How Romans 10 and Deut. 30 disprove the concept of "Total Inability."

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Paul, quoting from Deut. 30 writes, "3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. 5 Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them." 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 "or 'Who will descend into the deep?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." 8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    Here is the original from Deut:

    11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. 15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.​

    What is the CLEAR intent of Paul in quoting from Deut 30? He is explaining how the righteousness of 'their own' which is by Law through works isn't attainable, but that God's righteousness, which is by Grace through Faith, is in fact attainable. It is, "not too difficult for you or beyond your reach."

    How can anyone read these passages and walk away believing that righteousness by Grace through faith isn't attainable?
     
  2. Winman

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    I agree that the passage in Deu. 30 especially refutes Total Inability. Notice how often the issue of ability is addressed;

    Deu 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
    12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
    13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
    14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

    The whole point of this passage is that Moses is saying the people are able to have faith in God and obey him. This passage absolutely refutes Total Inability .

    But good luck getting any Calvinist to agree. Calvinists have a "total inability" to accept scripture that refutes their doctrine. :laugh:
     
    #2 Winman, Oct 5, 2012
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  3. Iconoclast

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    It is attainable to everyone who believes through faith. The fall has left man unwilling and unable to believe however.So, if someone believes all the scripture has to say on the matter they believe all points expressed in the DoG. God makes the unwilling....willing in the day of His power by new birth.
    Moses confronts the people with God's truth...there is no other truth.The fact that most died in unbelief....except for an elect remnant establishes the teaching of mans depravity. This was written for our learning.Paul points that out to the Romans.

    We have a sure word from God ...no need to search anywhere else.Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. Anyone can see that...if they do not have an agenda.
     
  4. Winman

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    Pure man-made baloney, show where the scriptures say the fall left man unable to believe, that is the very error of Calvinism these passages refute.

    There is not one verse in the scriptures that says the fall left all men unable to believe, you cannot possibly show it.
     
  5. Yeshua1

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    Skan and others here need to realise that both the OT/NT passages referring to this would be addressing towards the persons of the Covenant with God, those already established in a relationshipwith Him, by his Grace and faith!

    God is NOT addressing all sinners, just those who have been saved and reddemed by Him!
     
  6. Skandelon

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    Exactly, yet Calvinists seem to think belief is like works of the law and is equally unattainable even though this verse clearly states otherwise.

    The scripture never teaches this. The only people who can't believe the gospel are the people who can't hear it...and Israel was blinded/hardened from it for a time (cut off) as Paul explained in Romans 11 and Acts 28:21-28, but there is nothing in scripture about all of mankind being born unable to respond to the gospel appeal.
     
  7. zrs6v4

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    To the op,

    Righteousness through the law isn't attainable because we have already broken the law. In other words if you seek righteousness by the law you cannot be saved as you are already a transgressor under the curse. To Paul righteousness through faith is attainable because of Christ's finished work. So I think you are going outside of the point here. I dont think the passage is talking about whether faith is attainable contrary to the Calvinist idea of inability. Faith is attainable and right in mans reach because Christ opened the door through his work. The question outside of this context is whether or not a natural man can see or desire this trusting or clinging to Christ that is possible and right before him. Obviously this is where the divide is. Some say the Spirit isn't necessary, some say the Spirit empowers all in some way, and some say the Spirit elects a few.

    The statement, "is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach" as you emphasized does not mean that all natural men can see and desire their needs apart from the Spirit. Looking at this passage alone one may come to that conclusion as one possibility but when taking into account other passages I believe that possibility is ruled out and narrowed down to what I explained above.
     
    #7 zrs6v4, Oct 5, 2012
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  8. Winman

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    What other passages? You haven't shown one word of scripture that supports all men are unable to believe. Skan has provided scripture that says men can believe.

    Calvinists always say things like "scripture supports our view" but they never show the scripture. This is a perfect example of this false form of argument commonly used by Calvinists.

    If you are going to say scripture supports Calvinism, then show the scripture.
     
