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Discussion in 'Hamartiology' started by Defender of the Faith 777, Mar 17, 2003.

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  1. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
    Please do not debate on this thread.

    This is just something that I wrote on my computer files.  Given the rare circumstance of me having internet access at home, on the same computer as my files I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to post it.

    Enjoy!  Apparently it need editing though... :ugh:
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
    Hamartiology-the doctrines regarding sin

    Hamartiology is typically the one study that most scholars of Reformed doctrine might try to avoid. Studying sin, death, separation from God, and condemnation is not by my measure considered light reading. Actually, you didn’t hear this one from me, but the experts in this area are the somewhat eccentric ones. The professor of hamartiology is the one who dresses in old black clothes, speaks in a strange accent (that he made up), and mutters to himself while he walks out to his car. I’ll admit that at first, I was very apprehensive about studying this.

    What is hamartiology? It is the study of sin. It seems like such a small, petty doctrine; certainly unworthy of being separated into a distinguished study. Yet hamartiology answers the most important questions about sin, man, God, and our relationship. Christianity would cease to exist with this study, and if proper understanding and hermeneutics is not rendered, will become very liberal and unorthodox. In order to grasp salvation itself, we need to understand sin. If the illness is not properly diagnosed, we can be certain that we will not have the solution to the problem examined.

    In Greek, we see the word hamartiva (hamartia) used, which literally means to “miss the mark.” Sin is us falling short of what God Himself is: perfection. Sin is, in a word, imperfection. But while it seems like such a petty issue that certainly doesn’t deserve it’s own study (after all, man majors in not being perfect), sin creates the most serious dilemma. We are stuck in a state of complete, absolute helplessness, and are unable to save ourselves from the inevitable result of our sin: death, and condemnation.
  3. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
    Article I: The Fall of Man

    Each denomination within Christendom has varying opinions about the Fall of Man. Undoubtedly, on one end of the spectrum is Mormonism, which preaches that the Fall was necessary for good, and then later in the Book of Moses Adam praised God for blessing the sin. On the other side, lies the very citadel of Reformed soteriology. While most other denominations may view the Fall as just another ordinary occurrence, much like the Flood or the Passover, Calvinists generally view it as the opposite of Mormons- the most absolutely horrific thing that happened to mankind.

    To start this off, we must understand what an honor it was, that God created us in His image; we are given the ability to think, a spirit, and a body resembling His spirit body. We were and are given dominion over all of creation. We were created to be intellectual being, with emotions and true love, set apart from nature. The blessings that we received by grace from God were immeasurable.

    But curiously enough, we were given something more: free agency. We were given the ability to choose right and wrong. We have a standard of absolute morality, given for us alone. But why were we given this free will? It is most dangerous! This free agency was given to us, with the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil as our temptation, so that we would not be forced to do the right thing. If there is no option to do wrong, if there is no free ability to choose evil, how then can we glorify and love God by choosing good? If we were never given the option of rejecting Christ, how could we continually embrace Him? A relationship would be forced upon us, and it would be superficial and meaningless. As a result, man was given free will so that our love, service, and relationship with Him would be voluntary.

    What we must understand, is that God ordained the Fall to occur. I realize that I’m going to lose brownie points among many fellow Calvinists by saying this, but I do not believe that He did will it to occur in any way manipulating Adam’s choice, but merely allowed it to happen by knowing that eventually, with Satan in the garden, man would fall. Understanding the fall of man is absolutely essential in understanding our salvation. By saying that God did not directly ordain the Fall of Man, I mean to say that He did not in any way manipulate the natural decision of Adam. Had God manipulated the decision, then Adam could not have fallen. Both Calvinist and Arminian alike converge on the Fall of Adam, pertaining to his free agency. It is understood that for Adam to fall, he had to be unhindered from making the decision to rebel as Satan did. If God ordained Adam to eat the fruit, and he ate the fruit, then it wouldn’t be sin. In that circumstance, Adam could not have fallen. The only way he could have sinned then would have been to not eat the fruit. This is what I mean by “God did not ordain the Fall of man.” While He was not yanking on any strings on Adam’s will, He did put Satan in the garden for a reason. He willed (wanted) the Fall of man to occur so that the plan of the salvation of man would imminently follow as a result of the action, though He did not directly manipulate it to occur. But the most important aspect of the Fall was Adam’s ability to choose right and wrong in a morally neutral state. I am an infralapsarian, despite the pattern I’ve noticed among current Calvinistic thought.

