The Highway

Total Depravity

Posted By: ATulipNotADaisy

Total Depravity - Wed May 27, 2020 1:44 PM

The WCF chap 6.4 states “From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”

Doesn’t this mean that there is NO good left in man due to the Fall?

However, not all men commit acts that are as bad as they could be.
For example I would not rob a bank, but is this due to:

1. the restraining hand of God
2. my own self-righteousness since I don’t want to go to jail
3. both
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Wed May 27, 2020 3:34 PM

Originally Posted by ATulipNotADaisy
The WCF chap 6.4 states “From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”

Doesn’t this mean that there is NO good left in man due to the Fall?

However, not all men commit acts that are as bad as they could be.
For example I would not rob a bank, but is this due to:

1. the restraining hand of God
2. my own self-righteousness since I don’t want to go to jail
3. both

1. There are two parts to "Original Sin"; a) imputation of Adam's guilt to all his progeny, b) spiritual death, aka: corruption of nature, total depravity/inability.
2. The latter is what you are referring to, i.e., "Total Depravity/Inability" which means in simple terms, fallen man has no desire nor ability to do ANYTHING good, nor even to think anything good. The natural man hates God and all that is holy, pure, good, etc. (cf. Rom 3:9-13; Eph 2:1-5; et al).
3. Scripture teaches that the natural man is totally depraved but not utterly depraved, i.e., man is not as bad as he could be, or as John Gerstner succinctly put it, "there is room for deprovement".
4. The reasons you gave for you not robbing a bank are correct; "1. the restraining hand of God 2. my own self-righteousness since I don’t want to go to jail 3. both" (cf. Gen 20:2-6; Acts 2:22-24). God has decreed/ordained/predestined ALL THINGS and by His omnipotent providence He brings all things to pass for His own glory and for the sanctification and final good of those whom He loved from eternity in Christ Jesus. AND... all men are 100% responsible and culpable for their evil thoughts, words, and deeds.

Conclusion: Fallen man cannot do anything good, i.e., perfectly in accord with God's holy law. And (not but) man does do relative good according to man's own standards/law due to God's restraining man's natural evil and not eut to anything within man himself.
Posted By: ATulipNotADaisy

Re: Total Depravity - Wed May 27, 2020 5:51 PM

You said, “ 3. Scripture teaches that the natural man is totally depraved but not utterly depraved, i.e., man is not as bad as he could be, or as John Gerstner succinctly put it, "there is room for deprovement".

Could you please explain the difference between utter and total depravity and why it is important to make a distinction.

Are you saying there is some good left in man? Or are you saying there is room for deprovement in his actions, but no room for deprovement in his status before God, his objective state of guilt
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Wed May 27, 2020 8:17 PM

1. Total Depravity = EVERYTHING that fallen man does in his natural; unregenerate state is governed by a hatred of God and all that is good. So, every thought, word, and deed is sinful.

2. Utter Depravity = IF the natural man was left to himself, without any restraint by the Spirit of God, then mankind would annihilate itself instantly.

It is very important to make the distinction, for all the benefits which fallen man within societies are REAL for God has deemed it good that even the wicked receive His benevolence and thus are obligated to repent and believe upon Christ unto justification and worship the one true God. (Titus 3:4 where the word "love" in the Greek is actually philanthropos from which we get our English word philanthropy, i.e., to do good, to show kindness, etc.) and Rom 2:4. Perhaps I can illustrate the importance of the distinction via a human pericope? A well known theologian in the 1900's was give a hypothetical situation where during the winter if his truck slid off the road and was stuck. And, his unregenerate neighbor "happened along" and pulled his truck out of the snow bank. The question then was asked if the neighbor did a "good thing"? And further, would he thank the man for helping him? The answer by this scholar/theologian was a most definite, "NO!" to both the questions. He refused to acknowledge that even the reprobate could to "relative good", i.e., acts of benevolence or kindness as God clearly does for all mankind (Matt 5:44ff).

To sum up, then... There is inherently NO Good in fallen men since the Fall when judged according to God's holy law. Without the restraining work of the Spirit of God, fallen man would immediately become utterly depraved and his true infinite wickedness would be displayed. And, the unregenerate are by nature under the just wrath of God and liable to eternal damnation UNLESS, God from eternity has determined to show mercy and bestow grace, whereby the Spirit regenerates their spiritually dead souls and brings them to repentance and faith in the Lord Christ, which is exactly the case with the elect (Rom 8:39,40; Eph 1:3-23; 2:1-5; Titus 3:3-7).

