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The Apparent "Good" in Natural Man
Monergism.Com ^ | J.W. Hendryx

Posted on 12/26/2010 7:51:12 AM PST by Gamecock

If natural man's condition is Total Depravity, How do we account for the apparent "good" in the unregenerate?

Good question because the meaning of total depravity is often misunderstood. It should first be pointed out what "total depravity" does not mean. The doctrine does not refer to man being as evil a creature as he can be. All fallen, unregenerate human beings are endowed with many of God's common graces. God has blessed all men with a conscience and the capacity to promote virtue and civil righteousness. It is abundantly clear that many beautiful aspects of the world we live in have been brought forth by those which are unredeemed by God's regenerative grace. God has gifted natural men and women with the skill to create beautiful music, make profound works of art, to invent intricate machines and do countless things that are productive, excellent and praiseworthy. John Calvin said,

"Those men whom Scripture calls "natural men" were, indeed, sharp and penetrating in their investigation of inferior things. Let us, accordingly, learn by their example how many gifts the Lord left to human nature even after it was despoiled of its true good." (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 274-275).

It would be natural to ask, then, if man is totally depraved, how is it that he can bring forth so many good things? This question is indeed valid but misunderstands what is meant when we talk about man as being rendered depraved by the fall.

So what is meant, then, by the total depravity and spiritual inability of the natural man? It means that man's many good works, even though in accord with God's commands, are not well pleasing to God when weighed against His ultimate criteria and standard of perfection. The love of God and His law is not the unbelievers' deepest animating motive and principle (nor is it his motive at all), so it does not earn him the right to redemptive blessings from a holy God. The Scripture clearly implies this when it states "...without faith it is impossible to please Him." (Hebrews 11:6a, NASB) and "whatever is not from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23) So if man "is restrained from performing more evil acts by motives that are not owing to his glad submission to God, then even his "virtue" is evil in the sight of God." (John Piper) His purpose for doing good works are not from a heart that loves God. Being unspiritual, that is, without the Holy Spirit, "... men do not rise above themselves" (Calvin) But now through our justification and regeneration in Christ, we are enabled, for the first time, to be pleasing to God on the basis of Christ's work and, from this union, the work of the Holy Spirit renews our affections for God, giving us understanding of, and a delight in, spiritual things and turning our heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

Total depravity only means man is lost (Luke 19:10), unspiritual by nature, and thus he is utterly impotent to recover himself from his ruined estate (John 6:44, 65, Rom 8:7; Eph 2:1, 2:5; Rom 3:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6). In other words he is unable to do any redemptive good. Fallen man does not desire God, he loves darkness and hates the light (John 3:19,20) so he will not come into Christ at all except he be reborn by the Holy Spirit (John 1:13, 3:6, John 6:37, 39, 44, 63-66; Rom 9:16).

Calvin made an observation from Romans 1 that all men (regenerate and unregenerate) have a sense of the divine within them. Even unbelievers know God in a sense because God has impressed his image on all persons. The apostle Paul said, "For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him..." (Rom 1:21) Since the Holy Spirit does not dwell with the fallen, the source of natural man's affections come from a polluted well. He has a sense of the divine and knows God, but only as an enemy, "and by their unrighteousness suppress the truth" (Rom 1:18). God has impressed humanity with a conscience and it restrains him from doing even more evil, but his heart cannot reach to the heavens to God unless the Spirit first pour His blessings down from heaven. God extends his love to man but since he is hostile to God by nature he will always reject Him. All are responsible to come to Him but inexcusable for their "knowing Him" but refusing to come to Him. "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." It is our duty to repent but we will not do so unless God grants repentance (2 Tim 2:25) and give us new eyes to see the truth. Without Scripture and the Holy Spirit we only distort the true light God has given us in His creation. Since the Scripture declares that we suppress the truth and make idols of all things created (Rom 1:18), so if our blindness is to be removed, it is not just the light of God we need (Scripture), but also new eyes to see that light (the Holy Spirit).

