or Observations of Fallen Man's Obsession With an Incorrect View of Free Will Fashioned from the Fallacy That Our Choices are Not Affected by the Fall.
Sorry, feeling a bit like a Puritan writer with the title.
Having a Lutheran upbringing with a little Presbyterian thrown in, there are some times when even though my upbringing was not strong in the faith, I find myself in a bit of "culture shock" at the little Baptist church that God has called us to (especially since I find myself agreeing with around 99% of the "reformed" views).
This is a "basic" Baptist congregation, ie.: Not Southern Baptist nor Reformed Baptist. That being the case, there are quite a few people in the church who have a much different view on "free will" and salvation.
With the studying I have been doing, I have to agree wholly with the reformers that we are chosen by God, for His own reasons. The "elect" have no consultation, no choice in conversion. It is all God, changing our stone hearts into hearts of flesh. Being dead in sin before this regeneration, our "free will" knew and wanted nothing of God (for those who have issues with this summary, please study the book of Romans before writing any screeds in the comments).
Now many at our church believe that the "elect" are given a choice, that they have a say-so in their conversion. Where the "culture shock" comes in is the fact that in one breath they say they have a choice in their conversion, and in the next breath, they firmly declare that no one has the power to convert others through teaching or preaching the Word of God, only God can convert someone.
The first time I encountered this, it took every ounce of willpower God would give me to keep my jaw from hitting the floor. Giving God full credit for someone else's conversion but holding onto some amount of control over their own conversion just makes my head hurt.
I take great comfort in God's promises and in the example of Bethlehem Baptist Church (pastored by John Piper) that after ten years of steady work by God, doctrine that was even more jacked up than what is found in our church was corrected.
The Truth cannot be completely snuffed out, for there is no stopping God's plans. We just need to learn to trust, and wait on God.