Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

TULIP...Total Depravity

note: most all of the blue italic type in this post is scripture.

TULIP … I often find myself asking in frustration, “Why do I care about this subject?” But I know why. It is, because, to me, it goes to the very heart of the character of God. One blogger said that he felt the Calvinist view of God was like that of a mad scientist (he was intensly mocked). I wouldn’t put it quite his way, but it is disturbing the portrait I percieve they paint of Him …disturbing to me. (That is why I want to view more clearly this portrait - thus this blogging excercise). Now, I hear some say, “Repent and accept God for who He is, not for who you wish Him to be.” Well, what if they are not right about how He operates? Are they willing to repent? I am not trying to rebel against God by questioning the so-called “doctrines of Grace.” I just want to analyze these doctrines according to the Bible and see if the eternal God is really so easily defined like they say He is.

Here’s a personal note: I was regenerated at the age of 20. God bestowed mercy on me and gave me a new life as a result of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. Nothing in me caused me to deserve this mercy, but I cried out to Him and He saved me. He has been so merciful to me. However, I am concerned about others in humanity besides just myself. If God procured my salvation by electing me as an individual from the foundation of the world for no other reason than just because He chose me … because He wanted to, that would work out OK for me, wouldn’t it? I’m saved. But what about the rest of humanity? They all must find salvation through Jesus Christ's atoning death on the cross by grace through faith. What about someone He didn’t “elect”? They were born in sin, utterly corrupted. God became a man and died for the sins of a group they were not part of, and they will burn in Hell for eternity for God’s glory. No matter what, whether the gospel is presented to them, they will not and cannot EVER believe and be saved. Huh? This seems to be the Calvinist version of God's dealings with the less fortunate of humanity (those going to hell). How does this glorify God? That’s just my human reasoning, and I need to go to the Bible for answers.

Total: Of, relating to, or constituting the whole; entire. Complete; utter; absolute.

Depravity: Moral corruption or degradation, the state of being hopelessly bad, crooked.

The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. (Genesis 6)

You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against [your ways], you were angry. How, then, can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins. (Isaiah 64)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17)

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3)

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned … (Romans 5)

…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 7)

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in 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. All 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. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2)

If the definition of the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity means that we are sinful to the core, then I believe it. In fact, I have said that I am a two point Calvinist (a ridiculous label) because of this … and one other point. There is nothing in me or any of the Christians I know that would merit salvation. Selfish, proud, wicked, prone to sin ... that’s us in the flesh. If the Calvinists mean this by Total Depravity, then AMEN! It is the first step of the gospel … seeing that we are utterly helpless in respect to righteousness. We can’t do enough good deeds to make up for the bad ones … and our thoughts and ways are always degrading.

Before salvation, when I really knew nothing about the true Bible, I used to ponder what it would be like if there were such a thing as judgment after I died. I figured, if God knew everything, He would be able to see into my mind and He would understand how I became the way I was and that I was a product of all those things I had been exposed to ... He would understand. The thing I wasn’t admitting or not realizing, was that even if I had the best of circumstances … the perfect mother … a completely loving and safe environment … if my father hadn’t died when I was twelve … I still would have wicked selfishness and all the other sin in my heart! Certain schools of thought like to say that babies are born as a clean slate, perfect, and only become bad as they receive input from the outer world. (Nurture, not Nature) Rubbish! We come out kicking, screaming mad and headed for a life of depravity! Apart from a provision for this depravity, a cleansing of the filth, we could never enter into God’s presence … we would be like rags soaked in gasoline thrown into a forest fire! Even that which is nice about us, is tainted with sin. Amen. Here is a post on this subject that I really appreciated.

But…

If the Calvinist really means that the ordinary person is unable to believe and receive the provision for sin wrought by Christ on our behalf, then I can't say amen, because I don’t believe it to be biblical. Here's why: The people of this world are invited, encouraged, and, in some passages, commanded to believe in the Son of God and be saved.

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” (John 7:37)


If ordinary people were not able to believe the gospel, or receive the Lord Jesus Christ, wouldn’t it be a disingenuous offer that God is making in the Bible?

In John 7:37, was Jesus standing there, making what seems like an open invitation, yet keeping the secret that no one was able to come to Him, unless he selected them out of the bunch and gave them a special power to do so? Are only the elect thirsty? If this was His thinking, why doesn't John 3:16 say, "For God so loved the certain people, that he gave his one and only Son, that when they believe in him, they shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Many other examples could be given of these types of open invitations, and commands.

Many Calvinists employ the doctrine of regeneration preceding faith. I think the need for this doctrine is because these particular Calvinists see this first point, Total Depravity in this second way. It is stated that since man is unable to believe, God must first birth him or give Him a new mind, and then He WILL Believe. I really don’t see one passage that says the ordinary sinner is unable to believe the gospel, except for possibly John 6 (although it is a hard passage to grasp).

Let me quote a fellow blogger ... Dyspraxic Fundamentalist (aka Matthew) says:
… [there is not] convincing Scriptural data to conclude that man is incapable of believing when under the influence of the power of the Holy Spirit, that accompanies the preaching of the Gospel. Otherwise how would the Gospel be the power of God unto salvation? If Regeneration were necessary to believe, then Regeneration would be the power of God unto salvation.

