The Fifth Tenet of Radical Depravity
The last time I posted on Radical Depravity I provided short summaries of its first four tenets (see The First Four Tenets of Radical Depravity). This week I am going to provide a set of quotes on the fifth and final tenet of Radical Depravity: Freedom of Integrity.
The sections of Dr. Keathley’s book that deal with the freedom of integrity are my favorites. I have heard this concept before but not presented in such a clear and straightforward way. The pastor whose church I grew up in always said that a Christian always needs to “make good decisions from a position of strength.” What he meant by “position of strength” was knowing and applying what scripture teaches to be right. Right decisions lead to more right decisions which is almost identical to this concept of freedom of integrity.
One thing that really caught my attention in the quotes below is what Dr. Keathley says about “freedom of integrity” and the “age of accountability.” I have written before about the “age of accountability” (which I think is a poor term for the concept) and I do believe that a person has to develop mentally to the point of “God Consciousness” [i] before they are held accountable before God. Of course this hinges on on whether or not you believe that God has permitted us to exercise free will. If God determines ahead of time what you are going to think and do, then His “giving us a chance” when it comes to accepting the Gospel is nonsense. Sending a newborn to eternal perdition isn’t as big of a deal since they really have no less of an opportunity than a reprobate who lived to a ripe old age.
This looks like my last post on Molinism for now. Much of the remainder of Dr. Keathley’s book keeps using the same arguments that I have already mentioned in my earlier posts on this topic. If you are not already convinced then you probably won’t be if I provide more quotes.
It will most likely be a couple of weeks before I post again. When I do come back to blogging I have post on the Millenium and one on Heaven planned. Beyond that I have no idea what I will post about. Only time will tell.
Now here is Dr. Keathley:
The fifth tenet of soft libertarianism is the distinction between the two types of ability: freedom of responsibility and freedom of integrity. As stated earlier, freedom can be understood in two ways: as a permission and as an ability. The Bible often presents freedom as a permission, a privilege, or as a right to choose. An example of freedom of permission is when Paul instructs that a Christian widow is “free to be married to anyone she wants,” as long as she marries a believer (1 Cor 7:39). This is what we would generally call “liberty,” and the Bible provides many examples of this type of freedom (2 Cor 9:7; Phlm 14).
This brings up the notion of freedom of integrity, an important concept to soft libertarianism. Freedom of integrity is the ability to act in a way that is consistent with what a person knows to be the right thing to do. This category consists of the freedom to be the kind of person one wants to be. It is the ability to translate one’s values into action. It speaks of the level of development one must reach to be a fully functioning and mature person. More than anything else, the Bible presents freedom to be the ability to do what is right.
This concept of freedom pays more attention to the concept of “person” than to free will because ascriptions of personal integrity depend on an analysis of personal identity. The doctrine of the “age of accountability” is based on the notion of freedom of integrity. It is the belief that a child must reach a certain point of mental, emotional, and spiritual development before he is accountable.
The progressive sanctification of a believer and his growth in grace can be understood in terms of freedom of integrity. In many ways, the process of being conformed to the image of Christ is an incremental restoration of the freedom of integrity. Sanctification is the restoring of a Christian’s ability to bring his life into conformity with the will of God. This is true freedom – the ability to live a life that is pleasing to God. Christ promises the freedom of integrity (John 8:36), which is the ability to obey the will of God.
[i] God consciousness is defined as the point at which a person becomes aware of the existence of God. It may also be classified as the point of accountability.