    For a while, I imagine things went wonderfully. But, then the unthinkable happened. Man fell. Evil was chosen, paradise lost, the perfect image of glory that once reflected God, became wickedly vile. Through the disobedience of man, our entire nature was plummeted into corruption. From then on, every child born of a parent with this nature, would also be like unto the image of his father, Adam. And thus, a chain reaction started, of man going from glorious and honored in God’s image, to unimaginably evil. Our free will was then taken from us; man became entirely evil. The free will was not taken away by God, but voluntarily thrown away by man due to the fall and inherent wickedness that consumes every person born into the world.

    Let us stop here and stress one important aspect: man cannot be both holy and unholy. If man was once holy, and then fell, we no longer retain that purity that we may have at one point possessed. One of the most fundamental laws is that holiness and corruption cannot co-exist harmoniously. We see that truth exercised in God sentencing people to punishment for their sins, by refusing to let sin into heaven. God doesn’t send people to hell because He enjoys it, but because there’s nothing He can do for them. He cannot let them into heaven, because they are impure and He is pure. If perfection and imperfection mix, the perfect becomes imperfect. This is important also in understanding total depravity. In the beginning of Creation, man was sinless and pure. In fact, Adam literally walked and talked with God. But if he made a single motion towards imperfection, whether a step, a leap, or a bound, then he would no longer be pure, but corrupt. He made that step. In fact, the fall of Adam was worse than that of Eve’s. Eve was deceived, and she ate the fruit trusting Satan’s word over God’s. Adam’s rebellion did not result from deception, but intentional rebellion. And through that sin, we are told innumerously by Calvin that sin “diffused into all parts of the soul.” The rebellion of Adam and Eve resulted in the plummeting of their natures into corruption
  4. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
    Article II: Original Sin

    [/size]The great Reformer John Calvin wrote the best definition that I can find for this doctrine: “Original sin, therefore, seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God’s wrath, then also brings forth those works which Scripture calls ‘works of the flesh.’ [Gal. 5:19]” (Calvin, 251). We discussed how Adam fell earlier in the last article. But there was one inevitable result: “This sin became His nature, and as a result of it being “diffuse[d] into all parts of the soul”, he could not help, but pass this down to the next generation. His very seed was infected with that same nature, that same evil corruption that was his inheritance. “Therefore all of us, who have descended from impure seed, are born infected with the contagion of sin. (Calvin, pg. 248).” We discussed and should understand the Fall of man. But original sin is the understanding of inherited depravity, “For who can bring a clean thing from an unclean thing? There is not one.” (Job 14:4) This very doctrine is what the early church fathers recognized and coined as “original sin.” What this doctrine and invaluable Biblical understanding does, is link us individually to the fall in the garden. It is our ignominious connection to the fall, in that we, all of us, are affected by the sin of Adam. Mankind’s very biological parents were involuntarily infected with a dominantly inherited disorder, so that all children of these parents would be under the exact same effect. Since all men have fallen short, and deserve condemnation under the unwavering justice of God, He alone receives glory for saving those whom He chooses according to the good pleasure of His will. The doctrine of original sin, is foundational in understanding our very own salvation.

    To give an illustration, let us examine the nature and instincts of infants. By nature, children are rebellious and disrespectful. They must be taught otherwise, to obey the law which God Himself has, as the prophets wrote, “written on every man’s heart.” The only thing that makes a child cute is that it’s small. A baby would within the day it was born, strangle his very own mother in response to his hunger if it was physically able. What is the very most destructive thing imaginable? An omnipotent infant. I promise, a baby given the power to do everything it desires without a single thought, would not start the construction of New Jerusalem. If a baby was born 150 feet tall and stuck in Madison Square Gardens, our main fear would not be Godzilla or King Kong. This is due to the inherent corruption that all children are born with. The only thing that makes the baby cute is her size. The fall of man created in a virulent decadence in our nature, that causes us to be born “children of wrath. [Eph. 2:23]” Objection 1: Children are not born with original sin, but rather, it is something that children learn through example. Sin nature is not hereditary by physical means, but propagated by example. Thus sin is not an innate desire, but a lesson learned.

    Objection 2: Also, original sin teaches that all men are rendered condemnation by this one sin of this one man. A problem I see is that the eternal destination of all mankind would be problematic because of one person.


