One of the most controversial arguments I run across comes from a soteriology standpoint is what I call “Decisionism”. The idea that it is all up to mankind whether they would like to be saved or not, and salvation depends on your DECISION, not on Jesus Christ’s. So this might be a rather long post, but I have listed several reasons why I personally do not believe in Decisionism which is a predominant theory among American professing Christians. Some will BITTERLY disagree with me, but so be it. I will be called a “Calvinist” of which I never studied or trusted as an ultimate authority for truth, I will be called all sorts of things, but with God as my witness I write this with Scripture being that ultimate source!
Boasting is Excluded
Those in the decisionism camp might disagree, but if salvation depends on a decision, one can boast in that decision. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 3:27, Romans 4:2, Ephesians 2:8-9 that boasting excluded. The reason being in my view is that if WE add ourselves in the salvation equation, we could boast in the decision we made. Salvation is by grace, not of works. And a work would include anything we bring to the table.
Salvation is by Grace
Those in the decisionism camp might say they agree with this statement, but do they? The idea being they will say their decision was prompted by God’s grace, but if you study this logically, they are nullifying grace by attaching a condition of which is that the grace must be used in order for the grace to work. Which then logically presumes again, grace is dependent on man, not on God, the giver of the grace. Paul teaches in Romans 11:6 that if by grace then salvation is no longer of works. Grace must stand on its own without a condition of a work in order to remain “grace”.
God is Not a Debtor
If salvation depends on our decision, it logically makes God the debtor. By this decision, He owes the one who made the decision, making God the debtor and the sinner the payee. Romans 5:8 teaches us that Jesus did not wait for our decision before He died on the Cross to paid the debt owed.
The Debt was Paid
By Christ’s death on the Cross, the full debt of sin of the sinner Jesus saved was PAID in full! It was paid THEN, not in the present. A sinner saved by Jesus did not get to decide whether He could die for them or not, He didn’t wait on that, by grace He paid the debt. God is not waiting on decisions, because the choice of whom Jesus died for and saved was already made.
Decisionism Makes the Sinner Sovereign
As explained above, if Jesus paid the debt, and God is not a debtor, then decisionism claims salvation depends on the decision of the sinner it makes that sinner sovereign and God the submitter. God then cannot be sovereign over His own salvation, Jesus could not have chosen whom to save, it is all in the sinner’s hands by which God is still waiting on decisions.
Decisionism Voids God’s Omniscience
If salvation depends on a sinner’s decision, it then says God can cannot be all knowing, omniscient. It is saying no matter how much one attempts to twist it, that God at some point LEARNED or gained knowledge on a free will decision. Logically, it would need to say that decision was not part of God’s knowledge before the decision was made. It would also preclude that decision in order to be truly free, would be solely of the sinner’s knowledge.
Decisionism Voids God’s Omnipotence
If decisionism is true, then God’s freedom and choice is voided making His omnipotence void, let me explain why. If it was God’s desire to save a specific sinner for example, Jesus’ choice was to die for this sinner and pay their debt, the sinner could NULLIFY God’s power to save them by a rejection. So for example, the sinner’s will would be then more powerful than God’s will to save them, voiding God’s omnipotence.
Decisionism Voids God’s Purpose and Will
In order for decisionism to be true, then the will of salvation is placed on man, not God. The time of decision would then be solely in the hands of man, the preacher, or whomever. God then accepts the decision at that time, again making Him the debtor or submitter to the decision. He could not have a will for example that a sinner be reborn on a time of His choosing for His purpose, because He would have to wait on that decision.
Decisionism Makes Faith a Work
Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches us salvation is by grace through faith, not of works so that no one can boast. However, logically if decisionism was true, it would be “by faith through grace and of of works”, which makes ZERO sense. Why is it a work at that point? Because the decision turns faith into a precursor work which fuels salvation. Whereas Scripture teaches no one can see the Kingdom BEFORE they are born-again (John 3:3). So faith logically is the result of salvation/new creation, not a work.
Decisionism Voids Depravity
Decisionism voids the biblical truth of man’s fallen nature. It says that man is fully capable to make a decision to be saved, that man is inherently good natured. It ignores the fact that man is by nature a rejector of the Gospel, 1 Cor 2:14, Romans 3:10-19 and that salvation is not by the will of man (John 1:13). Again, by this, it would be a cause for BOASTING because if ALL are capable to make the right “decision” and some don’t, those who made the correct decision have something to boast over those who don’t. “I was just more moral”, “I was less sinful I guess”, “I was more religious”, “I was more intellectual” than those who rejected the Gospel.
