The Instigator
drcokeley
Pro (for)
Losing
26 Points
The Contender
InquireTruth
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points

Total Depravity

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/19/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,544 times Debate No: 10762
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (24)
Votes (14)

 

drcokeley

Pro

I must first declare that I am, generally speaking, a Reformed Augustinian with enough respect for John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and John Piper to which much of this topic arrives. Also most of these ideas are not my own but a collection taking from reading that I have done and, as you may very well see, is taking directly from the Bible.

Total depravity does not mean we are utterly depraved. because we could do evil with greater degree and frequency if we were not made with a conscience as God's image bearers and if the restraining power of the Holy Spirit and the rule of such things as governmental law were lifted. Total depravity does mean, however, that we are totally sinful---our entire person is marred by sin. This includes the mind(Eph. 4:18), the will(Rom. 6:16-17), the emotions(Titus 3:3), and the physical body(Rom 8:10). Subsequently, everyone is a sinner whose inclination is to live for the glory of anyone and anything other than God(Ps. 29.2; Rom. 3:23; 11:36; 16:27) and is altogether incapable of doing even "good" things for the purpose of pleasing and glorifying God.(Matt. 7:17-18; Rom. 8:7-8) As the church father Augustine has sad, "Man has options, but those options are all sinful in nature. He is free to choose, but merely to engage in one sin rather than another." (1)

The Bible is emphatically clear that our sin is so pervasive that left to ourselves not one person could or would pursue or choose Jesus Christ:

"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."-Gen. 6:5

"The intention of man's heart is evil from his youth."-Gen. 8:21

"For there is no one who does not sin."-2 Chron. 6:36

"The hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead."-Eccl. 9:3

"The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies."-Ps. 58:3

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned---every one----to his own way."-Isa. 53:6

"The natural person does no accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."-1 Cor. 2:14

"And you were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh..."-Col. 2:13

Many more include: John 8:34, 8:43-44; Rom. 3:10-18, 6:20, 8:7; Eph. 2:1-3, 4:1-19; Phil. 3:18; Titus 1:15, 3:3; 1 John 5:19

Clearly, the Bible says that every person without exception turns his or her back on God and is unrighteous, foolish, lost, at war with God, and spiritually dead. Though physically alive, the Bible says the we are not merely sick from sin but spiritually dead in that we are as inclined toward and capable of seeking God as a dead corpse is inclined and able to run a marathon. By way of analogy, Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says that unrepentant sinners are "dead in the trespasses and sins" and, as such, are akin to Lazarus who was dead and buried. Lazarus was not seeking Jesus, reaching out to Jesus, or doing anything, because he was physically dead in the same way that sinners are spiritually dead apart from the work of God. Yet, Jesus came to Lazarus and called him forth to new life physically in the same way he does for us spiritually, and one day he will do so physically---on the day of our bodily resurrection.

As the church father Augustine said, "God does not choose us because we believe, but that we may believe."(2)

(1) Augustine, Against Two Letters of the Pelagians 1.5; 3.24
(2) Augustine, Predestination of the Saints 17.34
InquireTruth

Con

I'm sorry for such the long delay. There are a number of reasons it has taken me so long - from priorities to laziness - lack of an argument, however, is not one of them.

Along with the theological and philosophical problems with the doctrine of Total Depravity, is the overt absence of biblical precedence. The Bible certainly teaches that man is devastatingly wrought with sin. The Bible does NOT on the other hand, teach that man is incapable of accepting salvation. The Bible teaches that faith is man's gift to God.

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Philosophical Argument:
==============

The problem I have with total depravity is that it creates a scenario in which God seems to be a malevolent and unfair Father. Is there any present day father that we would call just and fair, if he put his daughter in a situation where she had absolutely no opportunity to succeed, absolutely no outcome other than failure—in addition, the father is aware of the outcome and has even created the scenario and deliberately puts his child into it—and when she fails, he holds her 100% accountable for that failure. I find this hard to reconcile with the God that IS love in 1 John 5. I find this hard to reconcile this with the God who wants all people to come to the understanding of Him in 1 Timothy 2:3-7. How do we reconcile this with a God who calls all people, everywhere to repent in Acts 17:30—has he not made it incapable for them repent?

Total Depravity is marked by a total inability to come to God. Because, like my opponent affirms, we are dead in our sins.

==============
Biblical Argument:
==============

Romans 10:17: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

James 1:21: Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Isaiah1:18: "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Deuteronomy 30:19: This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

Joshua 24:15: But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Psalm 119:30, 173: For I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws..... May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.