    Response to Objection 1: On the contrary, the Scriptures make it an absolute fact that all are born with a sin nature, and such corruption that they are doomed to die in their very own wickedness. Pelagius, St. Augustine’s “arch-nemesis” if you will, invented the “imitation propagation” theology. He argued that is was passed down by imitation, and not inherited propagation. The objection was easily refuted 1300 years ago; times and techniques haven’t changed much. It has been offered in response long ago when people frequently held to Pelagianism:

    “‘As through one man sin came into the world and through sin death, which spread among all men when all sinned.’ [Rom. 5:12], thus through Christ’s grace righteousness and life are restored to us [Rom. 5:17]. What nonsense will the Pelagians chatter here? That Adam’s sin was propagated by imitation? Then does Christ’s righteousness benefit us only as an example set before us to imitate? Who can bear such sacrilege!” (Calvin, pg. 248)

    Response to Objection 2: It is not the sin of Adam we are judged for; it is our sins resulting from our sin nature. We would be judged for Adam’s sin, if not for one result of Christ’s atonement, which covered the penalty of original sin. Original sin is not an actual sin that was passed down. Hereditary generational curses inherited by the sins of ancestors are pagan beliefs, not Christian. Since we have a sin nature, it must be dealt with. So, we inherit the nature and slavery to corruption, and in carrying out sin, we are justly condemning ourselves. Adam paid for his sins. And we will be rendered for ours. No sin is transferred; the moral corruption and virulent decaying of our nature and depravity of our will was propagated, but not the sin itself. This has to do with the death of Christ. Were it not for the atonement of Christ, then we would be judged for the penalty of Adam’s sin. If the sin <I>was </I>transferred, then we would be required to abandon any form of logical or orthodox infant salvation. Rather, if infants never get the opportunity to voluntarily practice that nature passed down, then the death of Christ covers and pardons the sin of Adam.

    Scriptural Support:[/fontWho can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one!” -Job14:4

    “What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?” -Job15:14

    “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good-Psalm 14:1

    “The wicked are enstranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” -Psalm 58:3

    “So I said, ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people with unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’” -Isaiah 6:5

    “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, no, not one.’” -Romans 3:9-10

    “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all have sinned” -Romans 5:12

    “Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind , and were by nature children of wrath -Ephesians 2:3
  5. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
    Article III: Total Depravity- Slavery of the Will

    One important thing has to be discussed with a requisite understanding of Adam’s and the propagation of original sin: how this nature affects our decisions and free will. We are aware now that since our very soul is completely taken over by sin from head to foot, and that we are totally depraved, we are slaves to sin. Man is “subject to corruption, not of their own will.” [Rom. 8:20, NIV]. Do we even possess free will anymore? Do we have an ability to choose right and wrong independent of God’s influence? Can man choose to do the right thing in the absence of the grace of God? The thrust of total depravity is that man is led away, nay, dragged away by their evil desires and lusts, and has no power of godliness dwelling amongst the collected wickedness of the soul to resist the evil.

    Since we are evil, and there is no good, we can do only evil, and cannot logically choose that good any longer. As Calvin writes: “Man will then be spoken of as having this sort of free decision , not because he has free choice equally of good and evil, but because he acts wickedly by will, not by compulsion... for man not to be forced to serve sin, yet to be such a willing slave....” (Calvin, pg. 264). We are told in the Scripture that a tree will be known by its fruits. Thus, it is only common sense, that as Lorraine Boettner used for as an illustration, a single tree would not bring forth different types of fruit in nature. If man is evil, then man brings forth evil fruit; if good, then it is most natural to produce the fruits of the Spirit. But bearing fruits of both types is both illogical and un-Scriptural. It is understood that a tree will bear either one type of a fruit, or another, but certainly not both would naturally occur.

    Despite man’s natural preference of evil, he is still accountable for his actions. Fallen man’s inability to choose good without God’s influence, does not cancel out their obligation to follow the law. As in the example of newborn children, we see now more than ever, that the soul is so totally controlled by sin, can do nothing but bear the fruits of it. Man has no free will if they’ve been born from corrupted seed; we are then bound in shackles to our own lusts. And the most wicked part is, that even if man did possess the abilities to free ourselves, we wouldn’t want to. As a result of being a slave to sin, and as a result of there being complete darkness and no light, we are unable to in ourselves choose what is right. We are, simply put, carried away by our lusts, and there is no goodness left in us to combat it. It is not that man does not will the evil he does, but left to himself can do nothing but sin, and sins freely. He naturally chooses evil, and “not by compulsion,” but by will always chooses to disobey the law of God through sheer blind rebellion. Man is never forced to sin, but does it unfailingly when left to his own desires, and loves every minute of the error of his ways.

