Wednesday, May 30, 2012

John Wycliffe—A man who was a Roman Catholic Priest

As I finished reading this biography on John Wycliffe, this simple fact hit me hard.

John Wycliffe lived as a Roman Catholic priest. John Wycliffe died as a Roman Catholic Priest.

Or to say it another way: The Morning Star of the Reformation was a Roman Catholic.

Sort of ironic, don’t you think?

So here is the $144,000 question I want to try to answer: Can a Roman Catholic be a Christian?




Well….before I give my answer, I need to make a couple general statements.

First, please understand I am not intentionally trying to pick a fight or offend any Roman Catholic.

I mean it. I was very hesitant to write this blog post because I have many family members that I love dearly that are Roman Catholic.

Second, the main issue is the gospel.

This is always the main issue. The only way that Roman Catholics and Christians are the same (i.e. they belong or identified as the same group) is if their understanding of the gospel is the same.

So before we can answer the primary question (“Can a Roman Catholic be a Christian?”), we must find out if the gospel according to Rome is the same as the gospel according to Jesus.

Let's start with this, "How is an individual "justified" (i.e. made right before God)?

Below is an excellent summary of the differences between Roman Catholics and Christians (another point of irony....the author used to be Protestant, now he converted to Roman Catholicism): 



Roman Catholic


Protestant and “Bible only” Christian



Definition
Justification is a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour [5]
Definition
Justification is God’s judicial declaration that the sinner is counted as just or righteous by virtue of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ [6]


Justification is an on-going process (Key word: process)


Justification is one-time event (Key word: one-time event)
Because Justification is an on-going process, it starts when God, without any merit from us [8], takes the initiative to draw us to believe in Christ (John 6:44). It includes Sanctification, remission of sin and renewal of inner man [9]. Faith in Christ, a free gift from God, is necessary and marks the beginning of our Justification [10]. Scripture says we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and through Sanctification (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Through (on-going process) Justification the righteousness of God through Christ is infused by the Holy Spirit in us or through Justification we are made righteous [12], as stated in Romans 5:19.


Justification is by Grace [18]

Catholics do not believe in Justification by works [19].
Throughout our (on-going process) Justification God always takes the initiative to save us. His Grace will move us, first to believe in Christ as Lord and Saviour, and later to obey His commandment [20], be they loving one another, praying, sharing faith, avoiding sin, repenting from sin etc. Without God’s Grace through Christ we can do nothing as Scripture says apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5).








Baptism

Justification is conferred in Baptism [63]. Baptism is necessary for salvation of those who hear the Gospel (Mark 16:16. 1 Peter 3:21) and have chance to take it [64]. Through Baptism we are cleansed from original sin, other sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16) and all punishment for sins [65] – we are therefore regenerated (Titus 3:5) and born anew (Romans 6:3-4) as sons of God [66], become members of His Church [67] and receive the grace of justification [68], i.e. Sanctifying Grace. According to Scripture there are mortal (deadly) and non-deadly sins (1 John 5:16-17). Sanctifying Grace is lost through committing mortal sin [69] – we regain it back when moved by grace we repent and are forgiven (by God) through Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation.
Because Justification is one-time event we are justified when we believe in Christ as personal Lord and Saviour or when we become “born-again” Christians.
Sanctification is separated from Justification but there is no Justification without Sanctification [11]
Through (one-time event) Justification the righteousness of Christ is imputed on us or through Justification we are declared righteous [13], as stated in Romans 4:3, 5. We are made righteous through Sanctification, which follows our Justification [14].



Justification is by faith alone [22]

Works are not part of (one-time event) Justification.
Those who follow Lordship Salvation view believe that while we are justified by faith alone, faith that justifies (known as saving or true faith) is not alone, i.e. it will inevitably produce works [23]. A born again Christian will inevitably turn away from his/her old sinful life and will inevitably become new person who shows the fruits of his/her faith through good works. Luther wrote that while faith alone justifies, good works are necessary for salvation [24]. Those who do not turn away from their sinful life (or do not show fruits of faith in their good works) are false believers and will not enter heaven.