Now, I would not say that we don’t need the grace of God to come to Him ... of course we do. If left to ourselves, man ends up with Babel. We don’t seek Him. We are His enemies. But He has sought us!!! This is the GOSPEL. He sent His prophets to foretell of His plan, He has come and taken on the wrath of God for our iniquity, He has given us a sure, written account of Himself, He has sent His Holy Spirit to make His acts known and to convict “the World” of righteousness and judgment. His Holy Spirit is there in the preaching of the cross, drawing all men unto Himself. (John 12:32) We are unable, on our own, to come to God, but God has done all of this.

… Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. (John 6:65)

because…

… God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

The people of this world are not on their own! God has done all that is necessary, opened the door to salvation, but we must spread the gospel and insist that men walk through that door … Simply put, they must receive Christ’s forgiveness and imputed righteousness, which they CAN DO. They are not unable, but sadly, many are unwilling. They don’t want to believe for reasons as innumerable as there are fingerprints, all stemming from their own individual brand of sin … and that is why they will be held responsible for their sins … because they WILL not!

So, can I say T is biblical? I don’t know. I guess it depends on what is meant by it.

42 Comments:

  • You are echoing the classic debate between Martin Luther and Erasmus in Luther's book, Bondage of the Will. In essence, Luther (who was no Calvinist) said that God gives us commands to show us our utter need of God, because we cannot begin to do what we should do. It's not that we can't physically or emotionally -- it is because from our our volition we refuse to do so.

    One of Luther's favorite examples is the command you shall love the Lord your God with all your heaet. We can't even bein to do that. And that is the greatest command. We break the greatest command continually.

    What "Total Depravity" should show us is how utterly we need God, and how deep our sin is and that we do not, from our sinful nature, desire God. This in turn shows us how great God's salvation is. The purpose of these doctrines is to drive us in amazement to God and give Him the complete praise and glory for our salvation.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/15/2005 3:18 PM  

  • There is a difference between not being able to keep the commandment of law and not being able to obey a command to be saved by grace by believing in the gospel. (John 6:29 is a great statement in that Christ was contrasting faith and works).

    That is what I had always appreciated about the doctrine of T ... that it shows us our utter dependence on God, but this other thing is just crazy to me!

    Thanks for coming in...did you noticed I referenced your article?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/15/2005 3:32 PM  

  • Rose, your post, as usual, stirs me to read scripture and really dig in. I don't have time now to give a thorough answer to your well-written thoughts, However, I want to address Earl's comment. He says that our disobedience to God is not because we can't physically or emotionally obey, but because we refuse to. I say he's partially right. When a person refuses the invitation to salvation, he doesn't know what he's doing. He is DEAD in sin and a slave to its power! He is the one Jesus was talking to from the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!"

    We cannot change ourselves because we are powerless until Christ breathes life and power into us at the point of rebirth. Dead people can't refuse a thing; they have no choices.They don't know what they're doing. They can't tell they are rotting away.

    Jesus issues the invitation to all, but I believe He only breathes life into some so that they can say, "yes, I accept." Why? I don't know. I'm still chewing on that.

    By Blogger Zoanna, at 11/15/2005 4:12 PM  

  • Finally, very well said, Rose~.

    In terms of being dead, unregenerate man is still capable of apprehending much of God's law and even able to obey it some of the time. I have a hard time believing that the sinner is completely unable to make any response to grace.

    God gives wisdom liberally. Wisdom in Proverbs cries out to the fool to find wisdom. Hence, by the preaching of the Gospel, man is able to come to a knowledge of God and his need for forgiveness.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/15/2005 4:25 PM  

  • Acts 10:1-5
    There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!"

    4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?"

    So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
    ----------
    Cornelius sought after God and God rewarded him. He feared God, gave to the poor, and prayed to God always. God heard his prayer and answered it. He sent Peter to him. Cornelius did this and was not even saved. How do we know he wasn't saved?
    ----------
    Acts 11:13-14
    13 And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, 'Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14 who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.'
    ----------
    Yes. Cornelius was depraved and fallen. Yes he was separated from God. But God is moved when people seek Him! And Cornelius sincerely did so.

    The whole idea that aren't people willing or seeking God is thus falsified. When Cornelius heard that Peter could tell him and his household how they could be saved, he jumped at the chance and sent his servants right away. He was WILLING and SEEKING and God met him and showed him the Way, the Truth and the Life.
    ----------
    Acts 17:10-12

    Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed
    ----------
    The Bereans! They were open-minded. They were willing and ready. They diligently sought the truth. Look at the cause and effect: they willingly sought and THEREFORE many of them believed.
    ----------
    Acts 17:26-27
    6 And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him.
    ----------
    God has granted to all men that they should "seek God".
    ----------
    Heb 11:6
    6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
    ----------
    When men and women respond to the drawing of God, God will send more light. God will reward those who seek Him.
    ----------
    Luke 13:23-24

    And He said to them, 24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
    NKJV
    ----------

    Bob Wilkin of the Grace Evangelical Society says it this way:

    ----------
    Clearly the struggle involved here concerns finding the right gate to enter. The Lord's point is that those who don't know the way to eternal life should exert every effort to find out. It's as simple as that.

    In John 6:27 the Lord told unbelieving Jews who were seeking more miraculous signs like the feeding of the 5,000 which had just occurred, "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." They then asked, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" (v 28). Jesus' response has nothing do with change of lifestyle. It is a simple call to faith. He said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent" (v29)!

    Those who do not know the way to heaven are to strive to find out. They are to seek the truth.

    Strive to enter by the narrow gate? You bet! (Of course, once you've entered, you no longer need to seek the gate anymore! You've found it!) That doesn't contradict the freeness of the Gospel at all. Indeed, that is what GES is all about. We aim to make the way to eternal life clear as a bell for all our readers, believers and unbelievers. We hope to lead many unbelievers to faith in Christ and many believers to share the Gospel clearly and boldly.