    Now total depravity does not mean that man is 100% evil, every second of every day to the fullest extreme; nor do we mean to say that we in our fallen state do not know what God wants from us (though we will disobey and rebel). Total depravity is not utter depravity. Typically from personal experience, when an Arminian attempts to disprove this point, they show Old Testament verses where God commands the Israelites to make choices. This however doesn’t disprove total depravity at all. Total depravity does not state that man cannot make choices. It states that man’s choices, without the influence of the divine, uniformly are driven by evil ulterior motives. Because God grants the unregenerate common grace to do good, we are not all antichrists and mass murderers. Were it not for God’s constant supply of common grace to all mankind, we would have killed each other and ourselves when we first have the ability to. It is obvious that not everyone is a Stalin, and is everyone not a Ghandi. God gives common grace to different people wherever He wishes according to the good pleasure of His sovereign will; not all receive equal amounts of God’s goodness and blessing. Total depravity is not teaching that men are absolutely wicked in everything they do and good is utterly impossible. It is that good is possible, only when God’s influence is behind it . To illustrate, we often sing a wonderful melody that reminds us that God has “the whole world in His hands.” He is watching over us and protecting us. If God were to suddenly one day take His hands off the earth and back away, leaving us to our own devices and desires, then men will not start erecting churches. Rather, you will see a place with the absence of God. Interestingly enough, this place that lacks the presence of God, is universally known as “hell.” Hell is, quite simply, a place where utter depravity is the governing dynamic. It is where God leaves men in their current state, and they do only evil; a place of justice, without grace. Here on earth, God prevents the full wickedness of man from getting out of control.

    Objection 1: If we have no free will, then how does one account for the sin in the garden? It would be God who caused Adam to sin, and none are held responsible for their own actions!

    Objection 2: There have been great morally consistent atheists or agnostics. They do ‘good things’ all the time. Not everything have done has been evil.

    Objection 3: What about man’s free will then? Doesn’t it make sense that man would have free agency?&nbsp;

    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;

    Response to Objection 1: Man had the ability to choose right and wrong in a morally neutral state, prior to the fall. The reason why we were put in the garden, with the ability to choose right and wrong, was so that our love and relationship with Him would be voluntary. The initial sin, was not the fault of God, but rather a result of the abuse of the free will of man. Before the fall, man’s free will was just that: free. Now that sin has infected the every part of the very citadel of our soul, our free will is no longer existent, and we are slaves to our desires and lusts. No longer can man choose independent of God’s influence, but our natures are self-fulfilling prophecies that are uniformly evil prior to conversion. “Let us accordingly remember to impute our ruin to depravity of nature, in order that we may not accuse God Himself, the Author of nature. True, this deadly wound clings to nature, but it is a very important question whether the wound has been inflicted from the outside or has been present from the beginning.” (Calvin, pg. 254)

    Response to Objection 2: The only person that truly can define what “good” is, is the absolute standard that is unique to God. If something pleases us, but doesn’t please God, it cannot be classified as good. Something good is something that pleases the unchangeable, absolute standard: God. Since all we were, head to toe, is corrupted by evil, nothing, no matter how ‘good’ we think a non-believers work is or how much we as humans appreciate it, remains free of the strain of sin.

    Since man is inherently evil, slave to corrupt desires and our old father the devil, and as a result completely driven by evil, we cannot bring forth fruit of goodness. It is philosophically impossible. It is Scripturally impossible. It contradicts philosophy, logic, and rationalism, and it does to an even greater extent contradict the Holy Bible. So where pray tell do people get the idea that good can be a logical outcome from men enslaved as a worker for the devil [2 Tim. 2:26]? Actually, it was Christ Himself that called the unregenerate “sons of [their] father, the devil. [John 8:44]” That’s harsh I know, but that doesn’t disqualify it’s truth. On what basis does one conclude against the Word of God and against the reasoning of their minds that a person devoid of good, and thus lacking the ability to choose it, can still choose to do good? We cannot call something good because we enjoy, but rather if God is pleased with it. “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. [Rom. 8:8]” Without God’s leading, it is not an option for one not liberated from the bondage of sin to choose good. Good does not exist, until God grants us the grace for it to (2 Corinthians 3:17). And when we are free to choose good and evil within a relationship of grace with God through Christ, we can begin sanctification. Non-believers cannot be sanctified; that is a Scriptural impossibility. Not everything that they do is evil; and this does not disprove total depravity in the least, but merely obligates us to glorify God all the more!