Baptism

Some, like Church of Christ and even Luther [71], consider the necessity of Baptism for our salvation. Calvin denied that Baptism erases original sin [72]. He did believe in Baptism for the forgiveness of sin but stated that the blood of Christ, figured by the water of Baptism, is the one that cleanses us from sin [73]. Calvin also stated that through Baptism all sins, past and future are forgiven, i.e. we don’t need sacrament of Reconciliation [74].
In general, Protestants and “Bible only” Christians consider Baptism only as symbol or public declaration of one’s faith in Christ – it neither regenerate us nor forgive our sins [75].

Here is the bottom line: Roman Catholics and Christians do not have the same view of justification.

Roman Catholics believe that we cooperate with God in the process of justification, but evangelical Christians believe that justification is an action of God alone.

But doesn't the Roman Catholic position state that God alone initiates justification? Yes, that is true. ("Because Justification is an on-going process, it starts when God, without any merit from us, takes the initiative to draw us to believe in Christ.")

So yes. God takes the initiative or God starts the process of justification, but human cooperation is needed during the process of justification. 

Therefore, the claim that Roman Catholicism promotes a "work-based" salvation is valid. Human cooperation to any degree means "work-based".

And if Roman Catholicism promotes a "work-based" salvation, then there is a undeniable conflict with the words of Ephesians 2.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Eph. 2:8-9)

___________________________________________________________________

Enough of the preliminary stuff. It is time to answer the question, "Can a Roman Catholic be a Christian?"

Yes....I believe it is possible. Yet I would also assert that most Roman Catholics are not saved because they are trusting in their own righteousness (i.e. the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification), not in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul gives testimony of the basis of his salvation in Philippians 3.

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith"   (Phil. 3:8-9)

So who is the type of Roman Catholic that is a true follower of Christ? I am hesitant to give an answer, but I will try.

Maybe this is an individual who stays in the Catholic Church for family reasons and yet personally understands and believes the true, unadjusted gospel.

Maybe this is an individual who is illiterate and therefore, cannot read the scriptures for himself /herself. But again, this individual must have heard the gospel and responded by faith to the person and work of Jesus Christ and Him alone to be reconciled to God.

To be honest, I cannot understand how any Roman Catholic who has a bible (and consistently reads it) stays in the Roman Catholic Church.

So was John Wycliffe, the Roman Catholic priest, a Christian?

Well, I obviously don't know the heart of Wycliffe, but I sure hope so. He appropriately challenged many aspects of Roman Catholicism. For example, he challenged the elevation of tradition, the doctrine of the church, the divine intention of "the Church and the State" and the authority of the Pope. Yet it is puzzling that Wycliffe never seemed to challenge the issues relates to Rome's view of salvation, specifically, the doctrine of justification.

The fate of Wycliffe has been sealed for centuries, but modern-day Catholics still have an opportunity.

Therefore, I want to encourage any Roman Catholic to ask this question of themselves.

"If you died today and God were to ask you, 'Why should I let you into My Heaven?', what would your answer be"?

If your answer mentions your good works, your church attendance, your tithing, your charitable giving....even your baptism rather than your personal trust in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ and His righteousness ALONE, then you should be very concerned about your standing with God.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Who is John Wycliffe?

The life of John Wycliffe (1324-1384)



WYCLIFFE’S TIMES

In Wycliffe’s day Rome ruled England and Europe with an iron fist.

 One hundred years earlier, Pope Innocent III had humbled King John of England. The king had done things that displeased the pope, so the pope excommunicated him and issued a decree declaring that he was no longer the king and releasing the people of England from obeying him. The pope further ordered King Philip of France to organize an army and navy to overthrow John, which Philip began to do with great zeal, eager to conquer England for himself.

The pope also called for a general crusade against John, promising the participants remission of sins and a share of the spoils of war.

The Scriptures was forbidden in the common languages of the people in Wycliffe’s day. One of Wycliffe’s enemies, Knyghton, a canon of Leicester, complained that by translating the Scriptures into English and thus laying it “open to the laity and to women who could read”. This was the attitude that was typical of Roman Catholic leaders in that day.

WYCLIFFE’S DOCTRINE

Wycliffe was a Catholic priest but began to preach against Rome’s errors in his mid-30s. He did not reject Rome all at once but gradually grew in his understanding. There is a lot we do not know about his doctrine, as many of his writings have perished, but we do know that Wycliffe exposed many of Rome’s errors:

He rejected the doctrine that tradition is equal in authority with the Scriptures. He rejected transubstantiation and indulgences. He taught that the apostolic churches have only elders and deacons “and declared his conviction that all orders above these had been introduced by Caesarean pride” (Shelton, II, p. 415).