    When sharing your faith, don't be afraid to challenge unbelievers who doubt the truth of the Gospel to strive to enter by the narrow gate. Challenge them to seek God. Invite them to read and study the Bible, particularly the Gospel of John. Encourage them to go to church and Bible studies with you. For God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
    ----------

    You can find the whole article here:

    If It's Free, Why Would Anyone Need to Strive to Enter?

    I am available to discuss these Free Grace doctrines in more detail. My blog is:

    Free Grace Theology

    where you can read some of my theology articles and my email is

    agdarosa@cox.net

    God bless you!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/15/2005 6:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    Thanks for referring to my article!

    I don't see a distinction between loving God with all our heart and the command to place our faith in Christ. What is the fundamental distinction between these two commands? Is it because we can do one and not the other? Why? Because God in the OT said the first (and Christ in the NT too), but Christ said it in the NT?

    A command is something that we are to do. We are to love God. We are not to steal. We are to have faith in Christ. There is one distinction, repentance and faith in Christ has as the result the complete forgiveness of sins -- but in all other respects it is a command. What Luther discovered is that we don't even desire to have faith in Christ.

    ...and here is where I disagree with zoanna. Romans 1 tells us that deep down inside we know about God and his righteous requirements, but we turn our back on him. Again, this is Luther's point in Bondage of the Will.

    When we look at Ephesians 2, being dead does not mean we are ignorant of God or even unaware of his offer of the gospel -- it's that we, like dead men, will not respond to it. Again, as Luther said, our wills are enslaved to our desires, and without God's intervention, we don't desire God.

    When we use the word grace, we need to understand what it means. The background is that we hate God, and God would be completely just and good in letting us all going to hell. I say letting because God is not responsible for our attitude and actions, we are because this all comes from inside us.

    If God is just and good in not rescuing any of us, then God is also just and good if he extends mercy to just one person. God does not have to provide the same mercy to everyone else. We're all justly condemned sinners after all.

    And this gets to the essence of grace. A gracious action is one that is freely given to someone who does not deserve it at all. If we say that God must give grace to everyone, then it is not longer grace, but a duty to God. Ephesians 2 gives a test for this kind of grace. We are save by grace through faith, but this is not out ourselves, it is a gift of God, lest anyone should boast.

    Here is how the test works, and ironically it was a non-Christian, named Gary, who made me aware of this. Gary asked me, what did I do to have salvation that a common Mormon friend didn't do? I said I had faith in the real God. Gary said, so, you did that better than our friend, so God chose you over him because of what you did. That was like a two-by-four hitting me between the eyes. I tried to dodge that because I did something better, which made me better than the Mormon friend, God picked me. Thus I had something to boast about.

    Gary, the non-Christian, gave me a swift kick into accepting the doctrine of radical corruption, which is referred to as total depravity.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/15/2005 6:07 PM  

  • Stephen's message in Acts 7:51, he saying, "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye." In Romans 10:21, the apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 65:2 when he speaks of God's words to Israel, "All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." In one of the five warning passages of the book of Hebrews, we read in Hebrews 10:26, "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins." Verse 29 adds, "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the 'blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" God's grace can either be resisted or received by the exercise of human free will. If we are to believe that God made us with no chose in loving Him .. Why go the way of the cross just make robots. It is my chose to love Him and the depth that I do. Go work!

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/15/2005 6:24 PM  

  • Bad spelling (choice) Just rushing

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/15/2005 6:27 PM  

  • forgiven -- you just have bad spelling? Look at the garbage I write -- it's unforgivable! Bad grammer, spelling.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/15/2005 6:48 PM  

  • Earl what happens at judgment when the unsaved go in front of God and God says; Why have you sinned? Can the unsaved say;You didn't alow me to be saved, there was no regeneration or you didn't call me

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/15/2005 8:21 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I'll bet you stay up late nights thinking about all the theology that must be swimming through your head. I just want to say that it's great to see the ways in which God is challenging you, and using you to minister through your blog. The things you, and others here, have shared, are very thought provoking!

    My understanding of Total Depravity may be different from everyone else's. I don't believe we're rotten to the core. If we were totally depraved in that sense, we'd be chasing each other with axes and throwing our kids in the river.

    My understanding is simply that there is no area of our lives to which depravity has not extended. In other words, there's not an inner, untainted core of goodness, either.

    But either way, I think the real intention of the question is whether there is something in man that is capable of initiating a relationship with God, or whether we must depend on Him to initiate. If so, then this, too, is an academic question in some ways. For God has already initiated by loving us and giving us His Son while we were yet in our sins, and commanding men everywhere to repent.

    This brings me to (what I consider to be) the real issue. The invitation is already in place; so how capable are we of responding to God's invitation?

    I think the Bible is clear in saying that there is none who stirs himself up to lay hold of God; that there is none who seeks Him, none righteous, no not one. So even though God has offered salvation freely to anyone who will respond (Acts 2:21), and He wants us all to respond (1 Tim 2:4), none of us will do so on our own. But why not?

    If God commands men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) the problem is not on God's side, it's on ours. Our sins make us very reluctant to face God; we are much more likely to seek the comfort of further sinning:

    "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
    "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."

    (John 3:19-20)

    So there is a stanfoff. God went to all this trouble, and His invitation will fall flat . . . unless He takes a further initiative. This is where predestination comes in. This is the work that God does in our hearts to actually draw us near to Him:

    "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
    "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me."