John 1:12: Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

2 Timothy 1:12: That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

These verses illustrate how man is both expected and does, in fact, choose the way of righteousness.

==============
Response To My Opponent's Verses:
==============

Genesis 6:5
Response: What do we find though? In Genesis 6:9 it says, "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God." How is this possible given that Noah was dead in sin?

Genesis 8:21
Response: Yes, man has evil proclivities, but can we not choose better for ourselves? This seems to be illustrating man's sinful nature and not man's total inability. If it were, what would be the point of Jesus saying, "Be perfect, therefore, Just like your father in heaven is perfect."

2 Chronicles 6:36
Response: Man sins, yes, but that does not mean he is totally unable to accept grace and forgiveness. Just look at Noah who was blameless or Moses who was guiltless or Lot who was righteous and without fault.

Ecclesiastes 9:3
Response: This is poetry. Are you equally willing to say that everything is meaningless?

Psalms 58:3
Response: Hyperbole common of poetry. Ezekiel 18:20 teaches that we do not bare the sins of our fathers. Moreover, why would Jesus say that anyone who enters the kingdom of heaven must do so like a child (this seems to connote that children are innocent and non-culpable creatures).

Isaiah 53:6
Response: This is either hyperbole or false. What of Elijah who was taken up to heaven? What of Enoch who was also taken up to heaven because he lived righteously?

1 Corinthians 2:14
Response: This does not teach total depravity.

Colossians 2:13
Response: This teaches that sin leads, and in fact is, spiritual death.

The problem with comparing literal deadness with spiritual deadness is that it is a disanalogy. We remain conscious beings, beings capable of choice when we are in sin. Essentially, being dead in our sins means that we have yet to accept salvation and are consequently hellbound. As was illustrated above, Paul himself knew that his acceptance of Christ was based on his choice ("because I know whom I have believed").
Debate Round No. 1
drcokeley

Pro

First there are to many topics to touch on throughout this debate so I will try and hit the most pertinent. Also thanks for the response and I look forward to hearing more on the subject.

You stated "The Bible teaches that faith is man's gift to God." This is un-biblical on many levels.

Jesus declares "no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father." (John 6:65) In the same passage Jesus declares: " all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me." (John 6:37) In both verses the phrase "come to Me" simply means "believe in Me" and so taken together Jesus is stating that no one can believe in Him unless God grants it. Another one of God's gift to us is faith not the other way around.

Faith is not the product of an unregenerated human nature. If a person becomes humble enough to submit to God it is because the Holy Spirit has given that person a new, humble nature ... not because some men are more humble than others. It was not by chance that one person believed the gospel and not the other, nor was it because one had some innate virtue that the other lacked. It is grace and grace ALONE that makes men to differ, not the exertion of men's wills.

The problem with us "giving" faith as a gift to God is that is reverses the role and becomes about us and not about God. In the end when we stand before a holy and completely righteous God and He asks why we should be allowed to enter heaven, there is one answer: Jesus. Then when he asks and why did YOU choose Jesus and not your parents ( for the sake of argument, I do not know the hearts of your parents) are you going to say it was because I'm smarter, more humble, I had more faith than them, etc....

Anything more than completely falling prostrate and through pain and tears, saying, "By YOUR grace Alone have I been chosen", would be the pinnacle of pride and arrogance.

***Response to philosophical argument***

Is God unjust to choose some people for salvation and not others? God is completely just and fair to send us all to hell. We have all chosen to go our own way and therefore we have all chosen hell. God has taken ill-deserving not just undeserving people and given them grace to believe and grace for salvation.

All of Romans 9 repeats this. And Paul is not talking about countries or nations but individual people.

Romans 3:9-10 and 18. "I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: None is righteous, no not one; no one seeks for God....There is no fear of God before their eyes." Since no one is righteous (yes even Noah, more on that later) we all deserve hell. This is what makes Jesus so good. God is love as you have said and does desire all to repent but in His infinite Sovereignty has chosen "some" overriding their "will" to continually sin and choose hell. If anyone should be complaining it is the Christian who should complain. God overrode our "free will" choice of hell and grabbed us to join Him eternally in Heaven.

Let me give an example:

A family lived off a busy street in which after 20 feet of property followed a sidewalk and then four lanes of nearly constant traffic. One day when the front door was opened the young daughter started running toward the street. The father quickly grabbed her and explained that it was dangerous and was never to run away from them again. She didn't fully understand and thought it was fun that her daddy would chase her.