- John W. Hendryx

Related Articles
Human Depravity by R.C. Sproul
Is it possible to not worship Jesus and still be moral? by John Piper
Total Depravity by John Piper
Biblical Regeneration and Affectional Theology by John Hendryx
Can Spiritual Man Learn from Natural Man? by Jack Crabtree


TOPICS: Apologetics; Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: depravity
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1 posted on 12/26/2010 7:51:13 AM PST by Gamecock
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To: Gamecock

We have free will. Some people freely choose evil and others freely choose good.


2 posted on 12/26/2010 7:53:01 AM PST by Leftism is Mentally Deranged (Liberalism is against human nature. Practicing liberalism is detrimental to your mental stability.)
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To: drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; AZhardliner; ...

Morning Saints!

3 posted on 12/26/2010 7:53:17 AM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Leftism is Mentally Deranged

We are spiritually dead until we are born again of the Spirit. And Scripture teaches you can’t choose that.

Until then your free will will only take you down the path of damnation, and you go there happily.


4 posted on 12/26/2010 7:56:40 AM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Gamecock

Man is made good. Sin is an abberation. Get that straight, and life seems to go better.


5 posted on 12/26/2010 7:58:54 AM PST by the invisib1e hand ("Three hostile newspapers are more to be feared than 200 swords" - Napoleon Bonapart)
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To: Gamecock
GEOGRAPHY OF A WOMAN

Between 18 and 22, a woman is like Africa. Half discovered, half wild, fertile and naturally beautiful.
Between 23 and 30, a woman is like Europe. Well developed and open to trade, especially for someone of real value.
Between 31 and 35, a woman is like Spain, very hot, relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.
Between 36 and 40, a woman is like Greece, gently aging but still a warm and desirable place to visit.
Between 41 and 50, a woman is like Great Britain, with a glorious and all conquering past.
Between 51 and 60, a woman is like Israel, has been through war, doesn't make the same mistakes twice, takes care of business.
Between 61 and 70, a woman is like Canada, self-preserving, but open to meeting new people.
After 70, she becomes Tibet. Wildly beautiful, with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the ages, an adventurous spirit and a thirst
for spiritual knowledge.

THE GEOGRAPHY OF A MAN

Between 1 and 80, a man is like Iran , ruled by nuts.


6 posted on 12/26/2010 8:16:48 AM PST by SouthDixie (The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.)
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To: Gamecock

I’ve always been of the opinion that, on some level, most all acts are, at their root, acts of self-interest, including our grandest gestures of kindness. Even if we can’t see or understand what would motivate kindness, there is, in some way, self-gratification involved (i.e. I help an old lady across a street because my conscience would bother me otherwise). I think the supremacy of self-interest explains well why capitalism works, in that the self-interest of capitalism unleashes the best possible outcome for everyone.

Lest you think me heartless or uncharitable, I should tell you that I give regularly and as generously as possible, both to my church and to homeless people I see on the street here in NYC. As a rule I never pass a beggar without giving him/her money, but I don’t kid myself. It’s out of self-interest:

In Proverbs 28:27, the Bible says that “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.” In Luke 14:12-14, Jesus advised hosts to invite the poor to their banquets because then God would bless them. Although the poor cannot repay the host, God will repay the host “at the resurrection of the righteous.”

That’s good enough for me.


7 posted on 12/26/2010 8:18:15 AM PST by nysuperdoodle
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To: Gamecock

Playing this dichotomy game leads to ill consequences.

Suggesting that all men are naturally evil, who must be whipped into moral shape, leads to a Nietzschean outlook, embraced by authoritarian progressives like Teddy Roosevelt. (H.L. Mencken wrote a vanity book which compared TRs speeches to the plagiarized writings of Nietzsche.)

However, even worse is the assumption that all men, *especially* “natural men”, are good, is much, much worse. Because if men are good, their government is also good, so the more government, the merrier. This is the justification of the worst forms of totalitarianism, such as the Soviet Union.

The best bet is to play the middle road, assuming that some men are good, some men are evil, that they don’t necessarily stay one way or the other, but as often as not are ruled by their weaknesses and indulgences, for which it is not permitted that heaven be used as justification, because while good people would do so, bad people would lie about it.

Oddly enough, this is pretty much the philosophy behind America’s founding fathers. It is semi-religious, but agnostic enough to admit that heaven is for praying to, not dictating the written law of men, because men tend to not transcribe heaven’s dictates very well. If at all. And it is better to assume flawed men wrote the law, so that other flawed men can change it, if needs be, without offending heaven.