Did I answer all your questions to you satisfaction? Or, do I need to expand a bit more or whatever? giggle
Posted By: ATulipNotADaisy

Re: Total Depravity - Wed May 27, 2020 11:38 PM

"that even the wicked receive His benevolence and thus are obligated to repent and believe upon Christ unto justification and worship the one true God. "

So are you saying that God is good to those he intends to damn?

I am still not getting the importance of a distinction between total depravity and utter depravity. Maybe you do need to explain further. Thank you.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Thu May 28, 2020 1:54 AM

Originally Posted by ATulipNotADaisy
So are you saying that God is good to those he intends to damn?

yep Yes, God is benevolent to all men regardless of their final destination. Please do not misconstrue this as being the same as "God loves everyone.", which is the popular contemporary view... see here, for example for a rebuttal to that serious error: Does God Love the Sinner and Hate Only His Sin?. Hyper-Calvinism is best known for denying that God does any good/kindness/benevolence to the reprobate. On the other extreme there is Semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism and all other spurious variations of Christianity which believe that God loves everyone, even the reprobate. Neither can be proven from Scripture.

On the second issue as to the distinction between total and utter depravity... including the false teaching that even those who are regenerate are totally depraved, which is a flat denial of God the Spirit's radical transformation of the soul in regeneration, where the individual is brought to spiritual life and thus no longer hates God but loves God, hates sin and yearns to do that which is according to God's perfect law, cf. Rom 7. The unregenerate are totally depraved as has been embraced by all those who adhere to the various Reformed Confessions and Catechisms throughout history, even before the Reformation. The sinner has no inclination nor cannot do, think nor even desire to love God and conform himself to the law of God. But again, that predisposition to rebel against God is restrained by God for many reasons, e.g., for the benefit of the Church in that it is allowed to exist and grow until the full number of elect are gathered in, for relative peace on earth among the nations, etc., etc. I gave you a biblical example citing Abraham, Sarah and Abimelech, which shows that IF God had not restrained Abemilech, despite Abimelech's self-righteous boasting of not taking Sarah, he would have. There are many examples throughout Scripture where God used wicked men and women for His purposes to bring about a greater good, the epitome being the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory. There were countless times Christ could have been seized and murdered by all, but it was God's purpose in the fulness of time and not before that He allowed it by restraining the natural hatred of Him that resided in the hearts of all. Utter depravity will only exist in Hell where the damned will be give full expression of their depravity.

Yes, I am aware of some individuals who lure some away on the Internet with their serious heretical views and who insist that the unregenerate are "utterly depraved" and accuse anyone who disagrees with them that they must believe that there is some "good" in all men. That is nothing less than a categorical lie. Historically, the Calvinistic churches have never held to that nonsense and have rejected it as spurious teaching at best. I suspect you have been exposed to one of those individuals online and probably could provide that person's name too. evilgrin
Posted By: ATulipNotADaisy

Re: Total Depravity - Thu May 28, 2020 12:10 PM

Thank you for your very thorough, helpful reply. Are there any other articles on The Highway concerning the heresy of hyper-Calvinism? I thought hyper-Calvinism only had to do with not preaching the gospel to someone until they showed signs of election. I see there is more to it than that.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Thu May 28, 2020 2:01 PM

I have no articles on The Highway that deals with hyper-Calvinism specifically... sorry. sorry

Yes, there are quite of number of items which fit into the hyper-Calvinistic camp. Let me crystal clear on this point that even though there are a number of hyper-Calvinists, throughout history and even today, that should never result in one assuming that everything they espouse is in error. I did graduate work at a hyper-Calvinist seminary and although I strongly took issue with some of their main tenets, they were solidly biblical on other issues.