Another day later they were packing her younger brother into the car when she turned and bolted towards the busy street. She was exercising her free will and made her own decision for her life. In panic, the father cried out to her, "Come back!" "Stop!", essentially preaching repentance to her, pleading for her to turn around and return to her daddy. She foolishly did not respond and had a smile on her face and a look in her eye thinking that she was playing a game and not seeing the death awaiting her.

The father saw a large truck coming down the road and since there was a car parked in front of their house it could not see the little girl running towards the street. He closed in on her just as she stepped into the lane of the oncoming truck. She was a few steps into the street when he grabbed her by the back of her vest and literally pulled her out of the way of the truck. With one arm, he reached out and overrode the free-will decision of his daughter and saved her. He did this because his love for her is more important than her free will.

Tragically I have heard a well known Christian explain that the reformed view of God is as being a rapist rather than a lover because God overrides the free will of some people. This is deeply saddening because rapists are not the only people who impose their will on others; sometimes so do loving fathers who want their kids to live. They reach out their hand to ensure they are saved from death.

***Response to Biblical arguments and notes of my own***

Romans 10:17---- Before the foundation of the world God "chose" or "elected" some--- when the word is heard, the massive move of the Holy Spirit gives us faith. God works first.

Isaiah1:18----This IS God's grace at work which causes us to believe. He did the work first not us.

Psalm 119:30, 173 ---- This is coming from an adulteress murderer. Who experienced God's grace firsthand knowing that he was not worthy of God. David knew his depravity and delighted that God rescued him.

Ecclesiastes 9:3 ----- I would go on to say that everything is meaningless apart from Jesus. As he said what good is it that a man gains the whole world yet loses his soul? --- meaningless

2 Timothy 1:12 ---- Paul wrote the most on the election of God. He is the greatest case of it ever. He didn't choose to follow God. He was forced into it by the grace of God. Jesus literally had to come down from his thrown to punch Paul in the face and say, "Your going to follow ME now". This would be the equivalent of Osama Bin Laden showing up at your house church and saying, "I've been saved, lets all huddle and pray now". You would pray with one eye open.

You said, "These verses illustrate how man is both expected and does, in fact, choose the way of righteousness."---- Once again this is turning it around to be about us and not about God. Again, "None is righteous, no not one; no one seeks for God....There is no fear of God before their eyes."

***Noah***

God is completely just to say, "No one is righteous, all deserve condemnation, I will send a flood and be done with human beings, I am sick of the rebellion and their folly." But instead He begins with one man...Noah. Noah at this point is not a great man, and he still is going to blow it after God loves, chooses, elects him.

See when we look at Genesis 6:8 we see that Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. This word favor is the Hebrew word for grace. This was unmerited ill-deserving grace. This is God doing good to those who are evil, like you and I. See what happens is we read the story and go, "What was so special about Noah?".....Nothing!!! Noah is not the special one, God is. Noah is not the good one, God is. Noah is just as bad as everyone else on the earth at that time, and God looks down on Noah and decides to love him, be good to him, pursuit him, forgive him, change him, and bless him. God gifted him righteousness as He has us through Jesus. God made him "blameless" by forgiving his sin as He does for us through Jesus. This doesn't mean that he is perfect, he later goes on by getting drunk and passing out naked in his tent. Something like what the people do in Newberg. That is how our God works. It is absolutely amazing.

This is why we shouldn't be smug like religious people and say, "Oh, God picked me not you. I have merit and you apparently don't." Noah shows us that there is hope for even the worst of us because God had to destroy the earth because it was so bad.
InquireTruth

Con

Introduction:

You are a very funny man Dr. Cokeley and I am glad that we can debate this subject in such a forum. It has become abundantly clear that your argument for Total Depravity rests on your adherence to the other points of TULIP (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints). So with this current round I will do my best to dismantle not only your position on Total Depravity, but your position on all the others for which your position is founded. Eliminating both the structure and the foundation on which it's built should be sufficient in destroying your argument - if not sufficient to even change your mind!

On Faith:

Now you are under the impression that faith being man's gift to God is unbiblical. That could not be further from the truth. Hebrews 11 is most commonly called the "Faith" chapter of the Bible. The Faith chapter teaches that faith "is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." It goes on to say that the "ancients were commended" for this faith. This chapter teaches that faith is something that we give to God. [1]

Furthermore, God commands choice in Deuteronomy 30:11-20. Why would God plead for his children to choose life if He knows that none can?

