Problems with Total Depravity or Total Inability

Introduction

Let’s make this as simple as we can so that people can understand us. Calvinism wishes to totally remove all concept of moral activity for Christians. Say what they may say about holiness, sanctification, and leaving off sinning, the truth of the matter is that their teachings (if believed and followed lead their followers) push people strongly down the road of moral inactivity to a state of spiritual bankrupcy. There is no other alternative if you follow Calvinism. You may not be as advanced as “a 5 pointer”, but you are on the same road, no matter what you say or think.

Calvinism teaches that man has no ability to do anything morally acceptable before God. This is the doctrine of total inability. The biblical doctrine of moral depravity (which is in the Bible, and which Calvinism uses to twist it into a monster) has to be limited to and refers to the concept of doing morally good works with which we become acceptable before God, or the concept of “buying our salvation” by doing good works. The Bible teaches that there is nothing morally acceptable before God that a man can do in order to purchase, obtain, or procure his salvation as an exchange of these good works done for the salvation. The Bible does teach this, but this is a far step from the Calvinist’s doctrine of total inability.

What we need to carefully sort out is the Calvinist’s “bait-n-switch” tactics. First he says that his pillar doctrine is “Total Depravity”, but what he really means is total inability, and Calvinist writings abound with the references linking the two to be the same thing. While old Calvinists have carefully not taken all this so far, modern Calvinism fears nothing, and blatantly states that there is nothing good in God’s eyes that man can do. Ever.

If you follow carefully the Calvinistic doctrine here, neither before salvation, neither in salvation, neither after salvation, does man have anything that pleases God. According to the Calvinist, he is totally incapable (unable) to please God in any way. This is not biblical. What the Calvinist teaches is that man has nothing within him (ever, even after salvation) that is in anyway pleasing to God. To admit this would be to admit that man has some value, or that man can do something that is valuable to God. The Calvinist pushes its followers to refuse to accept anything anybody does as acceptable by God.

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2 Responses to Problems with Total Depravity or Total Inability

  1. Scot says:

    Christ’s words on man’s ability before salvation: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” (John 6:44)
    Paul’s words: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:7-8)

    Christ’s words on man’s good works in the state of salvation: “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'” (Luke 17:10)
    Paul’s words: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh)nothing good dwells…(Rom. 7:18)

    • admin says:

      Good points, but like a typical Calvinist you confuse the difference between ability and credit or value. One thing is that we have nothing (outside of Christ) which would obligate God to allow us into heaven, and it is a totally different thing to say we are unable to respond or obey God’s will. Rom 8:7-8 and Luke 17:10, and Rom 7:18 all address our lack of moral merit before God to get into heaven. John 6:44 on the other hand speaks of ability, and this is a conditional statement. Nobody can access God and later salvation without God “opening the door.” True, but John also says that if Jesus is lifted up, he will draw all men unto him. Jesus was lifted up, so are all men saved? No. Why not? Because the problem here is that it is not God turning on or off a “salvation” switch within us. God saves us by grace (a free gift coming from the will of God) through faith. This is the most clearest and basic point of salvation. You believe God’s offer (receiving it), and you are saved.
      1.) Please show me 1 single verse where a minister of God in the Bible, especially Jesus Christ, stood before unsaved people, and told them that they “could be saved” if they were elected by God, otherwise they were damned to hell. I NEVER find any reference to election, being chosen, or predestination in any Gospel presentation.
      2.) What is always the presentation of Salvation? Is it not ALWAYS, believe God and you will be saved? Is not Abraham’s example primal here? Abraham “BELIEVED GOD” and it was counted to him for righteousness. The moral action of believing is what God waits for before saving a person. This is never passive event that the person “waits on God to decide to save him”, rather it is always “thrown in the individual’s lap”, believe and be saved, or if you refuse, you are damned. This is consistently the presentation of the Gospel throughout the Old and New Testaments.
      3.) If you change the Gospel (how somebody “GETS” saved), you have another Gospel that Jesus and the Apostles, and the primitive church did not have. According to my reading of Scripture, you are saved by your faith. The Calvinist say you are saved by God’s election of you, without your faith. You have nothing to do with either faith nor your own salvation, but rather you are completely passive in it, i.e. any faith that you could possibly have is because God preprogrammed you to have it. No. Jesus was raised, and that was the act or event to created the possibility that would could have faith and be saved. God’s act of the cross is the great “faith causing” event of all history. When you disenfocus off of Christ and the cross causing faith for our salvation to an hidden agenda of election, you have another Gospel other than that presented in the Bible. The bottom line is, read the entire Bible, and notice how many times God places man’s destiny squarely a responsability on his own shoulders. If we morally act, we will be saved. If we refuse to act according to God’s instructions, we ourselves have condmened ourselves to hell. Our destiny is very much a result of our own moral actions.
      4.) If a person is saved, is God left out of it? Absolutely not. Whenever a person is saved, it is because of all that God has done in that person’s life to bringing him to salvation. But that doesn’t remove the responsibility or the “trigger of salvation” being our decision to obey God and believe in Christ as our Saviour.

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