Decisionism Makes God Weak and Feckless
It is saying that the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation is dependent on the Gospel sharer, not on the truth. And it then makes God weak because He somehow cannot convince those who just go on all their life rejecting the Gospel. It turns God into a used car salesman, a bad one at that. He anxiously awaits a sinner to sign on the dotted line and is totally subject to whether a preacher shares His Gospel in truth, who thwarts Him more so than not based on His weak kneed submissive state as decisionism places Him in. In decisionism, God is the weak dependent, man is powerful and in control.
Decisionism Plants Tares
The decisionist preacher says “decide to make Jesus your Savior, invite Him in your heart”. And more times than not, they are successful based on emotionalism to convince a sinner that this is a good idea in the moment. That sinner still being dead in their sins, no transformation, no regeneration, then falls away after a short while. Read the Parable of the Sower. And I ask those preachers, are you taking responsibility for the tares you are planting?
Scripture is Clear!
Before the foundation of the world, God made a choice whom He would saved (Eph 1:4). This choice was made by God for His purpose and will alone regardless of the sinner and despite the sinner’s will to reject Him from birth. Who are we to question God in this and Romans 9:19-20 declares. Humanistic fairness doctrines are always a stumbling block to decisionists. God will mercy whom He mercies! He saved just 8 from the Great Flood, just 8! God’s justice is perfect and we are owed only justice, NEVER mercy. If God chose to save just 1 sinner by Christ’s death, who could say that was unfair?
Decisionism is Man Centered
The gospel of decisionism places man at the center of the Gospel, where as the Bible teaches from Genesis to Revelation the Gospel is solely centered around the person and work of Jesus Christ. Each sinner Jesus saved cannot get the glory, Jesus DOES! The glory being God’s exhaustive mercy and grace and love. But decisionism attempts to place man as the apple, the fuel to the glory, and how WRONG that ideology is! The only thing a sinner contributes is the SIN that sent Jesus to the Cross to die a gruesome death in their place. If you don’t believe that, you are following a man centered Gospel, whereby salvation somehow doing God the favor by your decision to accept it.
I know some may reject anecdotal evidence of my personal testimony, but there is also biblical proof. My personal decision was to remain where I was at, a lost Roman Catholic, in my sins and trespasses. By God’s choice alone and His intervention and His decision alone I was saved. Saul (named later Paul) was on his way to Damascus to kill Christians, his decision was to kick against the goads as Jesus said. God intervened and saved Paul. So you see, our actual decision is always to reject God and His promises because we are fallen. If it is God’s will, His decision would be the only one which could save a sinner.
Decisionism Could Void Cross
The decisionists will vehemently argue against this point, but allow me to explain. If you believe it is your decision which saved you, then WHY couldn’t you have decided to remain perfectly sinless and thus void the Cross? It goes back to my point of saying man is not truly fallen in nature since ALL are capable to make the correct decision. So why couldn’t you just decide to be perfectly sinless, and believe it or not, some do think this way by their religion, albeit subjective perfection which is imperfection such as Roman Catholics preach.
Decisionism is Pride Induced
If one is honest, the main reason WHY one would reject the Biblical truth of God being sovereign over salvation, is pride. We naturally would like to take SOME credit for believing, for our salvation, thus “I decided”. I get that, and I too felt that once I was saved, but all it took for me personally was to read the Book of Job to snap me out of that pride. The parts where God hammered Job with “where were you when I created”, and then proceeded to explain who He is and who we are. Our self loathing produces self love, self pride. We want naturally desire something in return if we do something. But the “something” when it comes salvation is NOTHING of which we did, Jesus did it ALL.
Do you think faith produced the Cross, or did the Cross produce faith? If the latter, you are on the right track!
God is Sovereign!
Lastly, if you have just ONE presupposition when reading Scripture, it is that God is sovereign! Any other presupposition such as your humanistic fair doctrines will lead you to either pervert or ignore vast portions of Scripture. God is 100 percent powerful, you are ZERO percent is the idea. His ways are NOT your ways. If you protest His justice, His Holiness, His sovereign choice and will, you are just like every lost sinner doing so and will continue to do so until Judgment Day when all things are laid bare.