TotalDepravity - Are there two types of fallen man?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    This and many other questions I address when I am reviewing an article by Tim Warner. I would be intersted in any input you guys have.

    These are the topics I address of his:

    What is Total Depravity?
    Is man capable of responding correctly to God's offer?
    Does God's offers of salvation imply that man can naturally choose correctly?
    Are there two types of fallen man?
    What does it mean that God draws all men?

    Here is some samples from it:

    What is Total Depravity?
    Lets begin with Mr. Warner's opening quote concerning Total Depravity:

    Most Evangelical Christians would say they believe in the total depravity of man. By this they mean that man is inherently a sinner both by birth and by choice. He cannot in any way save himself or contribute to his own salvation. Without God's supernatural intervention he is hopelessly lost. There is no question this is man's condition according to the Bible...

    On this first part of his introduction we completely agree so moving on he says ...

    However, Calvinism goes much farther by claiming that man is totally incapable of responding to the gospel, or choosing to accept God's offer of grace. Ephesians 2:1 is often quoted to support this idea. Here Paul says we were "dead in sins." Calvinists draw the inference from this text that man is totally incapible of responding to God in his natural fallen state in which he was born. They ask; Can a dead man hear? Can a dead man respond? Obviously the answer is no. But this line of reasoning is misleading. Paul was not using death literally. He did not mean we were physically or mentally dead. He went on to explain what his metephor, being "dead in sins," implied.

    Ephesians 2 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (KJV)

    Being "dead in sins" is the equivalent of being hopelessly lost, being totally incapable of saving ourselves. Paul was not saying we could not respond to God's grace, but that without God's grace, we are helpless and hopeless.

    I disagree with Mr. Warner that Paul's use of the phrase "dead in your transgressions" in verse 1 and 5 is only a "metephor" for what he describes in verse 12. I have presented the entire context of Paul's discussion here for us to see this. By the way we don't believe either that Paul meant "..we were physically or mentally dead." as Mr. Warner says. I don't even know why he put that statement in. The contention is whether we are spiritually dead, and if we are spiritually dead will we choose God in such a state (he later acknowledges that we are spiritually dead, but defines its boundaries differently). That is the real issue here. We do believe he(Paul) literally meant we were dead spiritually, and then will a spiritually dead man choose God? We believe based on the scriptures the answer is no as seen in Romans chapter 3:

    Romans 3:10-12(NIV)
    10As it is written:
    "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
    12All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

    Who seeks after God? no one. Who is righteous? not even one. It is kind of funny that many Arminians will agree that "there is no one righteous" means just what it says, but just a few lines down "there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God" does not mean exactly what it says.

    Ephesians 2:1-18
    1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

    8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

    11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

    19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

    Lets look at this, if you read verses 1 through 10, we see straight talk about salvation by grace through faith and not by works. Paul begins the passage telling the Ephesians that "dead in your transgressions and sins". Then he goes on to explain what that state was like when he says "you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air". He says "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.". We were all dead in our sins and followed our master, which was Satan. So Paul has just vividly described what being dead in ours sins was.

    Then he goes on to say that because of God's mercy we were "made alive with Christ" and then the best part -- "even when we were dead in transgressions". So in verses 1 he tells them we were all dead in transgressions, then in verses 2 and 3 he describes some qualities of this deadness. Then after describing this deadness he says that while we were in this deadness Christ made us alive! Praise God! Then Paul makes an interesting end cap when he says "it is by grace you have been saved.". He tells them they were spiritually dead, then describes it, and says while they were dead they were made alive in Christ, and its all by grace they have been saved. What could be clearer than this?

    Mr Warner would have us believe way down in verse 12 Paul tells us what his "metephor" meant. The problem is if you read in its context verse 12 has nothing to do with verse 1. Paul shifts gears in verse one and says "therefore". He tells them they were dead in sin and only saved by the grace of God, and then tells them since you were saved by the grace of God here is a benefit for you. What is that benefit? He is now speaking to those who are "Gentiles by birth" and goes on to tell them about what their state used to be as "Gentiles", this is very different than all of man's state of being dead in transgressions. Gentiles were "...separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world." He then goes on to tell these Gentiles, that as a result of their salvation by the grace of God, they are now "no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.". The barrier between the Jew and Gentile has been abolished, the New Testament church would include both the Jew and Gentile.

    There is no way, based on the context seen here, that verse 12 is a description of the "metaphor" Paul is using in verse 1 and 5 of Ephesians chapter 2. When Paul said dead, he meant we were dead in some fashion. We agree that it was not physically or mentally, and based upon the context surrounding it was speaking our spiritually dead condition....


    Are there two types of fallen man - is there a difference?
    As we near the final section of Mr. Warner's article, he goes on to try and distinguish between what he sees are two different conditions a fallen man can be in. He says "Fallen man is not "reprobate" initially, but becomes reprobate after God abandons him.". Well is that fair that God abandon's anyone? So for Tim Warner, as an Arminian, its ok if God tries to reveal his Son to someone and they reject for him to eventually abandon them to their just punishment. But he just has to give it a good try. But if God were to abandon some people without first giving it a good try to influence them, and just abandoning them from the beginning to their just punishment that would be unfair and wrong of him.

    The problem is that we are ALL reprobate to greater and lesser degrees because we all turned away from God initially as the scriptures tell us:

    Romans 3:10-12 & 22-23(NIV) "10As it is written:
    "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."... 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

    I ask again, how much more clear could the scriptures be?