Unlike the Europeans, our founding fathers, while they had respect for God, wanted to be clear that our constitution was the work of men. And as such, they knew that “enlightened self interest” works best when in competition with other “enlightened self interest”. Which is why our constitution is rife with checks and balances.

In practice, this works rather well, because while the public would *like* its leaders to be good, it will quickly assume that they are evil with the slightest evidence. So much so that it will even do so in the absence of evidence, just based on partisanship. Which is not particularly a bad thing, as it is a truism that “power corrupts.”

Which is also why we are very hesitant to give anyone “absolute power”, and are even deeply distrustful of anyone with *some* power, even if they are “on our side.”

Everybody screws up some time or another.

The author of this piece, however, is talking about whether mankind, or parts thereof, is good or evil *from a heavenly perspective*. And he is free to do this, though no answer will be forthcoming from heaven anytime soon as to whether he is correct or not.

Because, while good people would say so, evil people would lie about it.


8 posted on 12/26/2010 8:21:26 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Gamecock

“We are spiritually dead until we are born again of the Spirit. And Scripture teaches you can’t choose that.”

“11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” - John 1

Notice the progression: “to all who did [past tense] receive him, who believed [past tense] in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”.

“To become (genestai).
Second aorist middle of ginomai, to become what they were not before. “

http://www.studylight.org/com/rwp/view.cgi?book=joh&chapter=001&verse=012

” 16”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. “ - John 3

WHOEVER believes, not, “to whom I give belief as a gift”, or “Those I picked before the world began”.

“these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” - John 20

BY BELIEVING YOU MAY HAVE LIFE. Not, by living you may believe.

” 37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” “ - Acts 2

When they ask what they should do, Peter doesn’t reply, “Nothing. God will cause you to be reborn or not.”

He says “Repent...be baptized...and you will receive...Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

Calvin commented: “37. They were pricked in heart. Luke doth now declare the fruit of the sermon, to the end we may know that the power of the Holy Ghost was not only showed forth in the diversity of tongues, but also in their hearts which heard. And he noteth a double fruit; first, that they were touched with the feeling of sorrow; and, secondly, that they were obedient to Peter’s counsel. This is the beginning of repentance, this is the entrance unto godliness, to be sorry for our sins, and to be wounded with the feeling of our miseries. For so long as men are careless, they cannot take such heed unto doctrine as they ought. And for this cause the word of God is compared to a sword, (Hebrews 4:12,) because it doth mortify our flesh, that we may be offered to God for a sacrifice. But there must be added unto this pricking in heart readiness to obey. Cain and Judas were pricked in heart, but despair did keep them back from submitting themselves unto God, (Genesis 4:13; Matthew 27:3.)”

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom36.ix.vii.html

Calvin is right - it takes God revealing Himself to us, but he was also right (in commenting on this verse) that “But there must be added unto this pricking in heart readiness to obey. Cain and Judas were pricked in heart, but despair did keep them back from submitting themselves unto God...” Not quite what Calvin put into his systematic theology, but correct - a man who has encountered God’s love can draw back and reject it - or believe and be saved.


9 posted on 12/26/2010 8:22:47 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Leftism is Mentally Deranged

Ping to post 9 - forgot to add you to the “To” box...


10 posted on 12/26/2010 8:24:20 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Gamecock
The problem with this hard-line Calvinism is that it does not account for man's decision-making ability. Even unbelievers have the ability to decide to believe in Christ. The article argues otherwise.

The constant call of the Bible in passage after passage is for men to no longer be unbelieving but believing. The call of hard-line Calvinism is that if you are an unbeliever you cannot believe until the Holy Spirit turns you into a believer.

While the Holy Spirit is definitely involved in the saving process, the individual must make a critical decision to believe. If he does not, then God's grace has been resisted. If he does decide to believe in Christ, then his election is validated, his salvation is secure, and the atoning power of Christ's blood covers his sins. He then enters into the process of learning to be like Christ.

If God's grace was irresistable and humans were totally depraved, then only robots would believe. On the other hand, saying unbelievers have "free will" is going a bit too far. Unbelievers are in bondage. There is no freedom in unbelief. But the key to freedom is to believe in the Son of God and his finished work on the cross. That takes a decision of the will to believe.

