Total Depravity

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Mark Osgatharp, Jul 4, 2003.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    It is very common to hear Baptist preachers make such statements as, "You may be a good person, but you still need to be saved" or "there are a lot of good people in hell."

    I understand that the intent of such statements is to emphasize that we are not saved by doing good works. However, I think that these statements contradict one of the foundational Baptist doctrines - Total Depravity.

    Out of one side of our mouth we preach that all men are totally depraved sinners and out of the other side of our mouth we say "there are a lot of good moral people who need to be saved." But the Bible says "there is none good, no, not one."

    When we compare our own lives and the lives of our neighbors to the word of God, we can see very clearly the truth of this matter.

    We can also see the truth of this matter when we look at the crucifixion. Jesus Christ was crucified in our place. That means that, if everyone of us got what we deserve, we would get what He got, and worse.

    How can you tell a man that he deserved to be crucified and go to hell and then say, "but I'm not saying you are a bad person."

    Yes, bad is what man is. Bad to the bone. Totally, inherently, congenitally depraved.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. Hardsheller

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    Jeremiah got it right.

    (Jer 17:9 KJV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
     
  3. Sola-Scriptura

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    The problem is that the majority of Christians don't believe the doctrine of Total Depravity at all. If they did, we probably wouldn't need the Calvinism/Arminianism forums. Most evangelism doesn't start with this truth and ends up being wimpy pleading with people to exercise their "good" sense and make the right "decision".
    The Good News means very little if we do not realize how bad the bad news really is.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    And as Isaiah put it, "Even the 'righteous' things we do are like menstrual cloths." Probably the grossest picture to a Jewish male (who with even casual contact would be defiled). And that is the GOOD STUFF we do.

    Talk about total inability, a 'free' will bound by a depraved nature to make EVERY ACT and THOUGHT evil and worthy of condemnation. Utterly defiled even by the things society or our peers would call 'good'.

    Being reformed, I find that every discussion with arminian/semi-pelagians always ends back up on the bedrock of this doctrine. IF they can finally see themselves as God does, total dependence on a sovereign God for every part of salvation must needs follow.
     
  5. Artimaeus

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    Matt 19:17...Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God:

    Total depravity is correct. Nothing good about us. However, I know plenty of people whom the world would call "good", "honest", "decent", or "nice" people and they are just as lost and in need of a savior as Hitler. By acknowledging that this is, indeed, how the world and perhaps they themselves, view themselves, I am not doing the truth of total depravity an injustice. I can say to them that I know that you are what the world calls a good person but, you and I are not what God calls "good". I am not going to attack them with, "You are a totally depraved, unrighteous, immoral, mean, rotten, nasty, and viscious person. They will not see themselves that way. All I have to do is convince them that they have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I don't have to convince them that they are equally as bad as every other sinner (which is true), just that they are equally in need. A preacher should not think that they are actually good but can acknowledge that they are viewed as good.
     
  6. ScottEmerson

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    Before saying such things, may I point you to Arminian's actual doctrine? Many Calvinists would be surprised to believe that Arminius also believed in total depravity. A person cannot come to Christ until the Holy Spirit draws them. The difference is that Arminians believe that all men are drawn, as the first chapter of John says. After this enlightenment, man can choose one way or the other.
     
  7. Sola-Scriptura

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    In John 6:44 Jesus says that the ones the Father draws will[/B be raised up on the last day. If He draws all in this way, then universalism should be the result.
    Look in Strongs concordance under choose, chose, chosen and you will not find one reference of anyone choosing God in any way in the New Testament.

    John 15
    16You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

    Again, if God left us the power to choose Him and is bound to stand back and see how we respond to the gospel, then there was the distinct possibility that NO ONE might have made that choice and Christ would have died in vain. Arminians should call this doctrine Partial Depravity, because that's what they believe. (It is however an oxymoron.)
     
  8. T.U.L.I.P.

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    Mat 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

    Jesus Christ referred to his own disciples as being evil


    Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
    Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
    Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    That pretty much sums it up
     
  9. John Wells

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    How does that reconcile with:

    All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37 NIV)

    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 NIV)

    The combination of v. 37 and v. 44 indicate that the divine drawing activity which Jesus referred to cannot be reduced to what theologians call "prevenient grace," i.e., that somehow the power to come to Christ is allegedly dispensed to all of mankind, thus enabling everyone to accept or reject the gospel according to their own will alone. Scripture indicates that no "free will" exists in man's nature, for man is enslaved to sin (total depravity) and unable to believe apart from God's empowerment (Rom. 3:1-19; Eph. 2:1-3; 2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Tim. 1:9).

