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  #1  
Old 22nd December 2010, 12:05 PM
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total depravity

I got to thinking this morning about PaulFan bringing up total depravity, and I attempted to try to explain what it is. Here's my two cents:
Total depravity means man is inclined to evil and is not capable of doing more good. I believe, however, If we define evil as the physical act against somebody, then man is not totally depraved.I stated that if that were the case, then we would have lots of hacked off Buddhist monks converting everybody by the sword! If that is the definition of evil, then the Eastern Orthodox Christians got it right by saying that our nature is not warped.

HOWEVER - if you define ANY sin as evil (which I think it is - things are either good or bad, not in between), then that would include one's thoughts. Jesus made it clear about thoughts - the best example being thateven THINKING about lust is to commit adultury. Now I ask you, what man on here has never had a lude thought about other women? Unfortunately, I have. Many, many times. Ladies, you're not in the clear, either. What woman has never been overly jealous about something?
We all have our demons. We tend to think it's okay as long as we don't act on our thoughts. I have learned that is not the case. Therefore, I accept our belief on total depravity, that the only way to cleanse our thoughts is frequent prayer.

What's everybody's take on this?
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Old 23rd December 2010, 08:43 AM
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I generally go by the stance that Total Depravity = Original Sin, that Man is incapable of choosing God because he is dead in his sinful nature. It's for this reason that God grants prevenient grace to all, which enables us to seek after Him (even though it doesn't guarantee we'll find Him). But when it comes to the question of 'is Man inherently evil?' I stop short. We are inclined to be tempted and sin, but generally speaking we still have a conscience. Whether that conscience is granted via prevenient grace is something I don't know nor can definitively say I believe. Too much 'what if'fing on that.

The one thing I can say about the nature of Man, rather than good or evil, is that we're inherently opportunistic. If we know we can get away with something, there's a good chance we'll try it. There's societal and religious pressure against things like murder and rape and theft, of course (these things make social living difficult and are thus extremely discouraged on a practical and spiritual basis), but there are also a lot of lesser possible offenses of questionable ethicality or morality that you may or may not have any qualms about going through with.
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Old 27th December 2010, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Qyt27 View Post
I generally go by the stance that Total Depravity = Original Sin, that Man is incapable of choosing God because he is dead in his sinful nature.
Exactly, this is the concept that resulted when Augustine brought his boat load of personal issues into his fight against Pelagianism and managed in the process to find a way to blame his own nature on Adams fall.

Originally Posted by Qyt27 View Post
It's for this reason that God grants prevenient grace to all, which enables us to seek after Him (even though it doesn't guarantee we'll find Him). But when it comes to the question of 'is Man inherently evil?' I stop short. We are inclined to be tempted and sin, but generally speaking we still have a conscience. Whether that conscience is granted via prevenient grace is something I don't know nor can definitively say I believe. Too much 'what if'fing on that.
Greek speaking churches never agreed with Augustine and the Eastern churches still do not recognize original sin, they see mans behavior as the results of his own free will. He chooses to sin, sin is not thrust upon him.
I would say that Prevenient grace is most definitely the force that makes us stop and question our motives and actions.



Originally Posted by Qyt27 View Post
The one thing I can say about the nature of Man, rather than good or evil, is that we're inherently opportunistic. If we know we can get away with something, there's a good chance we'll try it. There's societal and religious pressure against things like murder and rape and theft, of course (these things make social living difficult and are thus extremely discouraged on a practical and spiritual basis), but there are also a lot of lesser possible offenses of questionable ethicality or morality that you may or may not have any qualms about going through with.
And ultimately our sins are our own choice.
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Old 31st December 2010, 06:38 AM
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"In his lapsed and sinful state, man is not capable, of and by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good; but it is necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections, or will, and in all his powers by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to understand, esteem, conceive, will, and perform whatever is truly good."

~Jacobus Arminius


"His spiritual senses are not awake; they discern neither spiritual good nor evil. The eyes of his understanding are closed....Hence, having no inlets for the knowledge of spiritual things, all the avenues of his soul being shut up, he is in gross, stupid, ignorance or whatever he is most concerned to know."

~John Wesley

I agree with your conclusion in part. After prevenient grace, conviction/fear, repentance, faith, regeneration.... then frequent prayer, fellowship and bible study are certainly the best way to maintain a relationship with the God. Although none of this would ever occur without the divine intervention of His grace.

Mankind is not inherently evil to extreme measure because of "common grace". Most Calvinists agree on this doctrine as well as total depravity.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by utmtsumethodist View Post
I got to thinking this morning about PaulFan bringing up total depravity, and I attempted to try to explain what it is.
Let me submit that "total depravity" is the inability to always restrain from doing the selfish thing at the expense of others or of what God wants us to do. Notice that "always". Yes, we can sometimes be somewhat altruistic, but never all the time and completely altruistic.

"In his lapsed and sinful state, man is not capable, of and by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good; but it is necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections, or will, and in all his powers by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to understand, esteem, conceive, will, and perform whatever is truly good."