11 posted on 12/26/2010 8:31:24 AM PST by Guyin4Os (A messianic ger-tsedek)
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To: Gamecock
Here's my view on this, from one of us heretical Mormons.

Mosiah 3:19
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/3?lang=eng

1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

http://lds.org/scriptures/nt/1-cor/2.14?lang=eng

12 posted on 12/26/2010 8:48:48 AM PST by Ripliancum ("For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" Merry Christmas!)
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To: Leftism is Mentally Deranged
I think the point is that due to Natural Law (or God's law), every normal person implicitly knows good from evil. That does not determine willful conduct nor is it enough to save anyone but it is easily observable across cultures and societies.
13 posted on 12/26/2010 9:15:06 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Gamecock

“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die”. Rom 5:7

Many that do good works, do them so that others see what they did, and praise them for that.

The Lord said to do good works in almost covert fashion, to assure our doing it unto the Lord and not unto man.


14 posted on 12/26/2010 9:33:38 AM PST by Zuriel (Acts 2:38,39....nearly 2,000 years and still working today!)
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To: Gamecock

bttt


15 posted on 12/26/2010 9:35:09 AM PST by Matchett-PI (Trent Lott on Tea Party candidates: "As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them" 7/19/10)
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To: the invisib1e hand

Man WAS made good. Man fell. Scripture teaches we are all dead in sin.

Your trust in psychological/leftist fallacies won’t make you or anyone else right with God.


16 posted on 12/26/2010 10:39:57 AM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

***Suggesting that all men are naturally evil, who must be whipped into moral shape, leads to a Nietzschean outlook, embraced by authoritarian progressives like Teddy Roosevelt.***

No, all men are fallen and in need of a Savior.

It is the Pietistic churches who think man must be “whipped into moral shape.”


17 posted on 12/26/2010 10:45:31 AM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Guyin4Os

***The problem with this hard-line Calvinism is that it does not account for man’s decision-making ability.***

Yeah, we just rely on Scripture way too much, don’t we!


18 posted on 12/26/2010 10:47:10 AM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Gamecock; Guyin4Os

“Yeah, we just rely on Scripture way too much, don’t we!”

Nope. You ignore the scriptures...

6The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” - Gen 4

“17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” - Rev 3

He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” - Luke 4


19 posted on 12/26/2010 11:05:10 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Mr Rogers

Genesis 4 is the Gospel? Can you do well? HAVE you done well?

Revelation 3 is talking about churches who have drifted away. It is not an evangelistic verse. If you torture it to do so you are tossing out Romans 8, Romans 9, Ephesians 1 and tons of other passages.


20 posted on 12/26/2010 11:24:11 AM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Gamecock

Genesis 4 is scripture, and it shows God saying Cain had a choice - NOT that Cain was predestined, or ‘dead’ and unable to respond to God’s call.

Rev 3 has this: “ 15”’I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

Now, unless you are saying Jesus will spit Christians out of his mouth, rejecting them, then one has to conclude that what follows involves a choice by men, to accept or reject, to open or leave closed.

Nor do I torture Romans 8 & 9, or Ephesians 1.

Romans 8: “28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

Those whom he foreknew he also predestined.

Romans 9 talks about the Jews as a group - although individual Jews will be saved, as a group they are set on the back burner for a time. Calvinists like to quote: “13As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” - but they forget that quote comes from Malachi, not Genesis, and applies to their tribes, not the individuals.

The passage of Romans 9-11 deals with the question raised in John 1: “11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” Why? Why did the Chosen People reject Jesus?

Not as individuals, for many individual Jews were and are saved, but as a group.

You might want to take a close look in Ephesians 1 at the phrase “in him”. For it is in Christ, untied to him by thru faith, that we receive everything else:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us [in Christ] with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us [in him] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us [in the Beloved]. 7 [In him] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth [in Christ] 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things [in him], things in heaven and things on earth.

11[In him] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope [in Christ] might be to the praise of his glory. 13[In him] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

The order of salvation? “when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit”.