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus invites all who are weary to come to him. But this forces the question, why would Jesus make such an invitation if none could actually go to him?

Moreover, in John 15, the parable of the Vine, we are told to ABIDE in Christ. In fact, if we DO NOT abide in Christ and bear fruit, we will be cut off. This teaches that we as Christians are responsible for our faith in Christ. If faith was something that GOD did, how is it possible that people fall away from faith (more on this later)?

Philosophical Argument:

You'll find that you have not actually answered the philosophical argument at all. In fact, you asserted that "We have all chosen to go our own way and therefore we have all chosen hell." Now, pray tell, if we have no opportunity to choose heaven, how are we responsible for choosing hell? For instance, If I put you in a situation where failure was not only likely, but certain, could it be reasonably said that you CHOSE to fail? How could it? You had absolutely no possibility to the contrary.

Let me phrase it this way: If God is able to give all people the opportunity for salvation but does not—why call him loving? If God wants all people to have the opportunity but is not able, then He is not omnipotent. If He is both unwilling and unable, then why call Him God?

Total Depravity:

Perhaps when Jesus extorts his followers to enter through the narrow gate, he really believes that they have the choice to do so.[1] Perhaps the God who desires all people to be saved[2] has, through the enlightenment of all people[3], made it possible. Or is James, brother of Jesus, fundamentally wrong when he insists that people choose to go the way of the world?[4] Was Joshua utterly deceived by thinking that he or anybody else could actually choose to serve God?[5] According to the points of Calvinism, nobody chooses anything—all people are born depraved and enemies of God. If we cannot choose God, how then can we choose to be enemies of Him? It seems John has made the same error as James and Joshua in concluding that people can actually choose to do God's will.

Unconditional Election:

Your notion of Total Depravity is wholly dependent on your view of Unconditional Election - the idea that God chooses who will be saved. If human beings do not contribute anything to salvation, why then does Paul so ignorantly boast that because of him many praised God?[8] Why would Paul so arrogantly try to convince people about the veracity of Jesus[9] if he knew that people are not convinced—they are chosen? Why would he argue so persuasively about the kingdom of God[10] if he knew nobody could be persuaded - they could only be chosen? Why is it that so many people believed as a direct result of the preaching of the Gospel?[11] If man contributes nothing to salvation then why are we called to share the good news?[12] What purpose will that fulfill?

Limited Atonement:

Salvation is a gift, on that I hope we can agree. Now if God chooses those who will be saved, then it is impossible to believe in unlimited atonement (that Jesus died for all people). By way of analogy, imagine that I buy a gift for my wife. However, when I buy this gift I actually have absolutely no intention of actually giving the gift to her. It stands to reason that a gift is only a gift if it is bought with the intention of giving it. If God never planned on choosing you, then what was the point of dying for you?

John makes it clear that whoever believes God allows them to become children of God.[23] So do we all have the ability to draw near to God and accept His grace? The Calvinist would say no. But if God really wants all to come to repentance[24] why should we imagine that he did not make it possible for all to do so? This is where limited atonement comes into play. If God really gave His son as a ransom for all men[25], and he really loved the whole world that he gave His only son[26], why would we think that he only died for our sins? He must have also died for the sins of the whole world.[27] And if it is true that Christ died for the sins of the whole world, he must also draw all men to himself.[28] That means if Christ died for all men and draws them, then all men can die with Christ and choose to live for Him.[29] Jesus' death on the cross was absolutely universally sufficient, it was not however, universally efficient.[30] That is to say, it is only limited in regards to the fact that not all men will respond. But all men CAN respond.[31] Are you not convinced that since through Adam sin condemned the whole world that through the second Adam all men can be redeemed?[32] Or was the fall greater than the redemption? Do you really think that Christ's precious water is not open to all who wish?[33]

Perseverance of the Saints:

I'll have to skip Irresistible Grace due to space restrictions. If it is true that God chooses us for salvation and that faith is something that God does and not man, then we will have to reconcile that with the fact that the Bible teaches that man can lose his salvation. How is that possible if salvation is something unilaterally done on God's side of the isle?
If God's chosen will be irresistibly drawn and persevere to the end, why does the author of Hebrews insist that those who have been enlightened can fall?[34] Why does Jesus insist that his followers can fall away from their faith?[35] Why does Peter insist that those who have been saved by the knowledge Christ are in a worse position than a nonbeliever if they fall away[36] (why would Peter say that if it indeed were not possible) ?

So it is abundantly clear to me that the process of salvation requires both man and creator. God wants genuine love, so He requires a genuine free willing response to His grace.

