Matt Slick vs. Jesse Morrell | Calvinism Debate | Free Will vs Election | CARM vs Open Air Outreach


In this debate I promised everyone a free e-copy of my 690 page book on free will, “The Natural Ability of Man: A Study on Free Will & Human Nature.” If you could like a copy of this book just fill out this quick and easy form and I will then be able to email it to you. Every once and a while we sent out additional articles and materials as well to our list.



I will email you my book short. In the meantime, this was my outline for my 12 minute “Best Scriptural Arguments” for free will. I hope you are blessed by it!




August 20th, 2016 Matt Slick of CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry) and Jesse Morrell of Open Air Outreach debated the topic of “Salvation: Free Will or Election” in Kalispell Montana at the street preacher “SOAPA Conference.”


Jesse Morrell’s “12 Minute Best Scriptural Arguments” 

for Free Will in the debate against Calvinist Matt Slick

 (During the debate I had to rush through some of these points and skip over others because of the time restrains, so I wanted to post all of it here for your consideration)

1. Free Will Defined

Free will is defined as the “power of contrary choice,” meaning that men have a choice between good and evil, obedience and disobedience, serving God and serving the devil.

2. The Traditional Christian Definition

The power of contrary choice is what the Early Church Fathers meant when they employed the expression “free will.”

My view of free will is the “Traditional Christian Definition” in contrast to the Gnostics who taught that sinners had such a corrupt nature that they could choose only evil and could not choose right.

3. Antithesis of Ultimate Presupposition

My ultimate presupposition in this debate is in sharp contrast with Matt Slick, as it is that free will or the power to choose between good and evil has not been lost through Adam’s original sin.

In all of the consequences that God declared in Genesis 3:16-19, the loss of their free will or their ability to do anything good and that of all of their descendants was not mentioned at all. You would think that the greatest and most devastating consequence would have been mentioned here.

Man cannot change his nature by the mere use of his will and Calvinists agree with this when it comes to their view of unregenerate men with a “sinful nature” being “incapable of changing their nature by their will-power,” and yet they believe that somehow Adam changed his nature by the use of his will. This is an inconsistency on the part of the Calvinists.

4. Sin is Not the Punishment of Sin

God did not punish sin with more sin. The idea that God took away Adam’s ability to do anything good as a punishment for his sin makes no sense. God was not so angry with sin that He decided to make sin unavoidable. He was not so angry that Adam didn’t choose obedience that He made obedience impossible. If that were the case, all subsequent sins would be God’s fault.

5. The Bible Teaches Man Still Had A Free Will

After Adam’s Sin

That man’s free will to choose between good and evil, between obedience and disobedience, continued after the fall of Adam and Even can be seen in a plethora of verses.

i.               Genesis 4:6-7: God spoke to Cain immediately after the fall of Adam and Eve as someone who had no reason to be upset because he could simply do well and it would be accepted of him.

ii.              Deut. 11:26-27: God told Israel that He was setting before them blessings or curses, blessings if they obey and curses if they disobey, thus declaring that they had the power of contrary choice between obedience and disobedience.

iii.            Deut. 30:19: God told Israel that He set before them the way of life and the way of death, choose life.

iv.            Deut. 8:2: God tested men to see if they would obey Him or disobey Him. Why would He test them to see which one they would do if their ability to do anything except disobey had been lost?

v.              Joshua 24:25: Joshua told Israel to choose this day whom they would serve, whether they would serve God or other gods. Evidently men have a free will choose whether they will serve God or not.

vi.            Jer. 21:8: God said to Israel that He set before them the way of life or the way of death. God is declaring that He has given them the “power of contrary choice.”

vii.           Jer. 11:7-8: God said that He “earnestly protested” with the fathers of Israel to obey His voice. Why would He “earnestly protest” for them to obey Him if they cannot?

viii.         Jer. 38:20: Jeremiah told the king, “Obey I beseech you the voice of the Lord” as if this was a choice the sinful king could and should make.