The Holy Spirit does not irresistibly cause us to be born again, and then we believe. We receive the Holy Spirit by believing, as Peter preached: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”


21 posted on 12/26/2010 12:40:12 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Gamecock

Oh, and lest I forget, here is what Jesus proclaimed:

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”


22 posted on 12/26/2010 12:41:16 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Mr Rogers
There is law, and there is Gospel.

If man could fulfill the law there would be no need for Christ, now would there?

repent and believe in the gospel.

And just who believes in the Gospel? Those who God causes to be born again, the elect.

You seem to have a problem with the term predestination. Predestination is found in Scripture. Free will, in the context of salvation, isn't.

23 posted on 12/26/2010 1:02:22 PM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Gamecock

Predestination, in scripture, describes what God has willed for those who believe.

Here are the 6 - SIX! - verses where it appears:

Act 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.

Rom 8:29-30 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

1Cr 2:7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;

Eph 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

Eph 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

Neither Acts nor 1 Cor is referring to the doctrine you proclaim, leaving 4 verses in 2 chapters.

“And just who believes in the Gospel? Those who God causes to be born again, the elect.”

Except that denies what scripture says, doesn’t it.

John 20: “and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Believing results in life, not life resulting in irresistible belief.

John 1: “12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Those who believe receive the right to become children of God, born by God’s will. Belief precedes birth.

“Mar 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”

Why rebuke them if belief is given and faith a gift from God? Who rebukes someone for not having enough of what he must first give them?

Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.
Mat 9:2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
Mat 9:22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.
Mat 9:29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.”

Jhn 3:15 “that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Jhn 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Believes may have life, not whoever is given life will believe.

Jhn 7:38-39 “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Belief first.

Jhn 8:24 “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

Is God a liar? For if Calvin is correct, and honest God would say, “Unless I chose you, you will continue to be dead in your sins.”

Gal 3:22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

To those who believe, not to those I chose.

1Pe 2:6-7 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”

Whosoever means whosoever, not some special people...


24 posted on 12/26/2010 2:30:14 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Mr Rogers

Do what?

Eph 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

We were adopted according to His will. Not ours.

Take off your Arminian glasses, it’s about God choosing, not us.


25 posted on 12/26/2010 2:38:31 PM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Mr Rogers

Do what?

Eph 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

We were adopted according to His will. Not ours.

Take off your Arminian glasses, it’s about God choosing, not us.


26 posted on 12/26/2010 2:38:41 PM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Gamecock

Ralph Waldo Emerson looks at it this way:

We grant that human life is mean; but how did we find out that it was mean? What is the ground of this uneasiness of ours; of this old discontent? What is the universal sense of want and ignorance, but the fine inuendo by which the soul makes its enormous claim?


27 posted on 12/26/2010 3:09:32 PM PST by frposty (I'm a simpleton)
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To: Gamecock
Were we adopted because our name was on a list, and he irresistibly gave us life and then the gift of faith, or were we adopted because we believed and are predestined to become like Christ?

Those in Christ are predestined.

"3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."

If it is all about God choosing us, why did Jesus proclaim:

Mat 3:2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Mat 11:20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.

Mar 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Mar 6:12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.

Luk 13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Luk 13:5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

None of that is honest, if what God REALLY does is check to see if we're on the saved or unsaved list, and then irresistibly saves those on the first, and irresistibly damns those on the second.

"46And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles." - Acts 13

Does it say God rejected them, or that THEY rejected the gospel?

Try Proverbs 1 & 2:

20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; 21at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: 22"How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? 23If you turn at my reproof,behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,

Find a passage that says we need to be born again so that we can believe, or that we were given life to believe. Find the passage that says we are saved by grace thru election, rather than grace thru faith.

Paul wrote, " 1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." - Romans 5

Faith is what opens the door and allows us inside.

We ARE saved by the will of God. Man wants to win God's approval on his own, but he cannot. God has set the terms: repent and believe. Those who accept are predestined by God's will to become like Christ. But whosoever means just that. Whosoever believes is placed in Christ, and in Him, part of His body the church, we are given everything else.

No man can dictate the terms of his acceptance by God. No man can find God, unless God first reveals Himself. But God HAS revealed himself, and does, and we are responsible for our response to his revelation. The call to believe is real. Jesus wasn't mocking our inability. And refusal to believe will be judged, justly.