    (John 6:44-45)

    I realize this is jumping ahead a little, so I'll stop. I know you'll get to predestination soon.

    By the way, I also wanted to say to Antonio that I really appreciated his thoughts.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/15/2005 9:09 PM  

  • Wow...it's kind of interesting how this discussion has developed. There are points of view on each end of the continuum here.

    I wasn't thinking at all that man was able to really seek God, but I see Antonio has made a case for such. All I was fighting for was our ability to respond to the gospel when it is presented and the Holy Spirit is there.

    Antonio,
    Are you saying that ONLY those who seek Him will be given the more light and more revelation to bring them to salvation? Or are you just saying that, in those cases from the scripture, it happened that way? I am concerned about this because I know for a fact (and here comes experience ... I know experience isn't a great place to get theology, but here it comes) that I was so far from seeking God! I wasn't looking for Him at all ... in fact, I had distain for the IDEA of God! But there He was and the need for salvation and the offer of it was so clear, it was like a well designed billboard! I wanted that!

    Earl,
    was this because there was something "not depraved" in me? I was sick through and through, just like that mouse is all full of kiwi. Was this because I was already born again? I am still not convinced into making that leap.

    Zoanna,
    I have a problem with the Calvinist use of the Bible's description of us as "dead", but I am still chewing on that one. What does it really mean when it says we were dead in trespasses and sins? Thanks for chewing with me.

    forgiven,
    I also wonder how sinners will be accountable and responsible for not believing in the Son of God if God foreordained that they could not. I believe God is just.

    Loren,
    The initiating thing has come up in discussion before. I believe God HAS initiated salvation at the cross and before the foundation of the world "in Christ". You have such good thoughts ... always well stated. Thank you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/15/2005 10:15 PM  

  • Loren, you are gracious. I appreciate YOUR comment about me.

    Please let me quote you:
    ----------
    This brings me to (what I consider to be) the real issue. The invitation is already in place; so how capable are we of responding to God's invitation?
    ----------

    1) Man was created in the image and likeness of God. Obviously this is not talking about physical features.

    1a) Men are able to love with agape love, even sinners and publicans! (Matt 5:46)
    1b) Men reason, do moral and just things, even not having the Mosaic or any God-given written law:

    Rom 2:14-15
    14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,
    NKJV

    Can you notice here that they "by nature" do the things in the law?

    This is due to the moral image and likeness of God in which they were created in.

    1c) Man has the constitutional ability to believe. Do you not believe things?

    1d) The Bible conclusively shows that unregenerate man seeks God. I see that noone is willing to pose any arguments against the plain and normal reading of Cornelius and the Bereans.

    2) God draws all men, and his drawing is resistable.

    2a) God draws all men:

    John 1:7-9
    7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
    NKJV

    Witnesses do one thing: seek to persuade others of their testimony.

    Jesus is the true light which gives light to everyone coming into the world. If man is in darkness Christ is the Light.

    John 12:31-32
    31 "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. 32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."
    NAS

    Jesus has been lifted up. He is the light. Men can resist the light. Men can resist the drawing.

    John 16:7-9
    7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

    Jesus went to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is now here and is convicting the WORLD of sin, righteousness, and judgement. The Holy Spirit has a convicting ministry, Jesus is drawing all men to Himself, Jesus is the Light the True Light shining to every man in the world.

    Heb 4:12
    12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    NKJV

    The Word of God is supernatural unto conviction, persuasion, and being convinced. The word of God, in conjunction with the Spirit of God, in conjunction with the Son of God, in conjunction with the image and likeness of God, in addition to the drawing of Jesus to all men, in light of God's invititation to all men, in lieu of Christ's death for all men, in observance of God's desire that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth...

    In light of the examples of Cornelius and the Bereans...

    Oh. What about preaching the gospel and persuasion?

    Some seem to deny that there is any soul winning or persuading men as to the gospel. Why do it when they are unable to hear and respond apart from sovereign regeneration and Irresistable Grace imposed? If one must be regenerated and then made to believe, then persuading someone as to the truth of the gospel really doesn't have a purpose in evangelism; preaching it seems pointless (men can't understand, are unable to hear and respond). There is no persuading or convincing the unregenerate sinner and it really would be a waste of time to do so.

    I guess those who believe such doctrine will just be content to give a short gospel message and see if God is going to do his trick and "effectually call" his elect. If after a very brief gospel message the person does not respond, well either 1) he is elect and God is not ready to effectually call him with irresisitable grace at this time or 2) he is unelect. Either way, persuasion is MEANINGLESS for it is falling on deaf, totally inable ears. Go on to the next one to see if they are elect and if God is ready to effectually call them by irresistible grace imposed.

    Yet Paul expended himself for Christ doing exactly this: disputing and persuading in the attempt to win people to Christ. As soon as he was converted, Paul "confounded the Jews...at Damascus proving that this is very Christ..."(Acts 9:22). Everywhere he went Paul "disputed...in the synagogue...and in the market daily..." (Acts 17:17). The last chapter of Acts tells us that even under house arrest in Rome, Paul was still at it: "...there came many to him, ... to whom he expounded... persuading them concerning Jesus..." (Acts 28:23).

    1 Cor 9:16, 19-22
    ...woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!...
    For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

    This activity so desribed as Paul engaging in, for some here who hold certain doctrine, by virtue of this doctrine, MUST be meaningless and unprofitable.

    Yet Paul did not think so...

