do certain things? Yes, say the heretics. NO, says the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul: “Shall the thing formed say to the former, Why did you make me like this? Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the one lump to make one vessel to honor, and one to dishonor?” In other words, God is saying that He has the right to make certain people for SALVATION and certain people for DAMNATION and to SHOW MERCY to whom He desires and to HARDEN whom He desires (v. 18). This clay is not “already dishonorable before God makes anyone,” as some heretics would like to say. This clay is unformed man. Some people are formed — created — for the purpose of hardening and damnation. Some people are formed — created — for the purpose of mercy and salvation.
If you do not believe this, then you might as well go back to your Arminian and tolerant Calvinist brothers and sisters, because you believe the same thing they do.