28 posted on 12/26/2010 3:37:06 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Mr Rogers

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags........


29 posted on 12/26/2010 4:34:55 PM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Mr Rogers

Romans 3:10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”


30 posted on 12/26/2010 4:38:08 PM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Mr Rogers
John 1:12-13 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
31 posted on 12/26/2010 4:41:15 PM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Mr Rogers
Acts 13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been ordained to eternal life believed."
32 posted on 12/26/2010 4:42:30 PM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Gamecock
John 1:12-13: Please pay attention to the whole verse:

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Those who believe are given the right to become children of God. This is God's will, not man's. If you believe, then God gives you the right to be his child. It is God's plan of salvation, not man's.

33 posted on 12/26/2010 4:47:16 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Mr Rogers

Through His will, not their own.


34 posted on 12/26/2010 4:50:50 PM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Mr Rogers

Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.


35 posted on 12/26/2010 4:52:14 PM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Gamecock

Acts 13:48 - please note this is the only time that phrasing appears, and what else is noteworthy?

This is the first time the gospel is preached to the Gentiles. Peter went to the house of Cornelius in chapter 10: “1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.”

Note that this was before the conversion of Cornelius and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In chapter 11, Peter defends what he did. In chapter 12, the disciples are scattered.

In chapter 13, verses 13-47 are directed at the Jews in Antioch. But for the most part, the Jews reject the gospel, and in verses 46-47 we find:

“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“’I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

THEN, in verse 48, the Gentiles rejoice, and for the first time in history, the gospel is preached openly to the Gentiles - and the Gentiles respond:

” 48And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”

For the Gospel was not meant only for the Jews, but also had to go to the Gentiles - to all who were appointed to salvation.

If there were other passages saying that those appointed to eternal life believed, you would have a much stronger case. However, the ONLY time that I know of comes with the first proclamation of the Gospel to the Gentiles - the other sheep of Jesus.


36 posted on 12/26/2010 4:56:15 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Gamecock
"Through His will, not their own."

Yes. Thru the will of God, whosoever believes shall be saved. "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God..."

God's doing and his plan, not man's.

On Romans 3 we agree. "For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin..." We are all sinners, and none of us deserve any good thing from God.

And Romans goes on:

21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

37 posted on 12/26/2010 5:01:18 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Gamecock

Romans 9 has a particular subject:

1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. 6But it is not as though the word of God has failed.

Paul addresses a subject of great pain to him - the rejection of Jesus by the Jews. Not as individuals, for Paul is a Jew and he believes, but as a nation...or more accurately, as a tribe, the children of Abraham and Isaac.

Just as God chose the children of Jacob to be his chosen people, rather than the children of Esau (although individual descendants of Esau could join them, as could Gentiles even), God is now choosing to give life to the Gentiles.

“1Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

But it will not last forever:

1I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. (Chapter 11)

25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27”and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

28As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Again, this is speaking in generalities, for individual Jews will and are saved, and most Gentiles are still destined to hell.

But as individuals, Paul continues to affirm:

1For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Chapter 10)


38 posted on 12/26/2010 5:12:14 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: SouthDixie

That is too funny!


39 posted on 12/27/2010 2:23:36 AM PST by cinciella
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To: Leftism is Mentally Deranged; Gamecock

Amen - yes, we have free will, free will to choose evil or good. The PCA is now freeling choosing to ordain women deacons and also free will debates on Federal Vision.


40 posted on 12/27/2010 3:34:26 AM PST by Cronos (Kto jestem? Nie wiem! Ale moj Bog wie!)
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To: Guyin4Os; Gamecock
The problem with this hard-line Calvinism is that it does not account for man's decision-making ability

True, and if you couple this with double predestination, then it's like saying God is a roboticist --He makes us, His robots, programmed to do good or evil. We robots are hence already pre-programmed to do good or evil and do not "choose" to do anything as per Calvin. Then, linking this to the hard-line zero free-will, that means that God/the roboticist directs the robots' actions down to the lowest detail.