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/15/2005 10:54 PM  

  • Rose,

    I'm glad you care enough about your walk with the Lord to tackle this issue. I pray you will continue to hold every thought captive to the Word of God.

    I recently made an informal vow with myself not to become involved in online debates on the Calvinism/Arminian issue (although I have my opinions) after a couple of lengthy attempts on other blogs.

    I will pray for you as you continue to seek the Lord and know His ways.

    Blessings,
    Marc

    By Blogger marc, at 11/15/2005 11:16 PM  

  • Rose, it may be beneficial for you to really re-construct your conversion experience. Are you telling me that there were no opportunities for you to "kick against the goads"?

    When I look back at my experience, I see God orchestrating events. I recognized the need in my life. I listened to the gospel like the berean "with an open mind". I felt God's drawing. Could I have resisted? I am convinced I could have.

    Prior to my conversion I had many felony indictments. At the point of anticipation of my trial, i began to seek God. He met me and gave me more light, I responded to some of the light and He sent me various individuals giving me the message of Christ. After I was released from a short time in jail, I spurned God's advances.

    God does not work out of a play book. His ways are as varied and infinite as the hair on a foreigner's back. I believe that all seeking comes from the universal drawing of God. Whether salvation comes at the moment of first confrontation, or genuine and diligent seeking has been engaged in for some time, they all have been prompted by God's drawing.

    Calvinism talks out of two sides of its mouth. How one can say that man is blind from birth and in the same breath say that God hold's him acountable for that which has been necessitated by His sovereign pronouncements in His decree, whereby everything has been ordained that happens by the counsel of His own will, including sin and rebellion, I cannot understand.

    We are rational beings. Are we to say that

    1) God ordaining me to go to hell and ordaining me to be born into blindness and irreversible sin and depravity

    and

    2) I am justly held accountable for that which, by necessity, has been ordained of me

    is just?

    It don't jive. It is sophistry

    it is casuistry

    it is the greatest misrepresentation of God, who, as to His essential nature is love.

    I don't care how many eons pass

    1 + 1 will never = 3

    and God will never be just if He throws people into hell who have been determined by His "dreadful" (Calvin) decree to go there, in order to bring God glory.

    There just ain't something right in Kansas.

    I do not understand the mental gymnastics and spiritual crow-bars necessary to believe and espouse the that which contradicts the very nature of the perfect being we call God.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/15/2005 11:17 PM  

  • As with any good debate, the first thing to do is define our terms. Let's all look up the biblical meaning of the words:
    dead
    seek
    chosen
    foreknew
    will (as in "whosoever will") and
    freely.

    In English we have different understandings of the same word. I like the Bereans I see in all of you. And I think "all" means "all". :)

    Ponder God's glory. Everything He does is for His glory. Let's meditate and reason together:
    1)What glory God would get for devising the plan of salvation to include the crucifixion of His one and only Son to the cross to save us from His own holy wrath--if, in the end, EVERYONE got to spend eternity with Him? That would mean that Christ DIDN"t have to drink the cup of wrath after all. Is God going to change His plan after putting His Son through that?
    2) What glory does God get in allowing some to go to hell? Don't answer this question quickly.
    3) Can you trust a God who leaves the ultimate decision of your eternal destiny to YOU? I couldn't. I wouldn't have chosen him. Jesus said, "I chose you; you did not choose me." Left to myself, I would not have chosen Christ because I was blind, proud, and dead. Unless the Great Physician healed me first, I'd still be blind. I'm still proud, but I have bowed my knee before Him and confessed that HE is God and I need His forgiveness. I was dead, now I'm alive. And I'd use the term "alive" even if I were Armenian, because I didn't know I was a Calvinist until AFTER I knew I was alive! That is, I understand that I was reborn LONG before I ever HEARD of Calvin, In fact, for the longest time after my conversion, I was puffed up enough to think I had done this great thing (all by myself) by "asking Christ into my life" .

    I can see now that the correct way to say it is, "Yes, I want my life in YOURS, God!"

    Still chewing. Got sore theological jaws, but this is great exercise.

    By Blogger Zoanna, at 11/15/2005 11:24 PM  

  • Rose,
    No man can see the kingdom unless he is born again. John3:3.

    No one can come to Me unless the Father draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.John6:44.
    Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him of my Father. John6:65

    Why do you not understand My speech?Because you are not able to listen to My word. John8:43

    See also John 10:25-30. Only the sheep whom the Father gives the Son can hear His voice and believe.

    See also 1Cor.1:18-30- especially verse 24- Only the "Called" look at Christ as the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    Concerning the gospel being the power of God in Romans 1:16-17. That is true..."to those who believe"

    You see, God has ordained that through preaching that the "elect" come to Him. See Romans 10:17;James 1:18 ;1Peter1:23 and also 1Cor.1:21.See also 2Tim.2:10.

    I know from scripture that had God not initiated salvation in my life I would have perised like others.
    "Even when we were dead in tresspasses [God], made us alive together with Christ...Eph.2:5. See also Col.1:13,2:13. God initiates salvation, It is wholly of Him.

    No God is not glorified when people are punished in the Lake of Fire. He is glorified, when in His great wisdom, He devises a plan of salvation whereby He pays the debt for lost sinners and then Imputes His Son's righteousness to their account.

    We are to go into the world and make disciples of all nations teaching them to obey all that He has commanded us.The results are up to Him. Beyond that who are we to reply against God. See Romans 9:14-21.

