The Capranica

Comments on theology and life

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Monday, January 30, 2006

Calvinism: Total Depravity

While I was in Kentucky for my DMin class, I read through the book, The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended and Documented, by David N. Steele, Curtis C. Thomas, and S. Lance Quinn. This is a very helpful resource for a simple, straightforward discussion on Calvinism. The book is invaluable for the annotated bibliography of resources that discuss Calvinism. It also provides a good historical look at TULIP's beginnings and a helpful chart comparing the five points of Armenianism with the five points of Calvinism. Get the book. In conjunction with Fide-O's posts this week on Calvinism, and to simply have them summarized for reference on my blog, throughout the week, I hope to summarize each one of the petals of Calvinism's TULIP as presented in The Five Points. (I'm not commenting on what the guys wrote - I'm verbatim quoting portions of the book). TOTAL DEPRAVITY OR TOTAL INABILITY The view one takes concerning salvation will be determined, to a large extent, by the view one takes concerning sin and its effects on human nature. When Calvinits speak of man as being totally depraved, they mean that man's nature is corrupt, perverse, and sinful throughut. The corruption extends to every part of man, his body and soul; sin has affected all (the totality) ofman's faculties - his mind, his will, etc. As a result of this inborn corruption, the natural man is totally unable to do anything spiritually good; thus, Calvinists speak of man's 'total inability.' The inability intended by this terminology is spiritual inability; it means that the sinner is so spiritually bankrupt that he can do nothing pertaining to his salvation. Originally, Adam's will was free from the dominion of sin; he was under no natural compulsion to choose evil, but through his fall he brought spiritual death upon himself and all his posterity. His descendants are still free to choose - every man makes choices throughout life - but inasmuch as Adam's offspring are born with sinful natures, they do not have the ability to choose spiritual good over evil. Consequently, man's will is no longer free (i.e., free from the dominion of sin) as Adam's will was free before the Fall. Instead, man's will, as the result of inherited depravity, is in bondage to his sinful nature. Spiritual Deadness 1. When Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden, he was warned not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge fo good and evil on the threat of immediate spiritual death. Gen. 2:16-17. 2. Adam disobeyed and ate of the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:1-7); consequently, he brought spiritual death upon himself and upon the race. Rom 5:12; Eph 2:1-3; Col 2:13 3. David confessed that he, as well as all other men was born in sin. Ps 51:5; 58:3. 4. Because men are born in sin and are by nature spiritually dead, Jesus taught that men must be born anew if they are to enter God's kingdom. Jn 3:5-7; John 1:12-13. Darkened Minds and Corrupt Hearts As the result of the Fall, men are blind and deaf to spiritual truth. Their minds are darkened by sin; their hearts are corrupt and evil. Gen 6:5; 8:21; Eccl 9:3; Jer 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; John 3:19; Rom 8:7-8; 1 Cor 2:14; Eph 4:17-19; 5:8; Tit 1:15. Bondage to Sin and Satan Before sinners are born into God's kingdom through the regenerating power of the Spirit, they are children fo the devil and under his control; they are slaves to sin. Jn 8:44; Eph 2:1-2; 2 Tim 2:25-26; 1 Jn 3:10; 5:19; Jn 8:34; Rom 6:20; Tit 2:3. A Universal Bondage The reign of sin is universal; all men are under its power. Consequently, none is righteous - not even one! 2 Chron 6:36; Job 15:14-16; Ps 130:3; 143:2; Prov 20:9; Eccl 7:20, 29; Isa 53:6; 64:6; Rom 3:9-12; Jas 3:2, 8; 1 Jn 1:8, 10. Inability to Change Men left in their dead state are unable of themselves to repent, to believe the gospel, or to come to Christ. They have no power within themselves to change their nature or to prepare themselves for salvation. Job 14:4; Jer 13:23; Matt 7:16-18; 12:33; John 6:44; 6:65; Rom 11:35-36; 1 Cor 2:14; 4:7; 2 Cor 3:5.


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