    I didn't see anything in John 1 that you alluded to. Perhaps you meant:

    But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32)

    "All" is my least favorite word in the Bible! [​IMG] Let me illustrate. If you do an analysis of its use in the Bible, you will see how vaguely its application can be. Sometimes it's meant to be inclusive. Sometimes it means "every tongue and every tribe" - some from all, but not every single one, and sometimes the word exagerates a bit. Here's just one of numerous examples you will find:

    “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. (Matthew 2:2-3)

    Can we reasonably assume that every single inhabitant of Jerusalem both heard the Maji's report AND were disturbed? Hardly! So don't always hedge on "all" having an inclusive meaning.

    So what about John 12:32? What does "all" mean in this case. If we look at the context of the words Jesus chose, "lifted up," they refer to Moses lifting up the snake on the pole so that all who looked upon it might live physically. Those who look to Christ, who was "lifted up" on the cross for the sins of the world, will live spiritually and eternally. Not everyone is drawn . . . only those who look to Christ. "All" means some from every tongue and every tribe.
     
  10. ScottEmerson

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    Either group can isolate passages to prove their side. I'm pretty sure you know that. We see several times in the OT that people could choose God. We see that man has been given the responsibility to respond to the gospel many times in Acts. Just because the word choose isn't use doesn't mean that that isn't what we do.

    Whe is he talking to specifically here? Why should we apply this to all people?

    Remember that God desires that all men are to be saved. He is the propitiation for not just us, but for all people. Even if there was the possiblility that no one would be saevd, there was also the possibility that all would be saved. However, as God knows all things, then he knows who would respond correctly, no? He knew that Christ's death wouldn't be in vain. Of course, this conversation is best for the C/A forum.
     
  11. Watchman

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    This is the great debate that goes on and on. C.H. Spurgeon, I feel, gave the answer to this long ago:
    Because Spurgeon preached a "whosoever will" gospel, someone said to him, "If I believed like you do about election, I wouldn't preach like you do." Spurgeon's answer: "If The Lord had put a yellow stripe down the backs of the elect, I'd go up and down the street lifting up shirttails, finding out who had the yellow stripe, and then I'd give them the gospel. But God didn't do it that way. He told me to preach the gospel to every creature that 'whosoever will may come.'"
    You see folks, the whosoever will are the elect, and the elect are the whosoever will. God knew who they were long ago and wrote the book of life, it is settled. Man, however is not dismissed from his responsibility.
     
  12. ScottEmerson

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    But that doesn't follow. If man's name is already written in the book of life, then where is his responsibility? Isn't his responding fore-ordained, and isn't the non-elect's non-responding fore-ordained?

    Seems to me that what you're saying is that the responsibility for responding or not lies upon God, and not on man. Those who aren't elect from the beginning HAVE no responsibiity - no matter what happens, they cannot respond.
     
  13. Watchman

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    Thanks for the reply Scott, you raise some good points.
    As I said in my last sentence: "Man is not dismissed from his responsibility." My view centers around God's foreknowledge: he knows (knew) everything perfectly past, present and future. Those He knew, by this perfect knowledge that He has, who would come to Him and be saved, after hearing the gospel and being convicted by the Holy Spirit, are the ELECT and are written in the Lambs Book of Life.
    Those who hear,as the above, but refuse; God foreknew who they are too. They are not of the elect or in the Book of Life for that reason: They WILL NOT come, they refuse. Also, they are subject to (further) hardening (Romans chapter 9) they were hard people to start with.
    Now there is another class of people: those who never hear anything about the Lord Jesus at all. I do feel that the scriptures are plain that man is without escuse. They are responsible for what they believe.
    My no stretch of my imagination did I think that I could answer all questions on the subject. Perhaps all of the dynamics involved in election will not be known until we meet Him face-to-face. Until then, the debate goes on!
     
  14. ColoradoFB

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    Human beings are capable of some very evil acts, no doubt about it (Hitler, Stalin, McVeigh, the 9/11 hijackers all come to mind). However, we are also capable of some very altruistic and decent acts. Total depravity? Hardly.