Conclusion:

I'll have to respond to your critiques in my following round.

Sources:
[1] Hebrews 11
[2] Matthew 7:13-14
[3] 1 Timothy 2:4
[4] John 1:9
[5] James 4:4
[6] Joshua 24:15
[7] John 7:17
[8] Galatians 1:24
[9] Acts 28:23
[10] Acts 19:8
[11] Acts 4:4; Acts 9:42 ; Acts 17:12 ; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:18 ; Acts 21:20 ; etc.
[12] Matthew 28:19-20
[13] Genesis 4:4
[14] Genesis 6:9
[15] Job 1:1
[16] Romans 3:23
[17] Isaiah 53:6
[18] 2 Samuel 22:24
[19] Genesis 4:7
[20] Hebrews 10:22 . Hebrews 4:16 Hebrews 7:25 . Hebrews 11:
[21] James 4:8
[22] Psalms 18:25
[23] John 1:12
[24] 2 Peter 3:9
[25] 1 Timothy 2:6
[26] John 3:16
[27] 1 John 2:2
[28] John 12:32
[29] 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
[30] 1 Timothy 4:10
[31] Matthew 11:28
[32] Romans 5:18
[33] Revelation 22:17
[34] Hebrews 6:4-6
[35] Matthew 24:10
[36] 2 Peter 2:20-21
Debate Round No. 2
drcokeley

Pro

I do like TULIP--- it is rooted Biblically but completely misunderstood by many.

On Faith: Faith is a gift from God and not generated by people.

Heb 12:2 says "...Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith". And Rom 12:3 says " ... God has allotted to each a measure of faith." These two verses clearly tell us that faith is not something that we do or a presence of mind that we develop, but that faith is a gift from God. Rom 10:17 says " ... faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ." In 2 Cor 10:15 we see that faith can grow, so as we study the Bible God can add to our faith. God is doing the work not us.

Rom 5:1 says, " ... justified by faith" and Rom 4:5 says, " ... his faith is counted as righteousness". We clearly see from these verses that faith is not of our doing for that would be a works based salvation and we know from Eph 2:8,9 that salvation is surely not from works. However Eph 2:8 says something else that I never hear proclaimed and that is "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." In Eph 2:8 the "it" refers back to faith which is consistent with Rom 12:3 and the other scriptures above and nobody ever talks about that. Faith is a gift from God. Rom 3:28 also says, " ... a man is justified by faith."If we must muster up our own faith then justification is by works and again we know that is not correct. We also see in Heb 12:2 that " ...Jesus is the author and perfecter of faith." which fits in nicely with Jesus that He is not only the author -- the originator of faith --; He is also the one who perfects it in us.

So we see that faith is a free gift from God and comes to us at our salvation (Rom 5:1 and Rom 4:5). The problem with simply surface reading Hebrews 11 and counting it as us who gives faith, we miss out on how good God really is to ill-deserving people.

Jesus said love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. ---- We don't.... in fact we can't. See God makes many statements knowing that on our own we won't and actually can't apart from Him pursuing, choosing, and changing us first.

Philosophical argument:

I affirm with John 3:16 and 1 Timothy 2:4 that God loves the world with a deep compassion that desires the salvation of all men. Yet I also affirm that God has chosen from before the foundation of the world whom he will save from sin. Since not all people are saved we must choose whether we believe (with the Arminians) that God's will to save all people is restrained by his commitment to human self-determination or whether we believe (with the Calvinists) that God's will to save all people is restrained by his commitment to the glorification of his sovereign grace (Ephesians 1:6,12,14; Romans 9:22-23). This is not easy to understand and I admit that I sometimes get headaches.

On Total Depravity:
Man's depravity is total in at least four senses.

(1) Our rebellion against God is total. Apart from the grace of God there is no delight in the holiness of God, and there is no glad submission to the sovereign authority of God.

Of course totally depraved men can be very religious and very philanthropic. They can pray and give alms and fast, as Jesus said (Matthew 6:1-18). But their very religion is rebellion against the rights of their Creator.

It is a myth that man in his natural state is genuinely seeking God. Men do seek God. But they do not seek him for who he is. They seek him in a pinch as one who might preserve them from death or enhance their worldly enjoyments. Apart from conversion, no one comes to the light of God.

Some do come to the light. But listen to what John 3:20-21 says, "Every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God."

There are those who come to the light -- namely those whose deeds are the work of God. "Wrought in God" means worked by God. Apart from this gracious work of God all men hate the light of God and will not come to him lest their evil be exposed -- this is total rebellion. "No one seeks for God...There is no fear of God before their eyes!"