    Rose, You are a fine writer and many are blessed by you ministry.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 11/16/2005 1:02 AM  

  • In response to Bluecollar
    The statments in John 6 about restrictions on who can come to the Father were only true during Christ's earthly ministry. After his crucifixtion, He 'draws all men to himself'. While on earth, Christ was hardening the hearts of the Jews so that they would go ahead and crucify Him. The Gospel was not freely offered before the death of Christ.

    As for being Born-again, certainly only those who were born-again would see the kIngdom of God (the Millennium and Eternal state).

    Every Blessing in Christ
    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2005 3:25 AM  

  • In John chapter 6 Jesus is addressing the subject of unbelief in His hearers and the only remedy for it-The Father's drawing and granting.

    Interesting Dispensational Hermenueutic employed there Matthew, however, I do not subscribe to Dispensationalism. I am also sure that there are many Dispensationalists who wouldn't see that chapter in such a light either, such as John MacArthure.

    Rose,Calvinism is "crazy", a "mischaracterization of God"?

    Ouch!
    The shoe has dropped afterall.
    I did not know we were going to go there. I am sorry it we have.

    May the Lord continue to bless your ministry. I can see why your readership has grown, you are a gifted writer. May the Lord bless you and your's. Goodbye.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 11/16/2005 6:31 AM  

  • What I love is how each (or at least many) respondants quote a group of Scriptures that they believe support their position.

    Then they will add words like, "in context" os, "as a scriptural principle." Just to let us know that they are correct in their interpretations.

    In fact, I do the same thing. I guess we all do.

    My amillennialist pastor used to quote verses to my pre-millennialist youth director and to it they would go!

    Wherin lieth the answer?

    By Blogger Joe, at 11/16/2005 7:22 AM  

  • Lost of good discussion. Rose, I'll pick up on your question, was there an island where you were not depraved?

    The answer is no and yes (since some accuse Calvinists of speaking out of both sides of their mouth -- I couldn't resist :o)

    No, in that the Ephesians 2 test -- is there any possibility that you could boast? The answer to that question is no, there is no possibility. Before God gave you a renewed heart to have faith, you would refuse to come to God. It doesn't mean you were unaware of God, it means you had the desire to not come to the true God.

    In Romans 8 we see that "those he called, he also justified". The structure of this is whoever is called (in this sense of calling, because the word call has different senses and uses in the Bible), by the logic of Paul's statement, that person will be justified and glorified. This is when a person gets a new heart -- and this is where I come to the "yes" side of the answer to your question.

    For the believer, there is something that exists inside that person that didn't exist before (nor in any current unbeliever) -- a yearning for the true God. Repentance and faith springs forth from such a heart. And here is where many Christians are fooled by their contemplation. What does it look like when God calls you and finally gives you a new heart? For each person this is different. For some it will look like gradual awakening, and in fact some will not be able to point to a definitive time when they crossed over into life with faith, they know they have faith now, but at some point in the past they did not. For others there is a slam-bang obvious point of conversion. At one moment their were blind, and then they were overwhelmingly convicted and repented and had faith.

    Our interpretation of our own experience can be tricky. When God regenerates our heart, it's going to look like we changed our minds ourselves -- when in fact God changed our hearts.

    The key to understand this is knowing, even though God is the one who chooses us -- not based on what he sees we will do, but because of his good desire to choose us -- we have always and still are free responsible agents.

    The London Baptist Confession states: "God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil." This was taken from the Westminster Confession (a Calvinist document). Because we have liberty to do what we desire, and God does not coerce us, we are responsible for our actions.

    This is a difficult concept. Even Paul wrestles with it in Romans 9. That is because Romans 8 leads to the necessary conclusion that God is the actor, not ourselves, in salvation:

    "It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy."

    The logical question is:

    One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?"

    ...and Paul's answer reflects the mystery of how all this works:

    But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"

    God does not reveal how God works all this out, and we can't go further where God does not provide revelation.

    One further note. If we are inconsistent in our beliefs or understanding, it means there are some logical contradictions in what we think. With our proper understanding of God, we will have mystery -- but no logical contradictions.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/16/2005 8:34 AM  

  • Bluecollar said it most clearly and concisely. Earl, right behind him!

    Would you agree that:
    1) God is responsible for the plan of creation?
    2) God is responsible for the plan of redemption, that is, the plan to "buy back" His original children from a state of separation
    to a state of inclusion in HIs family?
    3) God is responsible for keeping the planets in orbit?
    4) God decides who gets conceived, who dies before birth, who lives to be 16, 80, 100?
    5) God is responsible for reviving the hearts of people?
    6) God is responsible for appointing evangelists and preachers to reach those who need to hear?
    7) God is responsible for putting His law on our hearts?
    8) God is responsible for deciding who to show grace to?
    (9) God is responsible to keep all His promises,even those that spell ultimate separation from Him?


    If there can be no more sorrow in Heaven (because God has promised it) then I believe we won't know that certain loved ones aren't with us because of the choice GOD made. I believe that no one will be more grieved than God. Yet, herein is the mystery: why doesn't God save Himself from grief? He could, ya know. I don't understand the mystery.

    By Blogger Zoanna, at 11/16/2005 11:16 AM  

  • I meant to add a paragraph after the seies of questions. My point is this:
    Which of those things is God responsible for? All or some? The "feel good" ones or the "rational" ones or the "humane" ones? Or all?

    Remember we are talking about a God who claims to cause catastrophe. Without apology.

    By Blogger Zoanna, at 11/16/2005 11:20 AM  

  • Marc,
    Thank you for that encouragement. I too am going to make a vow just like yours when I am finished with this series. It is helpful in a lot of ways, but in others, not.

