A Very Short Proof of the Unfair Nature of Prevenient Grace

A common argument made by Arminians against the Biblical Doctrine of irresistible grace is both fallacious and absurd, for it (i.)is an appeal to emotion and (ii.)it refutes the Arminian position itself. I’ll briefly demonstrate this logically.

The Arminian Argument

MP: It would be unfair for God to impose His will on free creatures.

Mp: God would never do anything unfair.

C: Therefore, God would never impose His will on free creatures.

The above argument is an appeal to emotion because it does not explain precisely how God’s imposition of His will on supposedly free creatures would be unfair. Instead, it uses the word unfair so as to stack the deck against the Christian who is arguing in favor of the doctrines of grace. On this basis alone, the argument is shown to be fallacious and, therefore, false. However, for the sake of fully demolishing the Arminian notion of Prevenient grace, I’ll take it a step further and show how such a view makes Arminianism itself impossible.

  1. Arminians believe, as Scripture teaches, that man is born dead in his sins.
  2. Moreover, they assert that man cannot of his own freedom come to Christ.
  3. They, however, state that God grants Prevenient grace to all men in order to enable them to come to faith in Christ.
  4. Thus every man, although born dead in his sins and obstinately opposed to the Gospel, is given the capacity to choose Christ.
  5. However, this means that all men, regardless of their natural opposition to God, are given something they never asked for, viz. Prevenient grace.
  6. Therefore, they have Prevenient grace given to them against their will, since they are born dead in their sins and opposed to God and His Gospel.
  7. Therefore, God’s giving of Prevenient grace, which supposedly enables them to choose to place their faith in Christ, is unfair.
  8. Therefore, Prevenient grace is an unfair doctrine, for it teaches that God gives enabling grace to those who do not want it.
  9. Therefore, God imposes His will on free creatures.
  10. Therefore, Prevenient grace is absurd.

Soli Deo Gloria.

-h.

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6 thoughts on “A Very Short Proof of the Unfair Nature of Prevenient Grace

  1. Sarai says:

    I suppose a similar argument might be that…
    To be born dead in one’s sins would be an imposition of will as well. One does not choose from birth to be sinful and has not yet even been given the option to consider a sinful nature or otherwise. Therefore the only reason that Prevenient Grace is necessary is because a “condition” has already been imposed on humanity.

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  2. Hiram says:

    I agree.

    If the imposition of any conditions upon the supposedly free human will is unfair, then the only theological position that absolves God of guilt for being unfair would be deism.

    Punishment for sin is not negotiable.
    Neither is reward for obedience.
    Neither is the object of saving faith.

    The list goes on and on….

    So, in sense, one could argue that way in order to show that Arminianism is false. For if God cannot impose His will on supposedly free creatures, then He cannot punish them for disobedience, reward them for obedience, give them prevenient grace, and empower them to place their faith in Christ.

    All of those things are imposed upon the supposedly free creature’s will by God.

    Therefore, if Arminianism is true, then God is unfair ;)

    -h.

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  3. Sarai says:

    H-
    Where did you come from?! Your precision and logic is blowing my mind! I began the afternoon looking for more thoughts for the focus of the sermon and worship this Sunday and have ended up finding a brilliant mind and perhaps a theological sparring buddy ;)

    I can see that the Armenians do not exactly float your boat. However, how can we begin with the standard that God must be fair? Is that a given? In fact, God’s primary objective is not fairness. Grace always takes precedence over being fair.

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  4. Hiram says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Sarai :)

    As regards Arminianism, I’ve experienced the harm that it can do to a person, and I understand how it does not agree with the Word of God, so I want to deal with it whenever & wherever I get the opportunity. The issue of whether or not God is “fair” isn’t really my own starting point; I’ve only used it because I’ve a number of Arminians who argue that way.

    My understanding from Scripture is that God’s own glorification takes precedence over everything that He does. So grace shown to one sinner and damnation shown to another both glorify God; the one magnifying His graciousness in giving eternal life to undeserving law-breakers, the other magnifying His justice in giving the guilty exactly what they deserve.

    So I don’t use the word “fair.” Whatever the Lord does is good and done for the sake of glorifying Him.

    -h.

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