(2) In his total rebellion everything man does is sin.

In Romans 14:23 Paul says, "Whatever is not from faith is sin." Therefore, if all men are in total rebellion, everything they do is the product of rebellion and cannot be an honor to God, but only part of their sinful rebellion. If a king teaches his subjects how to fight well and then those subjects rebel against their king and use the very skill he taught them to resist him, then even those skills become evil.

In Romans 7:18 Paul says, "I know that no good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh." This is a radical confession of the truth that in our rebellion nothing we think or feel is good. It is all part of our rebellion. The fact that Paul qualifies his depravity with the words, "that is, in my flesh," shows that he is willing to affirm the good of anything that the Spirit of God produces in him (Romans 15:18).

(3) Man's inability to submit to God and do good is total.

The "mind of the flesh" is the mind of man apart from the indwelling Spirit of God ("You are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you," Romans 8:9). So natural man has a mindset that does not and cannot submit to God. Man cannot reform himself.

(4) Our rebellion is totally deserving of eternal punishment.

Ephesians 2:3 goes on to say that in our deadness we were "children of wrath." That is, we were under God's wrath because of the corruption of our hearts that made us as good as dead before God.

In summary, total depravity means that our rebellion against God is total, everything we do in this rebellion is sin, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.

It is hard to exaggerate the importance of admitting our condition to be this bad. If we think of ourselves as basically good or even less than totally at odds with God, our grasp of the work of God in redemption will be defective. But if we humble ourselves under this terrible truth of our total depravity, we will be in a position to see and appreciate the glory and wonder of the work of God.

On losing faith ---- We do not lose our salvation. ---- it is not a "fact" that the bible teaches we can lose our salvation.

In 2 Peter he is talking a doctrines from false teachers.... that they speak "puke", then the congregation eats it as well as the "pastor", they go home and throw up some puke and then eat it again and feed it to their kids. That's gross.....exactly.

The question arises did they lose their salvation? No. Jesus said no one could snatch us out of His hand. What Peter is saying in vs. 21 is that its like a pig, you can wash up a pig, and afterwords its still a pig who then goes back to the mud. There was no rebirth, no regeneration, there is no new nature. You can take a non-christian and get them to come to church, stop cussing, drinking, smoking, doing evil and injustice. But as soon as your done cleaning them up they go back into the "mud" because they haven't had a change in the deep fundamental essence of who they are. Too many people are trying to live a new life as an old pig. They are not a sheep, they are a pig.

Religion is all about cleaning people up, just getting pigs out of the mud so they can go back into the mud. Jesus is about changing us so that in our deepest inner part we want to serve and love Him. What is happening here is apostasy and is different than "losing" salvation. And to say that it is anything short of devastating is an understatement.

On Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace , and Perseverance of the Saints--- i have no more room. =P
InquireTruth

Con

INTRODUCTION:

It's rather unfortunate that you think so highly of TULIP - given that it is not only a largely unfounded systematic theology, but it is hopelessly devoid of the characteristics of God that are so categorically present in the Bible (e.g. Love and Justice). Nevertheless, I will use this final round to respond directly to some criticisms raised in both your round 2 and 3.

WHENCE COMETH THIS FAITH?

In this part of the debate my opponent utilizes selective reading - insofar as he uses less clear parts of the Bible to support a point that is clearly refuted by other parts of the Bible. For example, when I gave numerous examples of Biblical figures both choosing to have faith and/or teaching that faith is the product of man, my opponent cites Ephesians 2:8, which clearly refers to grace being a gift, not faith. Or Hebrews 12:2, where it says Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, is referring to how Jesus is the REASON for our faith. This sort of selective reading is disingenuous to the text. In the very same passage, the author of Hebrews warns us not to turn away from our faith (Hebrews 12:25). Moreover, if the faith is not OURS, inasmuch as it was not a property of our will, then why is it referred to as a property of human will? Why is it that we have the ability to turn away from it? Hebrews teaches the following:

"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because[b]to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." Hebrews 6:4-6

ON NOAH

My opponent has either not read the text, or is deliberately oversimplifying its nuances in order to better fit within a bias. He kept saying that Noah was horrible and was ill-deserving of this unmerited grace. BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS. In fact, my opponent is clearly reading that INTO the text. The Bible clearly says, "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God." The Hebrew word, Tamiyd (translated as blameless), means perfect, without spot, without blemish or undefiled.[1] It is this Hebrew word that makes my opponent's whole argument null. Noah was perfect among the people of his time! But it does not stop there, because Job was also blameless.[2] But the problems continue, because Enoch also walked with God and was taken straight to heaven because of it.[3] Elijah too, because of his righteousness, was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire![4]

The idea that people are totally unable to come to God is, according to the Bible, verifiably untrue.

PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM

"I affirm with John 3:16 and 1 Timothy 2:4 that God loves the world with a deep compassion that desires the salvation of all men. "

You have, one again, failed to respond to the relevant points. How is it loving for a Father to create a situation for his children in which there is no possibility for success, only failure. And when they do, in fact, fail, he holds them 100% accountable for that failure!

If you truly affirm that God loves the whole world, and has also died for all men in it ("He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:2), then you must recognize the absurdity in saying that, though he desires them all and has died for them all, he does not allow all the ability to receive the gift. You have made the fall so much greater than the redemption - and it's deeply disconcerting. For Jesus teaches that he not only died for all, but that he DRAWS ALL: "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."[5]

Most troubling also, is the fact that you think man somehow deserves hell under Total Depravity. But it is only under my view that man deserves hell - insofar as he has the POSSIBLITY of choosing to the contrary, and, unfortunately, does not. How can someone be held responsible for something that they had no ability NOT to do? Would you yell at a blind man for being born blind? Would you get angry at a child for being born? If man is totally incapable of NOT sinning, then man is not to blame for that which he cannot control.

LOSING FAITH:

Yes, it is a Biblical fact that people can reject/lose salvation.

2 Peter was talking about those who have "escaped" the world by "knowing our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." If they then turn their backs on Jesus, it would have been better for them never to have believed at all...what does that tell you?

Moreover, Jesus taught that: "If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."[6]

Jesus talks more about how me must persevere in OUR faith:
"At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."[7]

Why are Gods prophets pleading with us to change our ways or follow God's decrees if we have no will to do so? Why would God command his people to follow the path of life and follow his decrees if he knew they could not? Why would Christ insist that it is the few that find the path and not the path that finds the few? Why would Christ make a call for the heavy-laden to come? If God's chosen will be irresistibly drawn and persevere to the end, why does the author of Hebrews insist that those who have been enlightened can fall?[8] Why does James believe that believers can wander from the truth?[9] Did John get Jesus' words correctly; will the branches that were once part of the true vine (Christ) be cut off and thrown away if they do not bear fruit?[10] Can a believer really shipwreck their faith as Paul insists?[11] Does Paul really believe that we could be cut off from the Christ like so many Jews were?[12] Jesus makes it very clear that some people, who do believe, in times of testing can fall away.[13]

CONCLUSION:

Thank you for debating this subject with me Doctor and I hope that we can have another debate in the near future. It became clear that we both had far too much to say in far too little space.

Sources:
[1] Strong's 8549
[2] Job 1:1
[3] Genesis 5:24
[4] 2 Kings 2:11
[5] John 12:32
[6] John 15:6
[7] Matthew 24:10-12
[8] Hebrews 6:4-6 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
[9] James 5:19-20 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
[10] John 15:6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
[11] 1 Timothy 1:19 …have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.
[12] Romans 11:22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
[13] Luke 8:13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
Debate Round No. 3
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
I agree. Heaven is for sinners. Though take note that Jesus was righteous, meaning that there was at least one who WAS righteous (that's how we know it was probably hyperbole... Either that or all the Old Testament's ascriptions of righteousness are incorrect).
Posted by drcokeley 6 years ago
drcokeley
"The righteousness of a righteous man will credited to him".... again I say no one is righteous, not one. Jesus is our gifted righteousness, our propitiation for our absolute wickedness. You are correct in that we do not inherit the sins before us as to be somewhat held accountable for them. But we most definately do inherit the effects of sin before us which makes us all the more marred, stained, and bent towards sin and death.
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
You are quoting me with the assumption that I contradict the notion of original sin. This means that I probably disagree with your version of it. Ezekiel 18:20 says, "The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him."

We do not inherit the sins of those before us. What we DO inherit from those before us is a sin NATURE - that is, a predilection to sin.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Can you elaborate a bit?
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
Probably your version of it.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
"Ezekiel 18:20 teaches that we do not bare the sins of our fathers. Moreover, why would Jesus say that anyone who enters the kingdom of heaven must do so like a child (this seems to connote that children are innocent and non-culpable creatures)."