    If we did not have some selfish traits, we would not have survived as a species. Self-preservation requires some degree of "me first". However, come kind acts can also be self-preservation. For example, if I can kill you, then it may be that you would kill me. In order to preserve the individual and the social group, we have learned that the rule of law is a good thing.

    Despite all that, peoople often do very good things out of no expectation of reward, but merely to help another person. Who has not stopped to help an elderly person change a tire, given to a charity or donated time and energy to volunteer work at some point or another?

    I don't think we are totally depraved, nor are we totally good; rather, it is the mix of good and bad in each person that is a part of our humanity. I truly doubt that God sees someone's act of taking in a homeless child, or the NYC firemen who died helping victims at the WTC as filthy menstrual rags. We must be careful in taking something meant to illustrate a point and using it with a broad brush.
     
  15. Mark Osgatharp

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    Hmmmm? I notice that you did not say that you yourself came to mind when thinking of the potential of man to commit some very evil acts. That makes you more like the Pharisee than the Publican.

    Men may do what seem like altruistic acts; but these acts are marred by the fact that men do them out of self-glory not out of love.

    You are leaving the providential care of God out of the picture. Christ acted totally without regard for His self-preservation and trusted that the Father would be His deliverer. God would deliver all men likewise if they would act selflessly.

    How do you know these things are done with no expectation of reward? We often do these things simply to relieve our guilt, garner a warm-fuzzy or glorifiy ourselves in the sight of men.

    But the Scripture says, "In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing."

    But the Scripture says these things are filthy rags unless they are done from a pure motive. Furthermore, the Scriptures teach that until a man is regenerated an infused with the love of God it is not possible for him to act with a pure motive.

    Let me illustrate. Suppose a man brutally murdered your family and, when taken to the bar of justice, plead that he was not worthy of extermination because after butchering your family he went and bought groceries for a widow.

    Would you take his "good deed" as anything other than a cheesy attempt to prove that he wasn't a total rat after all?

    Why should God look at you any differently?

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  16. ColoradoFB

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    Hmmmm? I notice that you did not say that you yourself came to mind when thinking of the potential of man to commit some very evil acts. That makes you more like the Pharisee than the Publican. </font>[/QUOTE]No I didn't include myself. I would never exterminate thousands of people. Would you? If you think you would, you need to be put away somewhere immediately before you commit some horrendous act against others!

    Men may do what seem like altruistic acts; but these acts are marred by the fact that men do them out of self-glory not out of love. </font>[/QUOTE]Not always true. There are many times anonymous donors have helped others without seeking self-glory.

    How do you know these things are done with no expectation of reward? We often do these things simply to relieve our guilt, garner a warm-fuzzy or glorifiy ourselves in the sight of men.</font>[/QUOTE]How do I know? Because I myself have done such things. If you have not, then I understand why you don't believe people can do good things without expectation of any reward other than that of helping someone else.

    But the Scripture says, "In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing."</font>[/QUOTE]Consider context & the lesson being taught. Literalism is not always a good thing.

    But the Scripture says these things are filthy rags unless they are done from a pure motive. Furthermore, the Scriptures teach that until a man is regenerated an infused with the love of God it is not possible for him to act with a pure motive.

    Let me illustrate. Suppose a man brutally murdered your family and, when taken to the bar of justice, plead that he was not worthy of extermination because after butchering your family he went and bought groceries for a widow.

    Would you take his "good deed" as anything other than a cheesy attempt to prove that he wasn't a total rat after all?

    Why should God look at you any differently? </font>[/QUOTE]You are throwing up a strawman. I am not saying that justice is not needed because of a good deed. I am saying that we are capable of doing good, and are therefore not "totally depraved".
     
  17. LadyEagle

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    Then Jesus wasted His Holy Blood for nothing.

    God owes an apology to the world population that was wiped out with the Flood, too.

    And when the world population is left to its own undoing after the Saints of God are gone from this planet, you will see how untotally depraved mankind will be. [​IMG]
     
  18. John Wells

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    Well Colorado, God disagrees with you:

    As it is written:
    “There is no one righteous, not even one;
    there is no one who understands,
    no one who seeks God.
    All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”
    (Romans 3:10-12)

    My favorite Spurgeon quote on the subject of "election:"
    For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— (Ephesians 1:4-5)

    When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48) We are appointed for eternal life before we believe!