In addition to the odious error that the Gospel belongs only to the elect and additionally, only the elect have the warrant to believe rolleyes2, there is the doctrine of "Common Grace" to which caused a split in the Christian Reformed Church, which is now apostate and resulted in the formation of the Protestant Reformed Church under the leadership of Herman Hoeksema. On the one hand, the PRC was correct in rejecting the CRC's invention of "Common Grace" but unfortunately they went too far the other way. I have already mentioned that extreme position whereby they insist that shows no benevolence toward the reprobate but only hatred with the intent to increase their damnation. But aside from the fact that there is no biblical support for this view, it is fallacious on its face. Since ALL MEN are under God's wrath and His just condemnation due to the Fall, i.e., the judgment/penalty put upon Adam and all his progeny, which is classically known as Original Sin; inherited corruption of nature and the imputation of guilty. That alone qualifies everyone for eternal punishment. More could be said on this to be sure. Books have been written on both sides of the dispute as well as some who take issue with both sides, which is where I stand. wink

Another issue which can be attributed to hyper-Calvinism is "Monergistic Sanctification" vs. "Synergistic Sanctification". In the former position, which is another popular issue found online, is that man contributes nothing to his sanctification, for as they insist, if that is not true, then God shares His glory with man. This is a dangerous view for it denies the doctrine of regeneration whereby a radical transformation, the enlivening of a sinner's dead soul, by the Spirit changes the sinner's innate disposition of hating God and all that is good to one that loves God and all that is good, albeit imperfectly in this life. They insist that it is all of God and nothing of man. But again, even a cursory reading of Scripture, e.g., Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, et al, clearly shows that God by the Spirit through the Apostle Paul commands and encourages the Christian to DO and THINK those things which are required of him in his life. They are not commands to the Holy Spirit to do and think, but the regenerated Christian. It is both the working of God the Spirit Who indwells true believers AND the new nature which will and work His good will. For this is what the Christian was ordained to do (Eph 2:8-10).

Okay, one more item and enough for me at this time giggle There is this popular error, although it has existed for centuries, but not predominately in Reformed circles until fairly recently, that God wills/desires the salvation of all men. I find this particularly repulsive for it is one of the major tenets of semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism, many sects, cults and non-Christian religions. It's foundation rests upon the unbiblical notion that God loves everyone. IF God truly wills/desires that all men be saved, then they will infallibly be saved, aka: Universalism. Whatever God has decreed from eternity will, by His secret providence come to pass. There is no dissimulation within the Godhead whereby God truly desires something to happen but it never does. What then becomes of the fundamental attribute of God's Omnipotence? [Linked Image] (Job 23:13; Isa 46:9-13; Rom 9:6-13; Eph 1:11).
Posted By: ATulipNotADaisy

Re: Total Depravity - Sat May 30, 2020 11:49 AM

Pilgrim,
To sum up your points about hyper-Calvinists:

1. Hyper-Calvinists deny that God does any good/kindness/benevolence to the reprobate. God shows no benevolence toward the reprobate only hatred with the intent to increase his damnation.

2. Hyper-Calvinists believe election is the warrant to believe and not the free offer of the gospel

3. Hyper-Calvinists believe in monergistic sanctification as opposed to synergistic sanctification in that man contributes nothing to his sanctification. They insist that to deny this is attempt to share God’s glory.

Have I got this right?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Sat May 30, 2020 1:29 PM

yep Please understand, that these are but some of the doctrines that define hyper-Calvinists. And, some hyper-Calvinists do not hold to ALL of these doctrines. Because someone holds to, for example, "Eternal Justification" but rejects the majority of other hyper-Calvinist doctrines does not necessarily make that person a hyper-Calvinist. I hope you can understand the difference(s)?

I should also try to make certain that the rejection of the "Free Offer" of the Gospel, i.e., God desires/wills the salvation of all men without exception, as best seen in John Murray's and Ned Stonehouse's booklet The Free Offer of the Gospel, does NOT equate to that rejection as hyper-Calvinism!! nono Those of us who must unfortunately and with sadness reject what is proposed in that booklet and the Report of the Committee on the Free Offer of the Gospel presented to the Fifteenth (1948) General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church which tried to defend it do so on biblical and theological grounds. What we DO believe and hold to be incontrovertibly true is that the true Gospel is to be proclaimed indiscriminately to the world and God's command to repent and believe upon Christ unto salvation. IF God "wills/desires" something, then it MUST infallibly come to pass. There is no "wishful thinking" in the Godhead but the outworking of God's decree, determinate council, predestination from all eternity. We, as the means of bringing the Gospel to a fallen race have no absolute knowledge of who it is that God has decreed to rescue and save from sin and destruction. And since ALL men are sinners and thus are in need of salvation, we preach/teach/witness the great redemption which can be found in the LORD Christ to all who repent and believe with a true Spirit-wrought faith in Him. This is far different that espousing that the Gospel is only for the elect and/or one must discern if they are elect before they have the warrant (God-give right) to believe.

