In this third illustration our well-meaning board member attempts to prove that belief in the true God and Jesus Christ is well within the natural ability of all men. Therefore, the doctrine of man’s Total Inability to any spiritual good - unless regenerated - is false. Example # 3: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1) “You had the ability to believe in many things before you actually heard of them and believed them. Did you have to be supernaturally regenerated to believe that George Washington was our first President? So this is an utterly ridiculous argument from you. Men are born with the ability to believe. Men have the ability to believe in God, but not believe in Christ. Jesus here shows a man can believe in God, but not believe in him. Men have the ability to believe.” Refutation: Believing facts about Jesus Christ is similar to believing facts about George Washington. However, believing in and trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is altogether a different matter.....a matter of eternal life or death. In speaking to His Elect Disciples – (yes, the devil Judas was there also. He was not Elect.) – Jesus was confirming His Deity. He was not confirming their unbelief. He was strengthening their faith for the trials which lay ahead. However, it was not until the infilling of the Holy Spirit (which occurred on Pentecost) that their faith was able to overcome extreme adversities, fearlessly proclaiming the Gospel. The board member makes the fallacious argument equating the human ability to believe earthly truths as that same ability to believe spiritual truths. Jesus says otherwise. He teaches man’s Total Inability to discern spiritual truths. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again [with a new nature regenerated by the Holy Spirit], he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) The new birth is absolutely necessary before a sinner can comprehend anything spiritual, God and Jesus included. The Apostle Paul concurs. “But the natural [unregenerate] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14) Please note that Paul teaches unregenerate man does not receive spiritual truth because he cannot. Paul teaches Total Inability. The board member further makes the pronouncement that men are able to believe in the true God and yet not believe in Jesus. But that is impossible. Jesus is fully and truly God. To receive [i.e., believe and trust in] Jesus is to receive [believe and trust in] the Father. “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” (Matt. 10:40] The inverse is also true: To not receive Jesus is to not receive the Father. For no man comes to the Father but by Jesus. Conclusion: The well-meaning board member has made an idol of ‘free will.’ In his theology nothing and no one need assist, bend, influence or coerce man’s ‘free’ will. Man, he teaches, has the power to make good use of his will, should he so choose. This is nothing less than the ancient heresy of Pelagianism. • He teaches man, by his innate natural ability, has the will power to shake off the chains of bondage to sin and Satan. This he teaches despite Jesus’ statement in John 8:34-36 which contradicts the board member. • He teaches man, by his innate natural ability, has the power to believe and trust in Jesus Christ. The board member teaches this despite the testimony of John 3: 3, John 14:17 and Cor. 2:14 which posit man with total spiritual blindness as well as total inability to receive spiritual truth. To further end any controversy as to man’s ability, the Apostle declares man spiritually dead. (Eph. chapter 2) • He teaches man, by his innate natural ability, has the will power to surrender his life, loving that which, by nature, he loathes and despises, despite Romans 8:5-8 which contradicts the board member.