    God, who knows the heart . . . (Acts 15:8a)

    For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30) God, who knew every heart of everyone ever to be created, before creation, predestined some to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.

    The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. (Revelation 17:8) Those whose hearts God foreknew to be evil were not included “in the book of life from the creation of the world.”

    I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. (Jeremiah 24:7) Those who come to know God have been given hearts to know Him by God.

    In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, (Ephesians 1:11) Believers are “predestined” to be “chosen” “according to” His “plan.” When was His plan made and set in motion?

    For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— (Ephesians 1:4-5)

    Now the anti-Calvinist reader certainly has the right not to like predestination/election, but denying it is true is to be blind to the scriptures! That God “desires all to be saved” is not negated by these passages. But “the narrow gate” indicates the final outcome. Since God is the only one who “knows the heart,” the Great Commission” still applies, because believer-witnesses are part of God’s plan to draw those He calls. Also, since we don’t know who they are, we are to witness to everyone.
     
  19. Mark Osgatharp

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    How do you know you would never exterminate thousands of people? Peter said he would never deny the Lord, but he did, and he was a regenerated man. I have many times said I would "never" do a thing and then did.

    I certainly have no intention or desire to kill thousands of people, but there is nothing in myself to prevent me from doing so if God let my flesh have total control; and the same applies to you and every other member of the fallen race.

    How do you know? The anonymous donor may have been anonymous to the general public but known to other men. Or he may have been seeking glory from God. Or he may have simply wanted personal glory in his own eyes.

    Consider context & the lesson being taught. Literalism is not always a good thing.</font>[/QUOTE].

    I did consider the context and the lesson being taught, which was, that there is no natural good in the human race. And I note that you agree that Paul literally said that there is no natural good in man.

    </font>[/QUOTE]You missed my point, which was that when a patently evil man does a "good" thing we view it as hypocricy, and rightly so. And when we realize that the "good" act is done with the hope of exhonorating our character, it becomes an absolute insult to true charity, goodness, and integrity.

    However, if you press your "some goodness/some badness" philosphy to it's logical end, you have said that justice is not needed, whether you realize it or not; for anything that is good deserves to be rewarded and anything that is evil deserves to be destroyed.

    If, therefore, you say that an evil man has some good in him, you must either say that he is to be destroyed in spite of his goodness or spared in spite of his evil. In either case you pervert justice, either by condemning the righteous or justifying the wicked.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  20. Trotter

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    Our view of "good" is tainted, warped by the fallen nature that all men are born into. Our "good" acts are graded against the evil that men do. As was stated above, our righteous deeds are as filthy rags in the sight of God.

    If mankind were not totally depraved, then there would be the hope that we could earn eternal life by perfectly keeping the Law. It would also follow that Jesus would have died in vain, seeing how that man is not totally depraved and actually capable of earning the favor of God through the Law. And while we were at it, we could just rip out all those nasty references to sin and immorallity that tend to crop up between the rock-solid foundation of pulling ourselves up by our undepraved bootstraps.

    What exactly am I trying to say? We can talk about "You may be a good person, but you still need to be saved" or "there are a lot of good people in hell", because in the eyes of man, those are true statements. Mankind does not want to, nor will he, admit that he is as bad off as he can possibly be. No one will stand and say, "I am evil through and through. I deserve death, hell, and judgement. I have broken God's Holy Law, and I have no excuse," unless the Holy Spirit has wrought His work in their heart. Such is the fallen nature of man.

    God has all knowledge, and all time (past, present, and future) is open before Him. Nothing we say or do will ever surprise God. But God, in His wisdom and grace, allows man to freely choose to accept or reject His Son. God already knows who will, and who will not, accept this free gift of salvation, but He does not share that information with us. In so doing, God tells us to go into ALL the world, preaching the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. The parable of the sower shows how this works. The ground is not our concern, but the faithfull spreading of the sead is.

    Yes, man is evil. Every man on the earth is bad to the core, and our evaluation of "good" is held up against that background of vileness, thus giving us a false sense of righteousness. But, before the great white throne of God, all will be revealed as it truly is. And what a sad day that will be for oh so many "good" and "moral" people!

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     

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