Do you disagree with the doctrine of original sin?
Posted by nickthengineer 7 years ago
nickthengineer
I resonate KRFournier's remarks. Both seemed to present strong Biblical support for their side. Being the strong Bible believer that I am, I don't quite see this as a contradiction. Although logically it seems that one of these sides HAS to be right (as they are polar opposites), perhaps there really isn't an absolute truth to this one...

At any rate, to anyone who fears that they may not be one of the "chosen", the mere fact that you CARE about whether you are one of the chosen shows that in fact you ARE being drawn by God and that you absolutely CAN be sure of your salvation if you come to know Christ. I think that's the big point to take away from this subject; the rest is quite technical and need not divide Christians.
Posted by drcokeley 7 years ago
drcokeley
Yuanti:Thanks for the comments!

The problem with what you are saying is that we are all children of God....that isn't true. Only the "elect" are adopted into the family and considered to be children of God. The Bible cleary states that we were considered "children of wrath" before we became adopted into the family by God's grace. So as my analogy points God in His sovereign grace and choice has chosen to save some of these "children of wrath" running towards death without even know it. This is not rape in any way shape or form. This is love.

Also I will firmly stand by what the Bible teaches in that it repeatedly states we are "dead spiritually", "dead in our trespasses". A dead corpse does nothing.... in fact it can't. A dead spirit cannot bring forth life. Only God calls us and wakens our spirit to hear. Who God gave to Jesus will come to Jesus. Believing is coming to Jesus and Jesus will not lose those who come to Him. The bible ( since it was inspired by the Holy Spirit) could have easily said we were drowning in our trespasses and iniquities like your analogy, but it didn't. It could have said that we were spiritually drowning or asleep, but again it didn't. I'm not reading into the Bible as many people point out I am simply stating what it says. That we were DEAD. Just like in my argument, Lazarus was called forth and came to Jesus. I think a lot is going on here which is why Jesus uses such terms. I really do encourage you to listen to the series I posted on an earlier comment. I too was like you and adamantly denied any Calvinist claim. But over the years and intense study I have changed. "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him, in the midst of tragedy not prosperity" Amen
Posted by Yuanti 7 years ago
Yuanti
Bah character limit.

Secondly, the father doesn't have one daughter running into traffic (if we continue with your analogy) but 6 billion. He also has the capability of saving all 6 billion but chooses not to. Loving father? Again, I don't think this description could be applied to such a father (as IT has attested).

I, as you can imagine, am not a Calvinist and vehemently deny the veracity of their claim. I mean no disrespect to you personally (if any is taken be sure that it is 100% not intended) and wish you luck in (future) debates on this subject or others.
Posted by Yuanti 7 years ago
Yuanti
First, a good debate drcokeley! If you plan on continuing on on the debate site than I would encourage you to adopt a format similar to IT. I find his debates (and other prevalent debaters on the site) to be the easiest on the eyes.

I would have to agree with IT on this subject (as my vote indicates). I believe that Calvinists read a lot into the text and stretch the meaning of verses to far. I do not think God has presented (and repeated again and again until we are numb from hearing) a false choice for us. We, indeed, can repent.

I think it is a false statement when a Calvinist says that those who choose God can flaunt "their merit" over those who do not. How could a drowning man flaunt his ability to grab the only rope presented to him to save himself? That drowning man would fall at the feet of the person who rescued him (thinking nothing of himself) and set himself to the task of aiding the saving of others.

As for the Calvinist depiction of God being a rapist - simply stating that this statement makes you sad doesn't deny its truth. Forced love (or intimacy) is, in fact, rape. Can we call the Calvinist God evil for doing so? No, for He is the measure of all good. That being said, it still remains a very unsettling thought.

You also told a story of a daughter running into traffic and her father saving her against her will. This would be a valid analogy if not for the fact that God has presented the truth of our predicament again and again throughout history. Consider the Hebrew Prophets taken into enemy territory (or sent there by God) to warn the people. The whole world centered around those regions and prophet after prophet wrote to tell the people to repent or God would destroy them. Humanity, unlike the daughter in your story, is fully capable of understanding, or at least imagining, the horror of their predicament.

Secondly, the Father doesn't have one daughter running in to traffic (if we continue with your analogy) but 6 billion.
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro presented scriptures that can only be interpreted one way, while Con presented ambiguous passages. The most reliable way to interpret scripture, is to use the clear passages to understand the others. Pro successfully reconciled all of Con passages to the doctrine of Total peravity, while Con merely attempted to provide obsticles; ones that were smoothly overcome.
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