Wycliffe believed the Bible to be the Word of God without error from beginning to end. He testified, “It is impossible for any part of the Holy Scriptures to be wrong. In Holy Scripture is all the truth; one part of Scripture explains another” (Fountain, John Wycliffe, p. 48).

Wycliffe’s foundational doctrine was that the Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice and that men had the right to interpret Scripture for themselves before the Lord. He said, “Believers should ascertain for themselves what are the true matters of their faith, by having the Scriptures in a language which all may understand.”

WYCLIFFE’S MISSIONARY ENDEAVORS

Wycliffe not only translated the Bible but he carried out missionary endeavors.

Wycliffe had a powerful influence through his extensive writings, which were widely distributed in England and even in Europe and created a dissident revival movement.

Wycliffe had a missionary heart and he trained and sent out preachers to proclaim the Gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. These were called “Bible men” and eventually were also called Lollards, and they were hounded and bitterly persecuted by the Catholic authorities. (The term “Lollard” predated Wycliffe. It might have been derived from a Waldensian preacher named Walter Lollardus, an Englishman who was burnt for heresy in Cologne. See William Canton, The Bible and the Anglo-Saxon People, 1914, p. 42; and Joseph Ivimey, The History of the English Baptists, 1811, I, p. 64.)

Wycliffe also had copies of the hand-written Scriptures produced and distributed not only in England but also abroad in Europe. That these multiplied widely is evident from the record that still exists of the many copies that were confiscated by the authorities: “By reference to the Bishop’s Registers it will appear that these little books were numerous, as they are often specified as being found upon the persons of those accused. Sometimes the Gospels are spoken of either separately, or together; or it is the book of Acts, or the Epistle of James, or the Apocalypse that is specified. It appears also from these Registers, that many of those who possessed these little volumes were either servants or tradesmen” (Condit, History of the English Bible, p. 75).

THE END OF WYCLIFFE’S LIFE

In 1381, just three years before his death, Wycliffe boldly proclaimed that the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation was false. He taught that the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper do not change substance and are merely symbolic of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wycliffe’s protector, John Gaunt, refused to accept Wycliffe’s denial of Rome’s foundational doctrine. He warned Wycliffe to be silent about this, but Wycliffe refused, though he knew by his stand he would probably lose his protection from an earthly perspective. Gaunt did withdraw his guardianship, but Wycliffe put his trust in Someone who is larger than 6 foot 9 inches!

Wycliffe was expelled from his teaching position at Oxford at that time and was forced to withdraw to his parish of Lutterworth where he lived until his death.

In May 1382, Wycliffe was called before yet another synod of ecclesiastical authorities. This is called the Blackfriars’ Synod, because it was held in the monastery of Blackfriars in London (so named because of the black robes worn by the Dominican monks).

When the 47 bishops and monks and religious doctors took their seats, a powerful earthquake shook the city. Huge stones fell out of castle walls and pinnacles toppled. “Wycliffe called it a judgment of God and afterwards described the gathering as the ‘Earthquake Council’” (Fountain, John Wycliffe, p. 39).

The synod condemned Wycliffe, charging him specifically with 10 heresies and 16 errors. His writings were forbidden and the king gave authority to imprison all of those who believed the condemned doctrines.

Wycliffe died on December 31, 1384.

THE WYCLIFFE BIBLE

Wycliffe’s greatest influence was through the Bible that he translated. The New Testament was completed in 1380 and the Old Testament in 1382, just two years before he died.

It was revised by JOHN PURVEY, one of Wycliffe’s disciples. The Wycliffe Bible commonly distributed was the Purvey edition.

Purvey knew that the fear of God and great care were necessary for an accurate translation. The following is from the introduction he wrote to his revision:

“A translator hath great need to study well the sense both before and after, and then also he hath need to live a clean life and be full devout in prayers, and have not his wit occupied about worldly things, that the Holy Spirit, Author of all wisdom and cunning and truth, dress him for his work and suffer him not to err. God grant to us all grace to know well and to keep well Holy Writ, and to suffer joyfully some pain for it at the last.”