    Antonio,
    I don't know about the concept of "re-constructing my conversion experience." It is what it is. I do not tell what happened to me to, in any way, promote a certain school of thought. To answer your question, I did laugh at first when I heard Jesus Christ loved me. (which, by the way ... how could those men had told me that if they were Calvinists...I'm glad they weren't). I also believe I could have resisted ... to my destruction! (But that discussion is for another time - we're on T here). I think you have a lot of good things to offer here, Antonio, but tone it down ever so slightly, please. :~)

    Zoanna,
    I also think all means all but that is for the post after the next one. ;~) You have some good thoughts and suggestions that I am going to follow through on later tonight or tomorrow in my own study. BTW, I don't get how a person can be puffed up by thinking they have done this great thing (all by themselves) by "asking Christ into my life". I have never been in that kind of a Christian culture. To me it is humbling to cast yourself on the mercy of God and admit you have nothing to offer.

    Bluecollar,
    I have printed out your comment and am going to go through those scriptures, thank you. I am a dispensationalist, however. It is the only way the Bible really was ever able to make sense to me ... seeing that all scripture is for us but not all is to us. It really clears up a lot of confusion and is the essence of viewing things "in context". Please don't go away offended. I appreciate your comments. I think am losing other Calvinist blog friends, so don't lose me you too.
    BTW, I agree salvation is wholly of Him and I would say nothing else. Also, I am not trying to reply against God. Calvinism has not been determined irrefutably to be "God" and I am only replying against Calvinism. ;~) (that's a lighthearted jab)

    Matthew,
    Thank you, as well for your spot-on thought (spot-on because it makes sense to me). I think the kingdom as understood by dispensational theology makes the gospels much easier to comprehend.

    BTW Bluecollar, don't attribute Antonios comments to me.

    Joe,
    Where does lie the answer? Or, as Bill O'Reilly says "what say you?"

    Earl,
    I printed out your comments and have to study them some. You talk quite a bit over my head, I'm just a simple girl. But I appreciate your thoughts or else I wouldn't have printed them out. :~)
    BTW, my question to you implied an obvious "no". I believe I was totally depraved, but now you, the "T" subscriber have contradicted my implied "no" answer! I have to analyze it better later today before I can comment on that. Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/16/2005 11:21 AM  

  • Zoanna, you for got one:

    God is responsible for people going to hell.

    Is this not the flipside, the darkside of your Calvinist doctrine?

    Or are you going to say that God is sovereign (in the Calvinistic, not biblical sense) only in the things you enumerate but He checks his sovereignty at the door when it comes to those He wills to go to hell?

    This is inconsistent.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/16/2005 12:14 PM  

  • Rose,

    All I meant with the reconstruction phrase is to think about what happened again. To reconstruct the situation in your mind and think about what happened from different angles.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/16/2005 12:16 PM  

  • Antonio, with all due respect and without apology or full understanding (like I said, much is a mystery) but I did not forget that one. I purposely left it out to prompt the question, "Is God responsible for people going to hell?"

    The answer, I believe, is yes. I do believe that God is responsible for people going to hell. He is the Judge. He is just and Holy. He decreed the law, man broke it, man should have been held responsible for the penalty, but God in his mercy, took His own punishment. Jesus became sin for us. He is also our righteousness.

    Therefore, as both Judge and Innocent Criminal, doesn't he have the right to determine how justice is meted out?

    How easy and comfortable it is to ascribe love to God, but let's not forget that He is holy, holy, holy. If He did NOT keep his promises, He would not be holy.He'd be a liar.

    Like I said, He holds himself responsible for hurricanes, tsunami, and other natural occurences. I do not know why He has shown mercy for so long other than that He is wholly merciful. People who say they don't deserve hell are deceived. People who say OTHERS don't deserve hell are mistaken. People who think God doesn't have a right to do as He pleases have not read enough scriptures.

    There used to be a popular phrase that goes, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it.: But 1/3 of that phrase doesn't matter.

    Doesn't matter if I believe it. God said it. That settles it. It may UNSETTLE me (and clearly and often does) but His Word speaks for itself.

    By Blogger Zoanna, at 11/16/2005 1:40 PM  

  • I don't have any erudite comments to add to this discussion. The mouse picture, though, did it weird out anyone else? Is it supposed to have anything to do with the idea of total depravity because if it does, I missed it.

    By Anonymous mas, at 11/16/2005 1:43 PM  

  • Rose, you are anything but a plain simple person. If my writing is not clear -- it probably is because it's not clear. :o)

    I'm often guilty of muddying the discussion.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/16/2005 1:50 PM  

  • Sorry, mas,
    I didn't really mean to weird you out, but my wierd quotient is pretty high. I thought it was an interesting Photoshop creation and I was looking for an excuse to use it - I have a whole group of them that I am going to throw in here and there. Also, the idea that the mouse is not cute and furry like he looks, but is green and slimy all the way through was related in an abstract way to the post - we sometimes seem nice (cute, fuzzy) but we are depraved through and through (green and slimy). Sorry if that went woosh!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/16/2005 1:52 PM  

  • I was weirded out. I didn't catch it at first (who'd want to catch a kiwi mouse?) but now that two people have explained the TD connection, it's perfect.

    As for freedom of choice per the discussion, I believe we have a certain amount of freedom in that we are not robots. But I also believe that God puts the limits on our choices.