ix.            Ps. 53:2: God looked down from heaven to see if there were any that did understand and seek Him and found none. Why would God look down to see if this was happening if He took away any possibility of it when Adam sinned? The fact that God looked down to see presupposes that it was a possibility.

x.              Genesis 6:5-6 & Ezekiel 6:9: God expresses great brokenness of heart over the abundance of man’s sin, as if things could have been differently.

xi.            Jer. 19:532:35: God said when Israel sacrificed their children to false gods that they were doing what He commanded not “neither came it into my mind” He said that they would do such a thing. In other words, God knew that they were capable of doing otherwise and expected them to.

xii.           Isa. 5:4: God said He did all that He could for His vineyard to bring forth grapes but it brought forth wild grapes instead. Evidently Israel had a free choice to bring forth either kind and God did not withhold from them the ability to bring forth that grapes that He wanted.

xiii.         Ps. 81:13 & Isa. 48:18: God bemoans the disobedience of Israel, saying O that they had obeyed my commandments, as if they could have! He is speaking as if the past could have been different than it was.

6. The Government of God is Not Tyranny

 i.   Exodus 5:16: Pharaoh commanded brick but gave no straw and when they were punished for their failure the scripture says the fault was with Pharaoh not the people. The tyranny of Pharaoh was that He commanded the impossible.

ii.   Deut. 30:11 says that God’s moral government is not analogous to the tyrannical government of Pharaoh because what God commands is neither “hide” nor “far off” from the people. In other words, what God commands is not impossible for His subjects to perform.

iii.   Luke 10:27: We are obligated according to the measure and extend of the abilities that we do have, to love God with what we are in possession of and not with what we are not.

7. Sinners are Without Excuse for their Sinning

i.   Romans 1:20: Paul said that sinners are “without excuse” for their sin. And if sinners are “without excuse” then they must be “with ability.” If they were “without ability” then they certainly would be “with excuse.” They would have the greatest excuse there is.

8. The Unregenerate Are Still Capable of Choosing Good

i.     Acts 10:2 – 11:18: Cornelius was a devout man that feared God and prayed always (10:2), whose prayers were heard (10:410:31), who was a “just man” (10:22), worked righteousness (10:35), but didn’t hear about Jesus until Peter came (10:36-37), was preached to believe for the remission of his sins (10:43), was then baptized in the Holy Spirit (10:43), was unsaved until Peter was sent to him (11:14), and was granted repentance unto life (11:18).

In Calvinism, the ability to do anything good has been completely lost and therefore man must be regenerated by irresistible grace in order to believe in God. Faith immediately comes after regeneration. Since Cornelius was unsaved and did not believe in Jesus until Peter came, he was unregenerate. And yet somehow Cornelius was able to fear God, pray always, and be a just man, while yet being unregenerate? How was Cornelius capable of doing these good things if the unregenerate are incapable of choosing God and doing anything good?

9. Salvation is Decisional

i.               Acts 2:40: Peter said “save yourselves.”

ii.              2 Cor. 5:20: Paul said we beg you on behalf of Christ be ye reconciled unto God, showing man’s consent is required for reconciliation.

iii.            Heb. 2:3: Salvation is something we can neglect, making salvation volitional.

iv.            Col. 3:9: Paul said ye have put off the old man.

v.              Matt. 23:37: Jesus said He wanted to gather Jerusalem unto Himself but they would not.

vi.            Acts 26:19: Paul said he was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision, implying that he could have been.

vii.           Luke 14:16-18: The offer of salvation is an invitation that men either receive or reject.

viii.         John 1:12: As many as “receive” or “choose” Him become the sons of God.

ix.            Luke 15:18: the prodigal son was converted back to the father when he said, “I will go,” showing the use of his will and self-determination.

x.              Luke 9:24: Jesus said whosoever “will” save His life will lose it but whosoever “will” lose His life will save it, showing the operation and function of the will in salvation or damnation.

xi.            Luke 9:23: Jesus said if any man “will” come after me, let him take up his cross etc. Again, this shows the role of the human will in following Jesus and how this decision must come prior to being a follower of Christ.

xii.           Luke 19:27: Jesus said bring those enemies of mine that “would not” have me to reign over them, blaming and punishing them for their unwillingness not any inability.