    Is there anyone righteous? No
    Is there anyone who understands? No
    Is there anyone who seeks God? No
    How many have turned away from God? All
    Does anyone do good? No

    Is there any difference between or different types of fallen men Tim Warner suggests? No

    There are not "two states of unsaved mankind", Mr Warner attempts to and fails in light of clear scripture to prove otherwise. All have turned away from God and there is no difference....


    Tims full article can be found at:
    http://www.pfrs.org/calvinism/calvin01.html

    My full article can be found at:

    http://www.ifbreformation.org/WebReview_Total_Deprav.aspx
     
  2. Southern

    Southern
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    I believe this is the Philosophical argument popularized by Pelagius. The unbiblical argument of "Command Implies Ability".

    Interesting distinction, look forward to seeing your refutation.

    If you are referring to John 12, this statement is made in response to Greeks seeking Jesus. Jesus makes the statement that He will draw "all men" ie. Jews and Gentiles. (Rev. 5:9;John 11:50ff)

    Those are just some quick thoughts, maybe I will have time to read your entire article.

    God bless
     
  3. Skandelon

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    No the funny part is that you think Arminians don't believe that no one on their own understand or seeks God. What you fail to understand is that God hasn't left us alone. He sent his son, the apostles, the Holy Spirit and the Word. You just seem to think that is not sufficient to bring a dead men out of his natural state despite the fact that God calls his word "the spirit that brings life" and the "power of God unto Salvation."

    We don't dispute that we can't save ourselves and that we would be lost without God's intervention so you need to find a verse that teaches God's revealed intervention (ie the gospel) is not enough of an intervention to bring salvation to a lost soul.
     
  4. Skandelon

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    And the fact that you believe that somehow Arminians disagree with you on these points prove that you don't really understand that with which you contend.

    Please hear this: Arminians believe that no one is righteous, no one understands, no one seeks God and no one is good on his own.

    God is the only one who is good and he seeks us. How? What means has God employed to seek out the lost? By the preaching of the word.

    Now, its you job to find me the verse that teaches these means are not sufficient to give men all that they need for salvation.
     
  5. IfbReformer

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    And the fact that you believe that somehow Arminians disagree with you on these points prove that you don't really understand that with which you contend.

    Please hear this: Arminians believe that no one is righteous, no one understands, no one seeks God and no one is good on his own.

    God is the only one who is good and he seeks us. How? What means has God employed to seek out the lost? By the preaching of the word.

    Now, its you job to find me the verse that teaches these means are not sufficient to give men all that they need for salvation.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I don't think Arminans disagree with all those points, I just think its funny that Arminians believe as we that no one is rightesous, but in the next parts when it says no one understands and no one seeks after God you don't think it really means that.

    Because if no one understands than how can they be saved? If the message of the cross is foolishness to the unsaved how will they ever listen? The only answer is that God has to give "us understanding, so that we may know him who is true."(1 John 5:20).

    I agree that the preaching of the Word, is part of the means God employs to save us, but it is not all of it - if the Word is preached and we have no understanding, and it is foolishness to us then how would we ever respond correctly without the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit?

    Ephesians 2:4(NIV)
    "4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved."

    I would agree with Arminianism if Ephesians 2:4 said "But because we chose God, he then made us alive...". It says because of his love, and it is totally by his grace that he made us alive, not because he knew would choose him.

    Please supply me with one verse that says God choose us he knew we would choose him first? The fact is very clear in the scriptures that "no one understands" and "no one seeks after God".

    So do we kinda of understand, do we have just enough understanding to believe and thus be quickened by the Spirit? Or does the spirit have to give us quicknening so that we will understand and seek God?

    That is the heart of the matter my friend.

    IFBReformer
     
  6. Skandelon

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    That is incorrect. AGAIN, we do believe that no one seeks after God or understand ON THEIR OWN.

    Where does it say we can't have understanding after the word is preached? I see where it says that we can't have understanding before the gospel is preached but where does it say that we can't understand the gospel?

    Those who determine the message to be foolish will perish, we agree with that too.

    Once again you show you lack of knowledge for that which you contend. Arminians don't choose individuals based upon his knowledge of their choosing him. He made the choice to grant repentance to Jews, as a nation, then to the Gentiles, as a nation. Granted repentance is saying that God calls them to reprentance. The call is what enables them. The Jews were called first, then the Gentiles.

    The second one.
     
  7. Me2

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    there are two types of fallen man.

    cursed from birth. and when given the law and chosen by God to be placed in a reprobate state.

    in Romans 1. Paul is speaking about those within the congregation. these are spoken of as reprobates.

    Me2
     
  8. Eric B

    Eric B
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    That has nothing to do with Pelagiansm, whether he or some in his camp may have used the argument or not. It's common sense, that when God commands, he is expecting response, and when response is not possible, then he provides a way around that. We need to question where the philosophy of command without ability comes from. Once again, in the Bible, it was to show man's problem, in order to offer God's solution. Not just to leave people trapped in some state of condemnation.
    Still, this acknowledged different "extents". No one said there were two different TYPES of "fallen men", but the Bible says some are totally "given over" to their sins, and we can't use certain references to "hardening" or other biblical teachings to try to prove all start out in that state (to justify total inability) and God just leaves them that way with the only other alternative being unconditional election.
     
  9. Skandelon

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    Eric,

    It even seems to me that God's "giving them over to their sin" is really an act of God's mercy too. If we see the way God instructs Paul to deal with rebellious believers we can see this modeled. Paul instructs the church to cast out the rebellious brother so that he may be saved. Its the act of discipline or being cast out, or being "given over" that often leads people to recognize their need for God. The prodical son is a prime example of one who needed to be "given over to his sin" in order to be saved in the end.

    Thoughts?
     

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