    I almost couldn't fall asleep this afternoon for a much needed nap. Don't know if it was the exciting blog volleyball here, or the headache. (My 3 year old said, "Mommy, have a headache in my nose.") How about we debate the existence of nose headaches next? Too bad headaches haven't ceased in an earlier dispensation.

    By Blogger Zoanna, at 11/16/2005 4:53 PM  

  • Uh- that would be, he said "Mommy, I have a headache in my nose."

    To my knowledge I've never had a headache in someone else's nose.

    Pain in the neck, maybe, but the nose?

    By Blogger Zoanna, at 11/16/2005 4:55 PM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    Quick comment. In your last response to me, it seems you're implying that we disagree. Actually I don't think we are, because I agree with everything you said.

    Think about it this way though. Man is a whole lot more apt to respond to religion than he is to relationship. It's one thing, for example, to aspire to the keep the law because you agree it is good. It is another to look beyond the law to it's author, to the Lord Himself. For an unsaved person, that is an unnerving thought.

    I think the differences you've seen between us can be resolved in this light. And for ourselves on this whole topic, this is a vital distinction to keep in mind.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/16/2005 6:46 PM  

  • Loren,

    If you believe that the drawing of God (which is resistable) seen in Christ's light, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, through the persuasive Word of God is sufficient to persuade the sinner of the gospel, then I am with you.

    If you believe that it takes regeneration before one can believe, I am opposed.

    Yet can I infer from a recent post of yours from your blog that you subscribe to the former?

    There you wrote:

    ----------
    In other words, by our faith in the gospel, we have become a new creation, re-made according to Jesus’ own image in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:14).
    ----------

    This seems to explicitly state that, in your opinion, faith in the gospel is the agency by which one is made "a new creation".

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/16/2005 7:32 PM  

  • In my last post substitute "intermediate agency" for agency.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/16/2005 9:01 PM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    Yes, we do agree on both questions. The gospel is the power of God to salvation -- not predestination, not election, but faith in Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead, as the prophets foretold and of which the apostles became witnesses.

    This is not to say that there is no role for election or predestination, it's just that they, too, must be seen in light of Christ. But I think Rose is about to go there, so let's hold off till then, see what she has to say, and match our thoughts on the subject then.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/16/2005 10:27 PM  

  • The kiwi mouse is now a walnut beetle. I think the kiwi mouse worked better with the idea of total depravity (once you explained it Rose and I got it:)). I think though my sin is alot uglier looking inside than a happy green kiwi, more like the rotting pumpkin on the porch that needed thrown out days ago. Yuck!!

    Zoanna--my daughter used to tell us that she had a headache in her stomach.

    By Anonymous mas, at 11/17/2005 8:28 AM  

  • Zoanna,
    My daughter used to say she has a "head-up" instead of a "headache". I still call it a "head-up" to this day.

    mas,
    Isn't the walnut beetle cute? You're right about the kiwi thing. I love kiwi ... it is sweet and juicy, nothing like our sinfulness. I wish I would've taken a picture of my rotten pumpkin!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/17/2005 10:56 AM  

  • Interesting post Rose, but may I say in a critical yet loving manner, that I felt it was a bit too long? It was a bit too long, but very valuable in getting to know where your head is at. It is truly a blessing because I do know where your heart is at;)

    BTW I didn't have time to read all the comments yet either. Wow! What a verbose group.

    In Him,
    John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 11/17/2005 9:21 PM  

  • John,

    You aren't kidding.

    Rose,

    Awesome stuff Rose and so glad you are so open about this discussion. You are encouraging me in your writing as I see you heart and thoughts come out on the page. I thank you that you are digging in the scriptures with all of us.

    There is a difference between unwilling and unable. Unwilling starts from the passions and desires and our hearts are really not seeking God until God does draw us.

    Loren/Rose,

    Total Depravity does not mean all of us are as sinful as we could be. It means that we are all unwilling to repent and it is a way of explaining what spiritual deadness is.

    Total depravity means we can't do anything to save ourselves as well as we can't even make the right choice because we don't want to. Salvation isn't a choice it's regeneration of a heart that has responded to the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the word in all it's forms and God taking our heart of stone into a heart of flesh and that heart says if it can have Christ alone it will be happy. Faith isn't just merely making a choice but

    From the words of Pilgrim's Progress "Faithful began, "A work of grace in the soul reveals itself to him who has it and to those around him. To him who has it, it convicts him of sin, especially the sin of defiling his own nature and the sin of unbelief, for which he is sure to be damned if he doesn't find mercy at God's hand through faith in Jesus Christ. This struggle with conviction and knowledge of things causes him to feel sorrow and shame for sin. Moreover, he finds revealed in himself the Savior of the World and the absolute necessity of coming together with Him for life. "

    My belief is that we can't awaken your spiritual deadness. You can't bring out spiritual life within yourself. Total depravity means that everyone, is by virtue of their own will and their own power and their own desires then, incapable of redemption apart from God's magnificant grace.

    That’s total depravity.

    See Rose's next article for more of the actual bible discussion on this.

    Sorry so long....when I'm long no one will read it, he he.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 12:47 AM  

  • I have always thought that after reading about TULIP that Calvin was a Catholic "plant" in Protestantism. He was afterall, a classmate of Ignatious Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.

    It would not be the first time that a "plant" within Protestantism was perpetuated. Of course today, the lines between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism have become increasingly blurry.

    By Blogger A Pilgrim Passing Thru, at 12/11/2009 10:31 AM  

  • Thank you, Pligrim :)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/11/2009 12:06 PM  

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