In 1421, Purvey was arrested a second time for his persistence in preaching against Rome’s errors and for the distribution of Scriptures. It is said that during his first arrest in 1400, he recanted, but if that is true, he repented of it and ultimately died for his faith.

It is probable that Purvey died in prison in miserable straits for his faith in the Word of God sometime during or after 1427. We are told he “endured great suffering in Saltwood Castle” (Eadie, History of the English Bible, I, p. 65).

***This biographical sketch was copied and adapted from http://www.wayoflife.org .

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

John Calvin—A man who was both a Pastor and a Scholar

To begin, I want to be clear on one thing:

Though in this post I encourage all pastors to be “scholars”, I am not referring to men with multiple degrees or the priority of doing your graduate work overseas. Rather, a scholar is simply “a learner person” or “a specialist in a given branch of knowledge”. All pastors can and should pursue a reasonable and self-defining level of biblical scholarship.

It is without debate that John Calvin is the standard par excellence for the Pastor-Scholar.

One author wrote,
“As far as John Calvin was concerned, almost nothing was more urgent for the church than the reformation of pastoral ministry. For centuries, most ministers had been shockingly ignorant of the Scriptures and thus ill-equipped to preach the gospel. As Calvin said in one debate with a Catholic cardinal (pretending to defend the Protestant cause before God): “Those who were regarded as the leaders of faith neither understood Thy Word, nor greatly cared for it. They drove unhappy people to and fro with strange doctrines, and deluded them with I know not what follies.”
This author continues,
“In order for his ministry to have this effect, the minister had to be faithful in interpreting and applying the Scriptures. This, in turn, required careful study. Although his preaching was not for a scholarly audience, Calvin took a scholarly approach to his preparation. Typically, he preached through whole books of the New Testament (or the Psalms) on Sundays and from the Old Testament the rest of the week. In both cases he preached directly from the Bible in its original languages.”
Convicted, yet? I am.

Here are 4 reasons pastors need to be scholars:

Reason #1—The spiritual condition of men deserves it.

It is good to remember that a medical doctor spent years of his/her life training to be able to save a life or at least to improve a life. Every patient wants to know their doctor is not just competent, but eminently skilled in his/her trade. Yet this training is focused on this present world and it offers no relief for the spiritual or the eternal.

Does this mean the spiritual is more important than the physical? In one sense…..yes, in other sense…..no. God created and designed humanity to be eternal beings, composed of both body and soul. Yet the reality is that the physical, though important, is temporal and the spiritual is eternal.

Here are a couple verses that elevates the eternal over the temporal:
1 Timothy 4:8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.
Therefore, does it seem right that most medical doctors are more skilled and knowledgeable of their trade than most pastors are regarding their own trade?

Reason #2—The ability to counsel others requires it.

Why does a Pastor have to be a scholar to counsel others? Doesn’t scripture instruct Christians to counsel Christians (Col. 1:28)? Yes, it does. But the reality is that Pastors should be skilled to handle the most difficult problems of the sheep, since this is his Spirit-endowed gift to the local church (Eph. 4:11). How it must grieve God when His undershepherds “farm out” hurting and lost individuals to Christian pop psychologists who have a painfully low view of the sufficiency of scripture!

Is biblical counseling hard, humbling and time-consuming? Absolutely. Yet I have found that nothing keeps the pastor from becoming an ivory-tower theologian than looking across the table at broken and hopeless people. Through the pain of their decisions, they are looking for a spiritual doctor, a Pastor-scholar or maybe more specifically a “spiritual Pastor/Scholar/Doctor” who will not only assess their problem, but help them towards the goal of progressive sanctification.

One last thing: I am saying the Pastor has to deal with every counseling situation? No, of course not! But a good under-shepherd who truly cares for his flock will be faithful to train others to be the “counseling extension” of the leadership of the local church (2 Tim. 2:2).

Reason #3—The proper interpretation of scripture requires it.

If scripture is authoritative (which it is), then it is sufficient for every aspect of the Christian’s life. Yet this sufficiency is only enjoyed if it is applied by the Christian to his/her life.

So….you are saying….just apply God’s word to my life….that sounds easy enough.

But remember this: Correct application is only possible when you have arrived at the correct interpretation.