10. Regeneration Is Synergistic, requiring man’s cooperation and consent

i.               Ezek. 24:13: God said to Israel I have purged thee but thou was not purged. Why weren’t they purged when God wanted them to be? Because they lacked cooperation and consent. It was their fault, not God’s.

ii.              Ezek. 18:31: God said make unto yourselves a new heart and a new spirit for why should ye die?

iii.            James 4:8: James said cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double minded. This shows the sinners role and responsibility in changing or regenerating his heart.

11. A Relationship with God Requires

Man’s Choice and Consent

i.               Jer. 9:6: Israel refused to know God when God wanted to know them.

ii.              Hosea 5:15: God wanted to know them but they refused, so He said He will go and return to His own place until they seek Him.

iii.            Jer. 3:6-12: The adultery of Israel against God shows that God granted them the choice to be faithful to Him or not. He does not force anyone to know Him.

iv.            Rev. 19:7: The  bride of Christ has “made herself ready.”

12. Repentance is a Free Will Choice

i.               Jer. 36:3, 36:7: God said that Israel “may” or might repent, implying that it was up to them and that this was a possibility of them.

ii.              Acts 17:30-31: God commands men to repent.

iii.            Jonah 3:10: God repented of destroying Nineveh, thus changing His own plans, when He saw that they repented. Evidently their repentance was their own as it resulted in God changing His mind.

iv.            Mk. 6:12: They went out and preached them men should repent. It is man that must do the repenting.

Calvinists like Paul Washer tells sinners to, “Pray that God gives you repentance.” This only keeps men in impenitence longer, as God is commanding men to immediately repent. You never see the Apostles telling sinners to “pray that God gives you repentance.” Instead, you see them telling men to immediately repent.

v.              Isa. 1:16-18: God told sinners to wash themselves and make themselves clean, to put away evil and learn to do good, and that this would be accomplished by reasoning with Him.

vi.            Rev. 2:21: God gave the adulterous woman space to repent but she repented not. God wanted her repentance and granted her the time to do it but it still didn’t happen because she choose not to.

vii.           Matt. 11:20: Jesus upbraided the sinners for not repenting as if they could have. Jesus did not upbraid God for not granting them repentance.

13. Faith Is A Free Will Choice

i.               Mark 1:15: Jesus commanded sinners to both repent and believe, showing the volitional nature of both.

ii.              Mk. 11:22: Jesus said “have faith in God” in the imperative mood.

iii.            John 10:384:11: Jesus said “believe the works” as if it was up to them.

iv.            John 12:36: Jesus said “believe the light” as if this was a choice they could make.

v.              Acts 16:31: Paul said “believe on the Lord” and this command shows the volitional nature of faith.

Iranaeus said, “All such expressions shew that man is in his own power with respect to faith.”

vi.            Eph. 2:8-9: The gift spoken of here is salvation, not faith. On this point John Calvin agrees with me but John Piper disagrees. That would make me a Calvinist on this issue and Piper not.

vii.           Heb. 3:15: Scripture says today if you hear his voice harden not your heart, showing that you choose the state of your heart towards God and can choose between different responses.

viii.         Matt. 21:42: The stone which the builders “refused” shows the volitional nature of unbelief as well as faith.

ix.            Mk. 16:14: Jesus upbraided sinners for their unbelief and hard heart as if they could have chosen differently, as if they could have chosen to believe.

x.              Luke 24:25: Jesus rebuked them for being slow of heart to believe, as if they could have believed faster!

xi.            Mk. 6:6: Jesus marveled at their unbelief. But if they cannot believe because God hasn’t granted them faith there is nothing to marvel over.

xii.           John 20:27: Jesus commands men to be not faithless but believing.

xiii.         John 3:19: Men choose darkness rather than light, showing they have a choice between the two.

