Total Depravity...

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Blammo, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. Blammo

    Blammo
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    The term Total Depravity is not found in Scripture. In fact, neither word is found is Scripture. I would like to know what the doctrine means. Without debating the validity of the doctrine, can I have it explained to me? Please keep any debate centered around what is meant by Total Depravity.
     
  2. Pastor Larry

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    Total Depravity is the label given to teh doctrine that sin affects every area of our being.

    It does not mean that man is as bad as he could be. Nor does it mean that every man is equally bad. It means that there is no part of man (mind, will, emotions) that has not been affected by sin.

    It usually includes the idea (in Arminianism and Calvinism) that man is totally unable to please God in any way apart from a unilateral work of God. Arminians believe this work makes man's response of saving faith possible; Calvinists believe it makes man's response of saving faith certain.
     
  3. Allan

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    Total Depravity:
    I think can be be summed up this way, in the Calvinistic bent.

    The main problem as I see it here, is the assumption - 'incapable' base upon the wrong premise in the Calvinist position (IMO).
    What we have from the scriptures is that no man of or by himself (IOW - without God coming to and revealing truth to man FIRST) that man will not and can not seek, understand, but be at enmity with God and a slave to sin because his heart is evil and THERFORE by nature a child of wrath. But if God is the first cause and NOT man then by virtue of the first argument of man being unable of or by himself, we have a second argument stating that God IS able and does what man can not do for himself or by himself. Since man can do nothing for or by himself then by the nature of THAT argument man is utterly lost, and agreed upon. However, we can not bring both of these two differing arguments into the same arena as though they are one and the same. Especially since it is speaking to the charactor and ability of one person without aide, and the other is speaking to the charactor and ability of a person that is now enabled and given an opportunity by the inexhaustive aide or grace of God to respond.

    But Calvinists tend to conflagate these two points. Though man is utterly lost if left to himself, man is not utterly incapable of choice if God intervenes in mans inabilities.
    This is why we see God calling men to repent, turn from their sins, reaching out to Israel all day long to a disobedient and gainsaying people. It is why Paul urges people to be reconsiled, and Peter in Acts 2 says to the Jews "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." Otherwise all of this which takes up a great portion of scripture is meaningless in the context it is given to all who hear.

    In light of understanding these two arguments (at least in premise) you the conclusion of Calvinism on "how is it possible for one to choose or desire God...it isn't...God must predestine" to be inconsistant with the relm of both arguments. Concerning the first (of man left to himself alone) then yes, man would need to be predestined.
    But in light of the second argument (of God bridging that gap of inabilities) man does not need to be predestined to salvation.


    IF I was not accurate on the beliefs of Calvinism regarding Total Depravity feel free to correct me. I wont bite, but I'm real good at gumming :laugh:


    I took some of this (at one time in the past) from a Calvinistic Web site, and some I added since it was in portions and I tried to bring them together.

    Editted:
    I see Pastor Larry used the same website - Where is it at again? I lost it's web address and could not find it.

    FTR - I believe man is depraved to the point that he can not by himself come to or understand God in truth. But that God reveals truth to man and understanding of that truth to man so that man is resposible for what he does with that truth revealed. Roman 1 and 2-4 as well. Sinful man KNEW the truth of and about God but rejected that truth and twisted it according to their own desires and after that God gave them over to their sins.
     
    #3 Allan, Apr 5, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2007
  4. Blammo

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    Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    Can man choose to believe something? I mean, you believe or you don't, right? However, if we do choose to believe, will He reward our choice? Will He cause us to believe because of our choice?

    Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

    He may not have been fully persuaded Jesus could heal his child, but he wanted to believe. And we know that God healed the man's child regardless of his doubt.

    Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

    This is one of the verses presented to me when I said "Why do I need to get saved? I'm a pretty good guy." It was one of many verses that revealed to me my state, and caused me to call upon the Lord.

    Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Total Depravity was explained to me as a total inability to hear the word of God, much less respond to it. Would that mean that I was regenerated at the time I considered Isaiah 64:6 may be true?
     
  5. webdog

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    No place in Scripture does regeneration precede faith in Christ. Pastor Larry would even agree to that.
     
  6. Allan

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    Here are the only two times "regeneration" is used in scripture and not one speaks to anyting BEFORE salvation.
    Mat speaks to the regeneration of the Millinial Kingdom which is a definate change manifested and can be referenced back to.
    And Titus speaks to it as a part of salvation. The '[and] renewing of the Holy Ghost' shows an active present tense action being done simultaniously with washing of regeneration. Washing is also synonomous with the Word of God in reference to Jesus words in which He declared to His disciples, "you are clean through the washing of the word". This plays into the scriptures you quoted but most specifically - Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. As you can see, it is the same here as above. This is why salvation is called 'born-again'.
     
    #6 Allan, Apr 5, 2007
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  7. Allan

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    Agreed. There are some (like ReformedBeliever) who hold to regeneration at the point of salvation or just miliseconds before. IOWs it is so miniscule a time as to be almost the same moment.
     
  8. Rippon

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    Since natural people do not have the Spirit of God residing within they can't understand spiritual things because those things are only discerned spiritually . Those spiritual things are just foolishness to those folks . Unless God opens eyes and hearts the natural person will not be regenerate under their own power . The Lord has to intercede first giving that person faith and repentance -- then regeneration takes place . The former may occur micro seconds before regeneration ( in our limited human conception ) or , instead of a chronological construct it may be more of a logical ordering .
     
  9. J.D.

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    I was just listening to a sermon by Ian Paisly in which he reduced the definition of TD down to "man's inability to save himself". He then asked the question: "How then shall we be saved?", which lead him into the next point - God's activity and abilities in saving his elect.

    Although Arminians claim to believe in TD, they have to betry that claim somewhere along the way to support man's active role in salvation.

    Dr. Paisly was making the point - if we are totally depraved, then HOW, oh HOW, shall we be saved? Makes me think of when Jesus said "with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible".
     
  10. webdog

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    ...then strawmen are found all over, I guess. Ian Paisly has erected this same one that has been refuted soooo many times it gets quite old.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    I didn't use a website. What I gave is a standard definition of TD found in any one of many theologies.

    What's the straw man? Ian Paisley gave his belief of TD. How is that a straw man?
     
  12. J.D.

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    If the man is describing his own theology, how is it a strawman? Is he erecting a strawman of his own opinion to tear it down to show how wrong his own opinion is?

    A little quick on the trigger tonight webdog?
     
  13. johnp.

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    webdog.

    Unless a man is born again he cannot see nor enter the Kingdom of God. :)

    Eze 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

    Flesh gives birth to flesh and Spirit gives birth to spirit. How can one overcome depravity in one's own strength? Flesh only creates more flesh. Regeneration is new birth and that from dead.
    Paul says that when the law comes to mind the sinful nature is given free reign to express itself. Rom 7:8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.

    How can a man controlled by the sinful nature hear the word of God without becoming more guilty? He can't because sin seizes the oppotunity and does the opposite of the command and we are powerless to stop it. We are slaves. Slaves do not choose their own master. If repentance is worth anything then only God can cause it. Repentance cannot come from a heart of stone.
    Regeneration is to faith in Christ. Circumcision of the heart is an event that causes the heart to love the word of God and to respond to Him. How can a man respond positively to a God he hates by nature? Romans 8:7 says he cannot, it does not say he will not or he might.

    john.
     
  14. johnp.

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    'Total' is used 24 times in the NIV Blammo. :)

    Whose? :)

    Total Depravity (Total Inability)
    Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists speak of humans as "totally depraved," they are making an extensive, rather than an intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality -- his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.
    The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability." The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).
    http://www.reformed.org/calvinism/index.html

    The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ Regeneration precedes faith.

    john.
     