You might ask, “Is finding the proper interpretation hard to do?” Well, the degree of difficulty depends on a number of factors: 1) the prerequisite of conversion; 2) spiritual maturity and 3) the illumination of the Holy Spirit. But here is the universal truth: Correct interpretation takes hard work. It is hard work examining the context, both broad and narrow. It is hard work understanding the grammar and syntax of the original languages. It is hard work mining down to the goal of authorial intent.

Oh….and we can’t forget the priority of prayer to remind and forge within the Christian a humble, teachable heart.

Reason #4—Ignorance breeds lack of trust and respect.

The sad reality is that Pastors are not respected today. I am sure there are many reasons, but I would guess this reason is “near the top”. MANY PASTORS DON’T HAVE ANSWERS. Again, I am not asserting that the occasional, “I am not sure” or “I don’t know” is inappropriate. I am sure at times honesty demands it. But if this is the common answer to any question of difficulty or if this is the consistent answer to anything off the script of Sunday’s sermon….then you are a disgrace to the gospel ministry and the reason many people claim that Christians are ignorant, crazy fundamentalists, who are “out of touch” with the culture and worldviews of the 21st century.

Please, Pastors and Christians…..know your Bible and know your God.

If people don’t like your assessment of their situation because it is according to the word of God or because they are nauseous from the offensive smell of the gospel, you can be confident the Self-existence One is clapping in the Heavenly places. But if you return a blank stare or an embarrassed mumble, shame on you.

You have proved yourself to not only be an ignorant follower of Christ but also passively suggested that Jesus Christ is not really worth following at all.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

John Calvin—A man who didn’t invent the acronym TULIP (but he was convinced of the “P”)



Perseverance of the Saints

Definition: The Perseverance of the Saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God's power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.
Did John Calvin teach this doctrine? Absolutely.

Calvin’s Commentary on I John 3:9

1 John 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.

And he cannot keep on sinning
Here the Apostle ascends higher, for he plainly declares that the hearts of the godly are so effectually governed by the Spirit of God, that through an inflexible disposition they follow his guidance.”
Later on:
“John speaks here far otherwise; for he not only shews that we cannot sin, but also that the power of the Spirit is so effectual, that it necessarily retains us in continual obedience to righteousness. Nor is this the only passage of Scripture which teaches us that the will is so formed that it cannot be otherwise than right. For God testifies that he gives a new heart to his children, and promises to do this, that they may walk in his commandments. Besides, John not only shews how efficaciously God works once in man, but plainly declares that the Spirit continues his grace in us to the last, so that inflexible perseverance is added to newness of life.
And finally:
But here a question arises, Whether the fear and love of God can be extinguished in any one who has been regenerated by the Spirit of God? for that. this cannot be, seems to be the import of the Apostle's words. They who think otherwise refer to the example of David, who for a time labored under such a beastly stupor, that not a spark of grace appeared in him. Moreover, in the fifty-first Psalm, he prays for the restoration of the Spirit. It hence follows that he was deprived of him. I, however, doubt not but that the seed, communicated when God regenerates his elect, as it is incorruptible, retains its virtue perpetually. I, indeed, grant that it may sometimes be stifled, as in the case of David; but still, when all religion seemed to be extinct in him, a live coal was hid under the ashes. Satan, indeed, labors to root out whatever is from God in the elect; but when the utmost is permitted to him, there ever remains a hidden root, which afterwards springs up. But John does not speak of one act, as they say, but of the continued course of life.
This is my favorite statement from Calvin:
I, indeed, grant that it may sometimes be stifled, as in the case of David; but still, when all religion seemed to be extinct in him, a live coal was hid under the ashes.
A live coal was hid under the ashes? That is a great statement. How often I feel far from God, lost in the wilderness, searching for reminders of my salvation.

Not that I have lost my salvation, but the ash of my remaining sin seems at times….unbearably deep. Yet, by His persevering grace, I hear the Spirit speak. Sometimes it is through the rebuke of a friend. Sometimes it is through His Word. Sometimes it is through divine discipline that reminds me of my adoption (Heb. 12:7).

Thank you God for constantly reminding and assuring me of my living hope, who is the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

I guess the old maxim is still okay with me: “Once saved, always saved”. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

John Calvin—A man who didn’t invent the acronym TULIP (but he did teach about the “I”)



Irresistible Grace

Definition: “It is the work of the Holy Spirit by which He inwardly calls the elect of God and enables them to respond in faith to the gospel of Christ. This special work of the Spirit cannot be resisted and thus cannot fail. It so changes the heart of the sinner that he comes freely and willingly to Christ for salvation.” 