14. Perseverance is a Free Will Choice

The doctrine of conditional security, or that you can fall away and forfeit or lose your salvation, takes for granted a decisional salvation perspective.

i.               John 6:66-67: Many of Jesus’s disciples backslide and Jesus asked the remaining, “will ye also go?” Showing that the will is the factor in persevering or backsliding.

ii.              John 15:6: Jesus said if anyone abides not in him he is cast forth as a branch and burned. If it were a matter of unconditional election and not free will, not abiding in Christ wouldn’t even be an option. Christ is warning them as if this were a possibility.

iii.            Acts 11:23: Paul exhorted them to cleave unto the Lord, as if they could choose to do this or not.

iv.            Acts 13:43: Paul persuaded them to continue in the grace of God, as if they could choose to do this or not.

v.              Acts 14:22: Paul exhorted them to continue in the faith, as if it was their volition that was required to continue and as if they had the option of choosing not to.

All of these examples of “follow-up” take for granted a “decisional salvation.”

15. Rebuke Presupposes Free Will

i.               Exodus 32:19: Moses was angry with sinners for their idolatry of a golden calf, as if they could have chosen to worship and serve God instead.

ii.              Acts 7:51: Stephen rebuked his audience for being stiff-necked and un-circumcised of heart and resisting the Holy Spirit, as if they could have acted and done differently.

As his audience was resisting the Holy Spirit in His attempts to regenerate them, it is evident that God’s grace is regeneration is not irresistible. The grace of God is the most resisting thing in the entire universe.

16. Salvation Requires the Presupposition of Free Will

i.               John 16:8: The Holy Spirit comes to convict the world of their sin. No sinner could ever feel convicted if they believe that they have the excuse of inability for their sins, if they think that their sins were unavoidable and obedience impossible.

Men cannot blame themselves for what they cannot help. No man can regret what they could not have avoided. To teach men that they cannot help but to disobey God is absolutely destructive to the work of evangelism and the salvation of souls which requires the conviction of sin.




In this debate I promised everyone a free e-copy of my 690 page book on free will, “The Natural Ability of Man: A Study on Free Will & Human Nature.” If you could like a copy of this book just fill out this quick and easy form and I will then be able to email it to you. Every once and a while we sent out additional articles and materials as well to our list.



I will email you my book short. In the meantime, this was my outline for my 12 minute “Best Scriptural Arguments” for free will. I hope you are blessed by it!


The Heresy of Matt Slick of CARM by Jesse Morrell | “A person does not need to forsake his sin in order to be saved” Matt Slick

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10 Responses to Matt Slick vs. Jesse Morrell | Calvinism Debate | Free Will vs Election | CARM vs Open Air Outreach

  1. Pingback: Morrell Gives 12 Points on Man’s Free Will | God is Open

  2. Pingback: Debate with Jesse Morell and Matt Slick – winner is Jesse Morell by a mile | Bjorkbloggen

  3. Bruce says:

    IF and I say “IF” calvanism is real and is fact, then I would NEVER had had a chance or I may have had a choice to be saved and IT would have been GOD’s choice. So what kind of GOD/SAVIOR would have died for just a portion of mankind and let the others go to a Lake of Fire, even if they may have wanted to go to heaven! WHY does the Bible say…”ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. and then again why does the bible say “He that hath the Son hath life and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12 KJV Sounds like “FREE WILL” to me! Calvanism is “ANOTHER GOSPEL” Galatians 1:6-7 KJV

  4. nbanuchi says:

    I think Jesse’s objection to the remark that one must sin consistent with their nature was the more convincing when he asked, how did our First Parents sin not having a sinful nature (beginning at mark 1:14ff)?

    Slick (no pun intended), did not really answer specifically to the objection, that is, the specific point that our First Parents did not have a sinful nature. Slicks defense was that they were not perfect, which is suggesting, according to the context of the argument, that Adam and Eve were created sinners!