  9. Skandelon

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    I agree, and that IS the point. Righteousness is unattainable if pursued by law through works, but it is attainable if pursued by Grace through faith in the One who finished the WORK. Paul concludes as much in the last paragraph of chapter 9.


    Who says that???? Is the gospel a work of the spirit in your view, or not? How does anyone believe the gospel if they haven't heard it yet? And if they hear it isn't that itself a work of the spirit in that he wrote it, inspired it, preserved it, and carried it?
     
  10. zrs6v4

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    You are correct, I haven't given any scripture showing that men cannot believe. I actually believe all men who actually hear the gospel have the open invitation and in some sense the ability to believe. Yet none do believe or seek God in and of their own nature. It is exactly the opposite of Jesus. He had the ability to sin and disobey His Father but because of His nature He never did as in some sense it was possible and impossible. With that said think of it as a paradox in mankind and in Jesus when considering ability.


    Some Scriptures that reveal man will never choose to believe apart from the Spirit of God: John 6:35-65 and 10:25-29, Romans 3:11 and 8:5-8 (The argument here is a believer with a fleshly mind is not submissive to God and can't be therefore you must make an argument that an unbeliever constantly operating in the flesh can in and of himself set his mind on the Spirit he doesn't know). 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 answers the previous parenthesis. I'll leave those passages for you to consider. I have a very low view of man and his natural state and do believe it is entirely up to the Spirit to impart understanding to our hearts so we can trust and see what we desperately need in Christ.
     
  11. zrs6v4

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    Why I made those statements was to show that the passage is more broad in the sense that it does not teach that faith is in the reach of natural, fleshly, men and woman who do not have the Spirit causing their hearts to understand and believe. It simply shows that the righteousness of God comes through faith and that faith is nothing like keeping the Law but it is right there before all men and woman to choose. In other words it is right there within everyones reach.

    Outside of the context and from other Scripture we see a problem presented nicely with the wisdom personification in proverbs 1:20-28. Wisdom cries out to people of the flesh but they have no wisdom or understanding. They need the fear and knowledge of God so they can turn and begin to get wisdom. So while faith is right there and requires no work and is offered to all, the world just simply doesn't see it. They need spiritual eyes and ears to discern the words of God. And in my view the discernment and heart understanding needed to give our hearts to Christ by faith is nothing less than a miracle of God's Spirit.


    I was not charging anyone with those claims, just simply laying out some random views. Yes the Spirit of God worked through Jesus to lead His whole life and in all His work. To your second question, I don't believe anyone can believe the gospel if they haven't heard it as stated in Romans 10.

    To your final question, if people hear the gospel that is a work of the Spirit preserving the truth. I think we can all testify to the fact that if we go on the street and tell 30 people the gospel that the majority of them while hearing will not understand in their hearts what we do about it. We know that if we could just put in their hearts our passions and desires about Jesus and His kingdom that they would also be saved. So the difference we now have is that I don't believe the Spirits work is done in the words coming from my lips but more importantly He must enter the hearts of the lost person I am speaking to and work there also or no fear of God, wisdom, or faith will come.
     
  12. Skandelon

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    The point I'm making is that Calvinists have the tendency to take passages which prove that men can't attain righteousness by law through works as proof text to support their idea that men are also unable to attain righteousness by grace through faith.

    I'll give you an example. How many times have you heard a Calvinist reference Romans 3:10 in support for their view of Total inability? I hear it all the time, yet clearly Paul is talking about the fact that no one is righteous according to the law, and not according to God's gracious provision through faith. Romans 3:19-21 makes that clear...
     
  13. Allan

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    Ah, but THAT is the kicker isn't it.

    If God can be shown, through scripture to in fact move upon man, then can you still state that man is unable to believe IF God is at work?

    I agree that no man will ever, of his own, choose to believe much less come to Christ.. but if God intervenes in a person's, can we state that they are still not able to believe when God has revealed to them His truths.

    We see in scripture state when God calls and man does not respond, God reveals and man refuses.