Then, as per Calvin's philosophy, the roboticist, at the end of the robot's lifespan tells the pre-programmed "evil" robot: "Ha, ha, you did the evil that I pre-programmed you to do and you were directed by my actions as you had no free will. However, you were evil, so now you're going to be tormented in hell for eternity".
41 posted on 12/27/2010 3:44:13 AM PST by Cronos (Kto jestem? Nie wiem! Ale moj Bog wie!)
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To: Ripliancum; Gamecock
Mosiah 3:19

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
Interesting -- so does Mormonism share the same Calvinist belief in the Total Depravity of mankind?
42 posted on 12/27/2010 3:45:55 AM PST by Cronos (Kto jestem? Nie wiem! Ale moj Bog wie!)
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To: Gamecock; Mr Rogers
1. Mr. R never claimed that Gen 4 was the Gospels.
6The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” - Gen 4
2. Why do you reject Revelations by saying "It is not an evangelistic verse"
43 posted on 12/27/2010 3:49:10 AM PST by Cronos (Kto jestem? Nie wiem! Ale moj Bog wie!)
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To: Cronos
Interesting — so does Mormonism share the same Calvinist belief in the Total Depravity of mankind?
______________________________________________________________________

No. It's not the same thing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Calvinism professes predestination, total depravity and unconditional election.
Mormonism professes free agency, no original sin, and children who are alive in Christ and unspotted from the world until they reach the age of accountability.

I would recommend reading Moroni 8. Here's a snip.

8 Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

9 And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.

10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.

12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world;...

http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/8?lang=eng

44 posted on 12/27/2010 7:53:53 AM PST by Ripliancum ("For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" Merry Christmas!)
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To: Cronos
The PCA is now freeling choosing to ordain women deacons

Freeling? Do you mean freely? Actually they are, as far as I know, studying the issue.

I would however, submit to you that the ordination of women as Deacons is far less serious than ordaining homosexuals like the Catholic Church does, and certainly less damaging than the criminal conspiracy of moving child molesting priest from one parish to another unsuspecting one...

and also free will debates on Federal Vision

Which has, BTW, been declared a heresy.

45 posted on 12/27/2010 9:34:07 AM PST by Gamecock (The resurrection of Jesus Christ is both historically credible and existentially satisfying. T.K.)
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To: Ripliancum
Thank you. But your excerpt from Mosiah said For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, which must mean Original Sin, correct? and and will be, forever and ever, would mean Total Depravity, correct?
46 posted on 12/27/2010 12:05:46 PM PST by Cronos (Kto jestem? Nie wiem! Ale moj Bog wie!)
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To: Gamecock
No, I meant freeling :-P

Sorry, was busy trying to get SciFi channel to re-start the Farscape series and got lost in that language!

The Church doesn't ordain a person who says he's a homo and has always checked that those with such tendencies do not join -- this was lax in the 50s but the checks are far more rigourous now since JPII

But, seriously -- if you do not believe in free will, how do you freely choose to have Women Deacons in the PCA? Isn't that against St. Paul?
47 posted on 12/27/2010 12:09:33 PM PST by Cronos (Kto jestem? Nie wiem! Ale moj Bog wie!)
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To: Leftism is Mentally Deranged
We have free will. Some people freely choose evil and others freely choose good.

Man is free to choose as he will the question is can he will what he can not do?

48 posted on 12/27/2010 12:26:44 PM PST by RnMomof7 (Gal 4:16 asks "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?")
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To: Mr Rogers

Did Christ die for

1. All the sins of all men.
2. All the sins of some men, or
3. Some of the sins of all men.


49 posted on 12/27/2010 12:51:49 PM PST by RnMomof7 (Gal 4:16 asks "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?")
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To: Cronos

I think we have a very different idea of what original sin means.

As a Mormon, I believe that because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, all people live in a fallen condition, separated from God and subject to physical death. However, we are not condemned by what many call the “original sin.” In other words, we are not accountable for Adam’s transgression in the Garden of Eden.

Our articles of faith address this head on.
“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression” (Articles of Faith 1:2).

As to “Total Depravity”, no. The atonement of Christ as an eternal necessity, eternally balancing justice and mercy. This in contrast to the sectarian view of the catastrophic fall and total depravity of man, sometimes juxtaposed with the sectarian doctrine of Ultimate Reconciliation.

Hope that makes sense.


50 posted on 12/27/2010 2:28:48 PM PST by Ripliancum ("For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" Merry Christmas!)
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