  15. webdog

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    He deducted his line of thinking down to man can save himself. I don't know any non cal that believes that.
     
  16. Allan

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    This is where I see part of the problem. At least a problem with what I see scripturally.

    God according to scripture (in both OT and NT), at many different times and places (not to mention nature itself and mans conscience) showed natural men who were not indwelt with the Holy Spirit or having the Holy Spirit residing within, the truth and they understood these spiritual truths but rejected them and some even believed them. Yet they were never indwelt nor the elect.

    A few specific Examples though are as follows:
    Most every saint in the OT never had the Holy Spirit reside in them. He came upon them AT TIMES but never at any time consistantly IN them.

    Ninivah - Pagans who believed the Word of the Lord God who was going to judge them for their wickedness and they repented in that generation. But the later generations died under the judgment of God.

    Cain - is another unrengerate person who God spoke directly to and Cain had understood God concerning the spiritual thing God addressed.

    Different Kings of Israel - The nation of Israel as a whole also.

    and many others in the OT...

    The NT -
    Romans chapter 1:16 through ch. 2 as well (also speaking to it but not as much are chapters 3 and 4)
    We have unregenerate man knowing a whole lot of spiritual truth concerning God and who He is, the glory due Him, the truth of Him, and the judgment of those who reject these truths; but it is something God has to reveal to man and not something man can attain on his own. And that is just chapter one.



    And individuals like the rich young ruler;
    The judge overseeing Pauls Trial (can't remember his name) but the one who stated "almost thou hast persuaded me".

    These are just some openers.

    Like I said before however. I beleive man is totally depraved but God is the one who reveals any spiritual truth that man understands. Yet, man is resposible for what he does with that revealed truth either accepting or rejecting.
     
    #16 Allan, Apr 5, 2007
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  17. Jensen

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    THere is some old man who is always used in the liberal Jesus documentaries on history channel and discovery channel who denies the resurrection, etc... Is he saved? Does he know alot of spiritual truth? It is one thing to know some information and another thing to KNOW the Spirit behind the information.

    The sinful (unregenerate, lost) mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, NOR CAN IT DO SO. (Rom 8:7)
    There is no one who understands, NO ONE WHO SEEKS GOD.

    I believe that God is unchanging and that the saints in the OT were saved the same way as they were in the NT and today. By grace through faith.

    Acts 13:48 - "When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed."

    When were we regenerated? We were made alive with Christ when we were dead in transgressions. (Eph 2:5)
     
  18. skypair

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    Both are indeed so. However, in the first case, thenatural man IS hostile to God but is also sensitive to his own mortality. Remember, God set Adam outside the Garden of Eden so that he would KNOW he was a sinner separated from God. There still is a desire to have what God offers even if one thinks they can find it at the top of the Tower of Babel.

    In the second case you cite, God is not calling men to obey His law but to recognize their sinful nature and repent.

    So you believe Covenant Theology I would guess? Whereas it is true that ALL are saved by grace through faith, it is NOT true that the result post-Christ is the same as pre-cross. We are regenerated when we believe -- they at the resurrection of the just (which they are).

    skypair
     
  19. skypair

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    IOW, sin nature.

    If they are not as bad as they could be or equally bad, how is it that any can do good so that they are not as bad/equally bad? Does that suggest the influence of the Spirit? of God? Isn't any and all good from God? Isn't that what the Bible says -- "every good thing comes from above?" Do you believe that a lost person giving money to the widow and orphan does it by influence of God or self?

    See, I just cannot believe that man is totally uninfluenced by God like your "total depravity" requires, Larry.

    Exactly -- sin nature again.

    The issue truly is, then, what IS that unilateral work? Is it as simple as the witness of creation of must it be as contorted as God forcing one to believe and not letting others even "see" Him?

    skypair
     
  20. skypair

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    Basically,I think we have narrowed it down to "sin nature" -- the innate propensity to sin in every area of our own endeavor. Larry has "nailed it," IMO.

    skypair
     

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