    Just some thoughts to consider
     
  14. Skandelon

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    Well said Allan. If it can be shown that the gospel has been sent to everyman (which clearly it has), and that the gospel is a work of God (which clearly it is) then we must conclude that indeed God is at work to reveal his truth, and make an appeal to all people. Now, is that revelation sufficient to enable a response? Must a revelation be effectually applied for it to be sufficiently delivered?
     
  15. zrs6v4

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    Its funny you say tat because I just referenced Romans 3:11 :). No it is vital to get passages in proper context so we can avoid making those mistakes.
     
  16. zrs6v4

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    It is really easy to attempt to box this all up nicely, but yes and no. In the deepest sense no because God ultimately has control over all things and all people. John 6:35-65 I quoted reveals this as well as Romans 8:30. They reveal the fact that when God calls and elects the end result is salvation, making faith the vehicle. Faith in my view is the response a person has to the work of the Spirit within an elect person. I am sure the Spirit can also be rejected by some, according to God's will. To keep it simplified, when one is elected by God and called irresistably then faith is the guaranteed result.

    I explained my view on this to Winman in a previous post in this thread. I would be say I have Calvinistic theology but on this aspect and on regeneration I would consider myself mainstream. I described how I view mans inability to do good with Jesus' inability to do evil. It is a paradox in the sense that the option and freedom to do good or evil is present and the will can choose yet there is on the other hand an impossibility for Jesus to do evil or man to do good (in the sense of loving and worshiping God).

    I am in agreement that God does call through prophets and preachers and all day long people reject the message of God through men. The elect on the other hand do not refuse not because of anything they have done, but solely because God chose to save them and work differently on them than He has on the the non-elect. All equally hear the word, but the elect hear it differently at the proper time.
     
  17. Van

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    Obviously

    Total Spiritual Inability is a mistaken doctrine. No support in scripture can be found for the idea that because man if fallen he is unable to seek God and trust in Christ such that God would credit that faith as righteousness.

    Matthew 13 tells us of four soils, three of which did seek God and trust in Christ to some degree. Thus the premise is obviously false. Yet not one Calvinist can be persuaded to admit to the mistaken doctrine.

    The Bible tells us of men seeking God through the Old Covenant, i.e. the Law of Moses, yet not being saved. So they had not been regenerated, yet were seeking God. Not one example, or two, but dozens, yet every single Calvinist will simple say those saved were regenerated and the rest did not seek God effectively. They simple rewrite scripture and viola, Calvinism is then found in the rewritten text.

    This has been going on in this forum for years.
     
  18. Bronconagurski

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    Of course salvation is attainable, or no one would be saved. I am not getting your point here. But it is not attainable through anything man can do, or Christ would not have come to die.
     
  19. Skandelon

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    In your system, it's only attainable for those regenerated, which necessarily means it remains unattainable for the natural man...that is what I'm referring to.

    Calvinism treats our view of faith like its a work of the law and so they conclude that just as man is unable to work and earn their salvation, so too they are unable to believe and earn their salvation. But there are TWO problems with this approach. (1) we don't teach that faith is meritorious (our belief doesn't earn or deserve salvation, even the most faith filled sinner in the world deserves death and an eternal hell), salvation is all of grace. (2) Scripture never teaches that men are unable to believe the clearly revealed truth of God (it does teach that none are righteous by law through works, but it never teaches that none are righteous by grace through faith.)
     
  20. Bronconagurski

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    Well, since we don't know who the elect are, I guess it is a moot point no matter who ends up being right in the end. Personally, I don't believe in limited atonement, nor I believe in irresistible grace. But I do not believe that man, of his own volition, will seek after God either. I also believe if God chooses not to draw someone, for whatever reason, they will not be saved nor have any hope whatsoever. Some say that is limited atonement, but I call it predestination and foreknowledge. I call myself a Calvanist because I don't believe you can lose your salvation and that God has to draw, but most people probably don't consider me a Calvanist. No matter what anyones view, there are paradoxes.
     

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