~Jacobus Arminius


Notice Arminius when he says "really good" and "truly good". I submit that this is pure altruism. By putting the qualifiers in, Arminius is implicitly saying that humans are capable of somegood.

[quote = Hotpepper] then frequent prayer, fellowship and bible study are certainly the best way to maintain a relationship with the God. [/quote]

Once you have a relationship with God, the best way to maintain such a relationship is simply talk with God. The Bible is there to help us find God. It can also serve as a reference to check some of our ideas about God. The Bible arose from previous relationships of God with the authors of the various books. If you have a relationship with God, the Bible becomes pretty much superfulous.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by lucaspa View Post
If you have a relationship with God, the Bible becomes pretty much superfulous.
With this, I respectfully disagree. -- Howbeit I do agree with your other statements about Arminius. John Wesley also shared the same thought in his sermon "The Almost Christian" concerning "heathen honesty".

1. Now, in the being almost a Christian is implied, First, heathen honesty. No one, I suppose, will make any question of this; especially, since by heathen honesty here, I mean, not that which is recommended in the writings of their philosophers only, but such as the common heathens expected one of another, and many of them actually practised. By the rules of this they were taught that they ought not to be unjust; not to take away their neighbour's goods, either by robbery or theft; not to oppress the poor, neither to use extortion toward any; not to cheat or overreach either the poor or rich, in whatsoever commerce they had with them; to defraud no man of his right; and, if it were possible, to owe no man anything.

2. Again: the common heathens allowed, that some regard was to be paid to truth, as well as to justice. And, accordingly, they not only held him in abomination who was forsworn, who called God to witness to a lie; but him also who was known to be a slanderer of his neighbour, who falsely accused any man. And indeed, little better did they esteem wilful liars of any sort, accounting them the disgrace of human kind, and the pests of society.

3. Yet again: there was a sort of love and assistance which they expected one from another. They expected whatever assistance any one could give another, without prejudice to himself. And this they extended not only to those little offices of humanity which are performed without any expense or labour, but likewise to the feeding the hungry, if they had food to spare; the clothing the naked with their own superfluous raiment; and, in general. the giving, to any that needed, such things as they needed not themselves. Thus far, in the lowest account of it, heathen honesty went; the first thing implied in the being almost a Christian.
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Old 24th January 2011, 05:08 PM
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Honest question here about Prevenient Grace.

If we are totally depraved and God grants all prevenient grace so that we are able to turn to him, then surely there was no time when anyone was totally depraved in the first place, making the whole concept redundant.

It seems to me that it is like saying, all mankind will eat 'MADEUP' fruit but God makes sure that no 'MADEUP' fruit exists, so therefore mankind will never eat the fruit in the first place. It seems like a redundant theory because it is impossible.

Honestly confused at the need for Total Depravity and then the need for prevenient grace when you could just say that we are somewhat depraved and inclined to sin but have the ability to turn to Christ. Could someone explain for me? BTW, I hope you don't mind me butting in, I am trying to understand. (Also, apologies for the shockingly poor analogy ).
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Old 24th January 2011, 09:02 PM
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Prevenient grace is one of the most interesting things I've learned about from reading John Wesley and Thomas Oden. It makes so much Scriptural sense but until I started reading those two I never saw it laid out in a systematic manner like that. I can safely say knowledge of that has added a lot to my understanding of salvation.

As for "total depravity" I'm not sure I've ever seen it defined the same way twice. Everyone seems to mean something slightly differnt when they use it. What would a good working definition of the phrase be?
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Old 25th January 2011, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by seeking_perfection View Post
Honest question here about Prevenient Grace.

If we are totally depraved and God grants all prevenient grace so that we are able to turn to him, then surely there was no time when anyone was totally depraved in the first place, making the whole concept redundant.

It seems to me that it is like saying, all mankind will eat 'MADEUP' fruit but God makes sure that no 'MADEUP' fruit exists, so therefore mankind will never eat the fruit in the first place. It seems like a redundant theory because it is impossible.

Honestly confused at the need for Total Depravity and then the need for prevenient grace when you could just say that we are somewhat depraved and inclined to sin but have the ability to turn to Christ. Could someone explain for me? BTW, I hope you don't mind me butting in, I am trying to understand. (Also, apologies for the shockingly poor analogy ).
If this grace was irresistible I would agree with you but Scripture indicates that God's will for all to repent will not happen. Therefore those who resist will remain depraved. This is not universalism by irresistible prevenient grace.

>> Edit: I think you might be confusing prevenient grace with "common grace". In post #6 the context is common grace as far as "heathen honesty" in concerned. So total depravity is not that man is as inherently evil as he can possibly be, because God gives just enough common grace universally in His providence for mankind. [Refer back to post #4 for total depravity] ~ The context of Arminius when he says "really good" and "truly good" or when Wesley says "spiritually good" is referring to: what is good in the eyes of God. There is also what seems good in the eyes of man, but these are not always in harmony. Man's lack of spiritual discernment (total depravity) keeps him in the state of bondage... until God's calling (prevenient grace) which in His sovereignty, He decreed to give us a choice which gives potential. One can either resist (which would keep him in bondage) or submit with all humbleness and be led by the Spirit of Grace.
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