    Slick was slick to ignore the point of Jesse’s argument. Slick says they were able to sin but has no answer to on what grounds were they able to sin not having a sin nature and thereby performing an act of free will consistent with that nature. Slick just say that were able to sin, as if it was something they were able to do out of thin air with no prior causation.

    It seems that Slick is assuming the Calvinist presupposition, without verbally noting it, regarding determinism, that is, that God decreed our First Parents, without any reference to their nature, to commit sin. Which, if he did bring it up, would multiply his problems regarding what he terms as “sinful free will”; that is that sinners commit sin, *ultimately,* not because of their nature as sinners, but because God decreed al and whatever sins the sinner commits. Therefore, to argue that men act according to their nature is nonsense if all actions are divinely predetermined on the basis of divine decree.

    One more point. Slick’s objection that our First Parents were not God and, therefore (so it seems he implies), were susceptible to committing sin, is irrelevant and only reinforces Jesse’s position. For God acts consistent with his nature and, as such, cannot sin because it is not in his nature to sin; it is what he affirms Adam and Eve have done in their act of sinning against God, that they sinned “consistent with their nature.” And what was their nature? Slick says, they were not perfect. What does he mean by, “not perfect”? Does he mean they were created with this flaw in their nature that made them susceptible to sin? If so, what was that flaw in their nature? Sinfulness? If he denies God created them with a flaw, then what in their nature caused them to sin?

    From my perspective, and respectfully, I must say it seems pretty slick of Matt to leave out any talk of the cause of the First Sin.

  5. matthew2513 says:

    I would like ask you, Jesse, if you believe we remain in the faith (with regard to eternal salvation) by our righteous acts or by our faith alone in Christ and His work of redemption? I’m not sure if you were misrepresented by Matt and did not clear up this issue during the debate, if I missed a clear statement by you in this regard, or if you actually believe Christians are saved by their enduring good works following their initial faith in Christ and His work on the cross.

    I believe that Calvinists think that faith, on mankind’s behalf, is a work. I believe every man has faith in someone, whether they are born again or not, and that faith is NOT a work, but rather a good gift that God gives to EVERY human being, which can be used by man for good or evil according to his own free will. I do not believe faith is a work, but rather, an exercise of the free will.

    I have some confusion as to where you stand on HOW exactly a person can reject salvation after initially having faith in Christ and His work. Is it because they stopped having faith in Christ for their salvation and put their faith in someone/something else, or because they stopped being obedient to Christ in their works (setting aside the idea that our works are a manifestation our faith).

    Do you believe we are ultimately saved by faith alone following salvation, and remain saved by faith alone when we stand before Christ, or that we keep/retain our salvation by doing good works/acts of holiness?

    This also brings up the question, do you believe that man can be saved “so as by fire”, that he can continue to have faith in Christ, but have all of his works destroyed because they were not done to glorify Christ (he was a disobedient Christian or were unworthy of merit)?

    • Hi Matthew,

      I believe that we are justified by a faith that results in good works and a holy life and we remain justified by faith only so long as we have that type of faith. Sin is an act of unbelief and never an act of faith and so a person is never justified by faith while they are sinning. Salvation can be forfeited by sinning because we are only justified by a faith that results in a holy life. Being faithful and being sinful are opposites, so there is no justification in sin.

      • matthew2513 says:

        So children who disobey/sin are then disowned by the Father, and their disobedience means they have thrown out their faith in Christ for all of eternity? Does the sin only have to happen once following belief in order for this to happen, or how many times until they are out? And what if a person dies suddenly without the opportunity to repent of sin (which includes both willful disobedience and the failure to do good when the need presents itself). Do you teach the “sinless perfection” of the believer?

      • thesword7 says:

        Is your position that one can be saved, lost, saved, lost? Or is salvation based on belief in Christ alone and nothing can snatch the believer out of His hands, especially since the believer is sealed to the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption.

      • You can be saved, lost, saved, like the prodigal son was. You are sealed by the Holy Spirit so long as you don’t grieve Him by sinning. Nothing can snatch you out but you are free to leave if you want.

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