Friday, June 29, 2007

The Free Will Song

There has been much talk and guffaws among my monergist brothers and sisters (mostly brothers) about the Free Will Song, as performed by the Pensacola Christian College singers. Many with sophisticated musical tastes will bash its pathetic chord structures and melody line and sickly sweet lyrics. Perhaps I don't have sophisticated musical tastes (although I have made a fair study of Beethoven/Bach/Mozart, along with musical theory and composition, etc.) but I rather like it as a song. I think it's pretty, if a bit saccharine. So kick me out of the music academy.

But though I am a musician, that's not what I want to talk about. I am more concerned with the words and ideas behind it. First, as a monergist, I obviously reject the free willism that forms the basis for the song. This is the main basis, I hope, upon which most monergists have rejected the song, and rightly so. God doesn't, counter to what the lyrics say, let you "use your own will." For that, I am eternally grateful (literally!) If God let me use my own will, I'd still be what I was for 35 years of my life: not the most evil person imaginable, but with no interest in following God's ways or seeking after God, dead in my sins and trespasses, and being quite satisfied with it. I couldn't find God, as the saying goes, for the same reason a thief couldn't find a policeman.

However, I cannot bring myself to mock either the song nor the young people performing it, as I have heard many do. The young people singing it clearly have a devotion and a zeal for God that I wish many of us monergists had. (Don't think I am saying "Calvinists don't evangelize." Down, boy.) Also, although I strongly disagree with the philosophical presupposition behind the song ("[God] will let you use your own will"), I cannot help but be struck by the beauty of the idea. As I have listened to this song multiple times, I get a clear picture of God as a gentleman (in either the medieval or modern sense), his every action governed by Chivalry. God wouldn't "force Himself" on anybody, I can hear them thinking. In a certain light, this is a beautiful idea.

Of course, it is vitally important to remember that Satan would appear as an angel of light, which means nothing if it doesn't mean his appearance would be attractive, would strike us as beautiful. On the other hand, Christ had no beauty that we should desire Him. The idea that the beautiful=the good is, I believe, a pagan Greek idea that has no place in Christianity. So, just because the idea is beautiful is no reason to accept it as truth.

In fact, Chivalry does not apply in the relations between God and man at all. Chivalry between two humans, where they both are equal in essence (in that they are both made in God's image, and they are both sinful according to the flesh), is an excellent idea, and one that we should all strive to follow. But there is nothing analogous in God. God does not have a sin nature, His every thought is not directed towards evil, His feet are not swift to shed blood as ours are.

So, the idea of God being chivalrous to us is an attractive one to me, no less than to the precious young men and women singing that song. However, it's one that the Bible forces me to reject.

1 comment:

kdsheahan said...

I don't think the Bible would ever say that we don't have free will (at least in the sense many people use it), but that we have a fallen will, and are unable to come to Christ until He enables us by granted us repentence, faith, and a new heart.

FWIW, though, I thought the music was pretty atrocious. :)