Did John Calvin teach this doctrine?

Yes, he did.

Calvin’s Commentary on John 6:41-45

Unless the Father draw him
To come to Christ being here used metaphorically for believing, the Evangelist, in order to carry out the metaphor in the apposite clause, says that those persons are drawn whose understandings God enlightens, and whose hearts he bends and forms to the obedience of Christ. The statement amounts to this, that we ought not to wonder if many refuse to embrace the Gospel; because no man will ever of himself be able to come to Christ, but God must first approach him by his Spirit; and hence it follows that all are not drawn, but that God bestows this grace on those whom he has elected. True, indeed, as to the kind of drawing, it is not violent, so as to compel men by external force; but still it is a powerful impulse of the Holy Spirit, which makes men willing who formerly were unwilling and reluctant. It is a false and profane assertion, therefore, that none are drawn but those who are willing to be drawn, as if man made himself obedient to God by his own efforts; for the willingness with which men follow God is what they already have from himself, who has formed their hearts to obey him.
There you go. Another petal of TULIP held and taught by the great Genevan reformer.

_________________________________________________________________

Do I affirm the “I”? Yes, I do. 

By the way, my answer may give off the stench of theological determinism; nevertheless, I will say it: You must embrace the “I”, if you hold to the “T” and the “U”.

If a man is totally depraved (i.e. the “T”) and therefore unable to come to God, then he needs a miraculous work of the Spirit to “open his eyes” and “breathe life into his dead heart” (John 3:5).

Furthermore, only the depraved ones that God has chosen “before the foundations of the earth” will be the benefactors of this special grace. Oh…and another thing: God’s election of individuals is not just unconditional, but irresistible.

But I know.....it is this word irresistible that bugs people.

Why?

Main reason: Because the word irresistible assumes to controvert our “free will”. In other words, someone will say, “I don’t have a choice to resist God.”

As with most theological or philosophical discussions, you must define your terms.

I believe there are two types of free will.

Libertarian free will and biblical free will

Libertarian free will is when a human choice has liberty (i.e. totally free from any influence). The problem with this is that no human has this type of liberty. Every human is born with a sin nature and therefore acts according to his / her nature (i.e. they are influenced by their sin nature). 
Ephesians 2:3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Biblical free will is simply this: Every human acts according to his / her own desires. In other words, I chose to write this blog post, therefore I have biblical free will.

But doesn’t the bible also teach that God has determined everything? Yes.

So doesn’t this mean our decisions are not really free? Well…again….it depends on how you define “free will”.

But remember this: If you are a big fan of the sovereignty of God, you can’t have “your cake and eat it too”. In other words, the Christian can’t truly trust in the God of the Universe and His promises (Rom. 8:28), if He is not in control of ALL things.

Maybe this is a better way to put it: You can’t believe in the sovereignty of God and libertarian free will. But you can believe in the sovereignty of God and biblical free will.

Now you may say, “Fine….but the word irresistible is still annoying to me.”

Hey, I admit maybe the word irresistible isn’t perfect, but it is a helpful word and either way, the concept is clearly taught in scripture.
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him (i.e. irresistible grace). And I will raise him up on the last day.
Acts 16:14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
Regarding these verses, someone might say that Acts 16:14 does not teach irresistible grace, but if you view this verse alongside John 6:44, then Lydia is an example of an individual who received irresistible grace.

A few concluding thoughts:

First, the bible teaches it.

Not the specific words, but the concept. Therefore, the Christian should not only believe it, but also respond with gratitude and humility.

Second, every individual is dead in their sins (Eph. 2:1-3) and unable to respond to God and the gospel.

I sometimes wonder why people fight so hard for libertarian free will, since this “will” will get you nothing but an eternity in Hell.
Romans 1:20-21 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

This is what your “liberty” will bring every time, a willful rejection of God and His gospel.

Third, the attribute of immutability requires it.

God ordained it. He cannot change. It must happen.

Also, God is good. We can trust Him.

Finally, if it is me, I am simply praying for this irresistible grace, since it is the only hope that our evangelistic endeavors will be successful.