    Response to Objection 3: No, really it does not make sense at all. And I hope that by the time you are through reading all my writing, you will agree with us. First, I’ve looked for the concept of “free will” in the Bible. I’m sorry, but it ain’t there. We see the concept of men making choices, but we do not see the concept of free agency. Free will is a liberal, modern American institute.

    The problem that lies with us having “free will” lies also, apart from what has already been written, in the question of who is in control. If we are partially in control, then the result would be that the future would be ultimately determined by the free actions of man. Being in “partial control” would deny that God is in complete control. Thus, the course of the future would be unpredictable. If God is in complete control of the future, then it may go about just as He had planned it.

    To better phrase this, if the current course of the present lies in our free actions and choices, and is undetermined by God, then it logically cannot be known by Him. If men have irrevocable free will, and every person has free control of their operations that compose the sphere of present events; if the present course of events is undetermined by God, how pray tell, can God foreordain things that will occur in the future course of time? The problem within our free will lies in the fact that the future cannot be shaped if it cannot be known. As the Arminian apologist Dr. Gregory Boyd wrote, “If we have been given freedom, we create the reality of our decisions by making them. And until we make them, they don’t exist. Thus, in my view at least, there simply isn’t anything to know until we make it there to know. (Letters, Boyd).”&nbsp; Bless his heart, I have a question for people who hold this view of theology: If God does not know the future, is it possible for Him to be wrong about it? The best answer I’ve ever heard in response, and at the same time the worst, is “He doesn’t think about the future.” Wow! No comment.
  6. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
    (Cont. from Article III)


    Scriptural Support:

    “Then the Lord God saw that the wickedness of man was great on earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only in evil continually -Genesis 6:5

    “What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?” -Job15:14

    “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.” -Ecclesiastes 7:20

    “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard change his spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to evil -Jeremiah 13:23

    “For out of the heart proclaims evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” -Matthew 15:19

    “They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave to sin -John 8:33-34

    “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire... for there is no truth in Him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is the father of lies.” -John 8:44

    “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God -Romans 8:7-8

    “For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope.” -Romans 8:20

    “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty -2 Corinthians 3:17

    “And that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will -2 Timothy 2:26

    “But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption -2 Peter 2:12

    “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one -1 John 5:19
  7. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
    Total Depravity- Inability

    I decided to split the doctrine of total depravity into two parts. One aspect relates to human nature, the other relates to our ability, or rather, inability to accept God without Him calling us. One reason I did this was because oftentimes in discussions with Arminians, we will get caught up in debating common grace, but forgetting to stress the soteriological aspect of total depravity. The first point is of minimal importance; our inability to choose God is the very foundation to Reformed soteriology. This is very advantageous organization because there is now twice as much Scriptural support as usually found in other systematic theologies.

    Since man has and been born from corrupted seed, we can understand that man is completely infected by sin, in all aspects. Thus, it is impossible to do good works without the help or orchestration of the Father (Rom. 8:8). God will never be pleased with any fruit of our efforts, as long as the core of our decisions is infected with strands of sin. If the result and fruit of our efforts comes from a sin, and only a sin nature, then it is not a “good” work; it does not please God. We are so blind, so evil; we lack even the ability to see and repent unto salvation without His grace. Since we cannot choose to do good things, we certainly cannot choose God! If we are completely devoid of good, and so full of corruption, deceit, and wickedness, we do not possess the ability to grasp a holy God. What you do find on the other hand is a corrupted will, devoid of goodness and full of evil. If man is inherently corrupt, malignant, and wicked as shown undeniably through the Scriptures, how then can man under natural compulsion choose God, the all-perfect, all-loving, all-holy Deity? Man cannot choose good and thus man certainly cannot choose God, because it’s simply not a possible outworking of our nature.

    Since we are sinful in nature, we feel no guilt and need for a Savior. The excuse I dislike the most in evangelism, with the exception of the “Jesus is great for you but He’s just not my thing” excuse, is the statement that a person is looking for God, but “cannot find Him.” Without divine calling, man feels no guilt or need for grace. The only time you might hear an unregenerate man talk about God, on his own accord, is when he hits his thumb with a hammer. That’s about the extent of it as I have unfortunately witnessed. The only way a man feels guilty and an insufficiency within himself, is if God is convicting him. Man naturally exalts himself and scoffs at the idea of looking to the skies for help, and laughs at men that proclaim their dependency on God. God is not hiding. If a man is sincerely searching for God, He will be found. God doesn’t hide from the men He intends to save.

