This is something I've never done before. The questions here are from the previous post. My response is in blue.
Joe, It will surprise many I'm sure to read this, but I agree with you! Not that it is a surprise that I would agree with you, but that I would believe in a free will and free grace. IF by free will we mean the ability to choose based upon what I want to do, and, IF by free grace we mean that God freely gives us his grace which was not really free but purchased for us by Christ's death which is liberating us from our sins.
I'm sorry to annoy you:-), but as you can tell by my first response to you, it's the truth. I too believe that God is the Author of salvation and not just by making salvation possible, but actually accomplishing salvation for the elect. The elect are irresistibly drawn by the Spirit who regenerates them and gives them the freedom of will to choose Christ, which freedom they were devoid of from the first. Again, by my first response you can see that I do not believe this to be a rhetorical device meant for division, but a truth that should unite us.
Brad, Good point about prevenient grace and Wesley. Wesley, a man that I hope I have some in common with, and yet also some differences, recognized that man's will could not be truly free unless liberated in some way by God's grace. His solution was the wrong one, but shows that he knew the issues better than some today. The big bad "T" in my perspective is that they will breeze through March madness.:-) Ohhh...You meant Total Depravity. In a sense the image of God is not there at all, and in another sense it is.
Boice used an illustration of a young girl who was sent out by her mother with some money and a pitcher to buy some milk. Along the way the girl tripped and fell and the pitcher was broken. A man happened by and saw the young girl sitting and crying. When he asked why she was so sad, she retold the incident and added, "I'm sure to be spanked." So the man willing to help her tried to fit the pieces of the pitcher back together. After several unsuccessful attempts it was found to be impossible. So the man picked the little girl up in his arms, took her to the store, bought a new pitcher and milk, and then carried her home to her mother. The pitcher in the story was made for carrying milk, but the ability of the pitcher to carry milk was impaired when the pitcher was broken. The pitcher was useless as to its original purpose. Boice then remarks that old pieces of pottery are not invaluable, however. Archaeologists can use broken pitchers to date civilizations and many have used broken pottery for ashtrays or artwork. Job used pieces of pottery to scrape his boils. But that pottery is useless as far as its original intent.
So the question then becomes, "What is man's purpose?" To glorify God and enjoy Him forever by exhibiting Godlike character. Man is useless to fulfill this purpose. The great thing about the Gospel is that it restores the ability to fulfill this purpose. Instead of only glorifying God indirectly or passively, it is our passion to glorify Him. Instead of enjoying the good things that we have from God, we can enjoy Him, and instead of doing good because it seems good to us, we do good in order to display God's character here on earth. The image of God in man is the ability to reflect His glory back to Him.