In short, my concern is that one make a clear distinction between hyper-Calvinist doctrines vs. one being labeled a hyper-Calvinist at the drop of a hat! okay? Truth is a fine line one must walk sometimes. One of the most difficult, IMO, is when confronted with the doctrines of God's Absolute Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility. It is far too easy to fall off to one side or the other and by doing so, both doctrines are perverted and in some cases even denied.

IF you or anyone else has the time and/or desire to do so, I highly recommend one of John Calvin's most incredible and biblically based writings, which you can find here: Calvin's Calvinism: The Eternal Predestination of God and The Secret Predestination of God. And if one wishes to begin with something a bit easier to digest, there is Calvin's The Salvation of All Men, an exposition of 1Tim 2:3-5... "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior: Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
Posted By: ATulipNotADaisy

Re: Total Depravity - Sun May 31, 2020 8:11 PM

Shouldn't a sermon end with a call to repent and believe?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Sun May 31, 2020 8:46 PM

Originally Posted by ATulipNotADaisy
Shouldn't a sermon end with a call to repent and believe?

What do you think? Why? grin
Posted By: ATulipNotADaisy

Re: Total Depravity - Sun May 31, 2020 9:21 PM

Because without repentance their is no forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit does not believe for us. We must exercise the faith God has given us.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Sun May 31, 2020 10:08 PM

yep But no altar calls... drop
Posted By: ATulipNotADaisy

Re: Total Depravity - Sun May 31, 2020 10:49 PM

Of course, no altar calls.

The call to repent and believe is missing in the hyper-Calvinist's sermon because the hyper-Calvinist believes that the warrant for faith is election, however the reprobate have the same warrant to believe in Jesus Christ as the elect because Christ promises to save all those who come to Him.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:26 AM

Absolutely!! There is none so sinful that they cannot be saved by the mercy, grace and power of God in Christ Jesus. The external call is for ALL. The internal efficacious call is given to the elect. He whom God calls will come and will be received in Christ through repentance and faith.

Quote
Romans 8:29-30 (ASV) 29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: 30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Romans 10:12-17 (ASV) 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same [Lord] is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: 13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So belief [cometh] of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

We have the assurance that bringing the Gospel is never in vain, for God is the Sovereign LORD who brings all things to pass according to His good pleasure. For He has not only ordained the end but also the means to that end. One man plants another waters, but it is the LORD who brings the increase (1Cor 3:5-9).
Posted By: ATulipNotADaisy

Re: Total Depravity - Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:30 PM

“ Yes, there are quite of number of items which fit into the hyper-Calvinistic camp. Let me crystal clear on this point that even though there are a number of hyper-Calvinists, throughout history and even today, that should never result in one assuming that everything they espouse is in error. I did graduate work at a hyper-Calvinist seminary and although I strongly took issue with some of their main tenets, they were solidly biblical on other issues.”

But aren’t there other godly men to point to so that one would never need to recommend the teaching of a hyper-Calvinist?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:40 PM

yep That is true when dealing with new believers and many who have long been in the faith but who are not prone to reading theological works, or any good solid literature. And if one does recommend something of value written by an author who is of the hyper-Calvinistic group or anyone who holds to some serious error, it is prudent to make it clear that the recommendation is for that particular thing and should not be taken as a carte blanche or even a general recommendation of the person's/group's writings. Wisdom is certainly called for. grin
Posted By: godrulez

Re: Total Depravity - Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:00 AM

Maybe this has been said already however the WCF makes clear what it means. Fallen man has lost all ability to will that which is spiritually good. WCF, ch 9 (IX) Of Free Will
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Total Depravity - Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:51 AM

Yes, and further, fallen man totally lacks even the desire to seek after God or to do that which is good (as defined by God). [Psa 14:2-4; Prov 1:7,22,29-30; Jer 4:22; 13:23; Rom 3:9-18; 8:7]
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