    What total depravity does, is realize that before we were born again, we were dead in our trespasses, and spiritually blind, we’re told over and over again. A man that is dead possesses as much ability to perform the action of resurrecting himself, as a totally depraved man without free will does in willing himself eternal life. It is Christ who worked the miracle of giving us sight, resulting in us being drawn in to embrace Him by faith. When He calls His elect, He awakens them to their guilt, their sin, their need for a Savior, and the reality of the death and atonement of Christ. Prior to conversion, we don’t understand Him, His ways are foolishness, we don’t feel we need Him, and we do not accept Him. We cannot repent- for, logically, how can man earnestly repent of what he loves? He enjoys sin, and until convicted and drawn in, sees no need and feels no desire to stop. When God breaks us out of the chain of thought, and regenerates us, then we are free to embrace Him.

    Despite how it might seem nowadays in society, no one will utterly reject God when He offers them the grace to choose good, convicts them of their guilt, draws them in, and He embraces us. He draws us near to Him; salvation is not of us choosing Him, as much as it is Him choosing us. As a result, all glory, including the very saving faith that we utilized for salvation, is an act and decree of the graces of God. The freeing of the will always results in salvation by the faith of the believer. Without the grace that Christ shows in freeing our will in bondage, there would be no salvation at all. Total depravity is the doctrine of our dependence on Christ for salvation.

    Scriptural Support

    “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” -John 6:44

    “Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” -John 12:39-40

    “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit....” -John 15:16

    “There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God -Romans 3:11

    “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” -1 Corinthians 2:14

    “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit -1 Corinthians 12:3

    “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is in the image of God, should shine in them.” -2 Corinthians 4:3-4

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new -2 Corinthians 5:17


    We may not like to hear all of this (I’ll confess it as well). But since Scriptures consistently preach the same message; since “Thus saith the Lord”, we are bound to believe what the Holy Bible tells us. There are verses and passages in context that I just would not be able to deal with if I believed otherwise. Either I can be Calvinist, or I can deny the Bible as God’s Word. I find no middle ground for reconciliation. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself and my guilt if I simply ignored parts of the Holy Bible because I don‘t agree with it.

    In conclusion, let me summarize: Man fell from a pure state into a totally depraved state of natural inherent corruption. This corruption is passed down, as Jesus said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh.” This sin nature completely dominates us in spiritual chains that we enjoy no less, to do evil when left to our own device. Since we do not wish to, and we do not possess the ability to embrace God without His conviction and regeneration, we are considered by the whole of Scripture to be “blind” and “dead” to the message of Christ. And, due to the inherent evil and unavoidable corruption of man, all men deserve to be condemned, in just as equal proportion as they ask for it. To euphamize this great tragedy, all men naturally deserve and desire their eternal condemnation.
  8. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
  9. Allen2

    Allen2 Member

    Wow! I'm drowning in Reformed Theology. I know you didn't want any remarks from the rest of us, BUT.....why? Besides, how can we dialogue, debate, critique, etc.?
    Well, OK: how about this one tiny, eensy-teensy matter. I don't believe that God decreed or predestined any one to sin. Why? Because He holds US responsible for our misdeeds. Would He in any way plan on our sinning and then plan on a very expensive Rescue thru Christ? I guess when I do wrong, I can't blame my culture, my parents, Adam and Eve and even some purported decree. I'm not being snotty, just wanting a good solid discussing. The Reformed Faith is actually my heritage, tho messrs. Calvin, Luther, et.al would be horrified at my present take on these issues as an evangelical Christian. God bless, al
  10. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
    I don't believe He predestined man to sin either.

    I believe He stuck Satan in the garden and ordained that Satan would be the instrument to entice man's fallen nature to sin. Thus man is accountable on acting.

    It's all explained. Please read on.
  11. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    United Ch. of Christ
    Typically Evangelicals today are "four point dispensationalists."

    They hold to Calvinism without limited atonement. This has been so far from what I've read and experienced.

    Because I go to an Evangelical church too. Perhaps you ought to check the defense I posted. All your questions are answered.
  12. Allen2

    Allen2 Member

    Why do you keep saying, "please do not debate on this thread"? Instead of inundating us with material, set out and support one or two ideas and interact with us. Or do you doubt that non-Calvinists have much to offer? I think I would learn more and enjoy the growth that comes from the loving clash of ideas. God bless, Al
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