14 January 2008

I'm Fallen, and I Can't Get Up!

by Phil Johnson

Later this week, I'll follow up on last Friday's post and the question of what it means to glorify Christ in all we do. Since I was mostly missing in the comment thread, I want to give my response to the comments in a new post on the issue. But I'm too fatigued from the weekend to crank that subject up again first thing, so it'll just have to wait. In the meantime, here's an introductory post on another tough issue I want to deal with over the next week or two:

t seems the doctrines that pertain to human sin are generally some of the hardest doctrines for people to understand and embrace—particularly the doctrines of original sin and universal depravity. Of all the doctrines taught in Scripture about the nature of humanity, the one doctrine that comes under attack more than any other is the Bible's teaching that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, that we inherited a sinful nature from Adam, and that it means we are completely helpless to redeem ourselves from the condemnation of God.

To paraphrase Mrs. Fletcher, we're fallen, and we can't get up.

Those ideas run counter to every other religion man has ever devised. People want to believe they are basically good, that they can be good enough to please God, and that if they just set their hearts and minds to do good, they can redeem themselves from their own sin.

People don't want to believe that Adam's sin put the whole human race in a spiritually hopeless state. They don't want to admit that they are sinful to the very core of their beings. They don't want to admit that their most basic desires, and even the private imaginations of their hearts are utterly and hopelessly sinful, and they are powerless to change themselves. By any standard, these are hard truths.

And yet every bit of evidence we examine confirms all these things. Scripture clearly teaches that there is none that doeth good. There is none that seeketh after God. No, not one. Human experience confirms this. G. K. Chesterton once wrote that the doctrine of original sin is the easiest of all the doctrines of Scripture to prove. Evidence of human depravity is all around us. No one in all our acquaintance is sin-free. Proof that the whole human race is fallen is everywhere, in the daily newspapers, on the evening news, and clearly evident in every life we encounter.

Most of all, if we're honest with ourselves, the most persuasive proof that the human race is hopelessly depraved is inside our own hearts.

And Chesterton said if we don't believe this doctrine, which we have abundant empirical evidence to support, how can we possibly believe the truths of the Bible we're required to accept by faith?

The Bible's teaching on original sin and human depravity is vital to orthodox Christianity. Every movement in Christianity that has rejected these truths has gone badly astray. The fundamental error of the Pelagians lay in Pelagius's rejection of the doctrine of original sin. The liberalism of the Socinians basically hinged the same error. This is a vital doctrine, and those who reject it place themselves in eternal peril and make shipwreck of the faith.

One significant fact that strikes me in Scripture is that the most godly men on the pages of Scripture all had a deep sense of their own sinfulness. David was a man after God's own heart, yet in Psalm 52:5 he confessed that he was sinful from the moment of his conception. Isaiah was perhaps the greatest prophet in all the Old Testament, and yet in Isaiah 6:5, he wrote, "I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips." The apostle Paul, the figure who towers over the early church, representing perhaps the ultimate example of godly scholarship, wrote in Romans 7:18: "In me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing." In verse 24 he wrote, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Again and again in Scripture, we see that the people who are the prime examples of godliness had the keenest perception of their own sinfulness.

The same principle holds true throughout Church history, too. Augustine spent years in frustration, coming to grips with the reality of his own sin. Martin Luther was so obsessed with his own sin that before his conversion he used to spend hours in the confessional booth, confessing long laundry lists of things that made him feel guilty. Charles Spurgeon spent several years of his childhood secretly wrestling with the terrifying realization that sin had so infected his heart that he was worthy of nothing but divine wrath.

Again and again we see that those who have embraced these truths of original sin and human depravity have been used by God in tremendous ways, while those who have resisted or rejected these truths have made shipwreck of the faith.

So this is a very crucial issue. And since I know that so many struggle with it, we'll examine it biblically in a series of posts yet to come. Fasten your seat belts.

Phil's signature


Kent McDonald said...

Seat belt firmly fastened. Looking forward to reality check.

Kim said...

Looking forward to this!

Anonymous said...

Spot on Phil. There are so many of us today that will agree theologically and academically with this proposition of our radical depravity, but effectively deny that agreement by the rest of our faith and practice. If we can just get this one truth down and own it, then all the other great truths of God's sovereign grace flow logically from it. The fact that since I am completely fallen I must receive irresistible grace to be brought to faith in Christ. That God must choose me for this grace since I could never choose Him. That Christ's sacrifice was an atonement for those particular people He purposed to redeem. And that since there is nothing in me that procures my salvation, it is therefore God Himself that will preserve me all the way to glory. None of these make any sense apart from the realization of my fallen state.

I've said this before, but I find it telling that the people I teach and disciple that have the least problem accepting this truth of their depravity are the new believers at the local rescue mission. They've got all the evidence they need in their own lives to verify their fallenness. It's ususally us 'good Christians' that want to reject the fact that we brought nothing to the table in our conversion.

Jerry said...

As I am continually reminded:

"When man fell in the garden he didn't sprain his ankle, he broke his neck."

Stephen Altrogge said...

This was a well written, well thought out post Phil. The doctrine of the depravity of man really does fit so well with the world as we experience it.

Excellent points...

FX Turk said...

[1] Remember that we're on-deck on Wednesday to do the Challies interview for his book

[2] I can wait until you have regained your strength to talk about why cultural savvy in naming blog posts isn't capitulating to the culture.

[3] In spite of the grumbling in [2], that's the funniest sermon in under 50 words ever:

We inherited a sinful nature from Adam, and that means we are completely helpless to redeem ourselves from the condemnation of God. To paraphrase Mrs. Fletcher, we're fallen, and we can't get up.

Randy said...

For me it was made clear when I heard RC Sproul say in his acceptance to the Doctrine of Grace was when he heard a seminary prof. write on the board, "Regeneration (born again) then faith".

All my Christian life I was taught "faith then regeneration" and until I got my arms around the truth that I could in no way know, desire, choose, God until He did something in me first, did I start to see my unworthiness.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

I am 100% in agreement with the doctrine of original sin and total depravity and man's complete inability in and of himself to regain a right standing before a holy and just God.

What I have trouble with is how that doctrine can in any way be in agreement with a position like age of accountability, especially since Paul said we were made sinners in Adam, and we all died in Adam...before we ever personally sinned.

If we are all born (and even conceived, as the Psalmist declares) guilty and sinful (which can only come from Adam's sin), then how can someone NOT be held accountable because they didn't reach some particular age of reasoning?

Not meaning to derail the thread here, but it seems to me this issue goes to the heart of what it really means to be in agreement with the effects on humanity of the fall.

Anonymous said...

Randy: ditto, my friend. A major understanding point for me as well. How can I exercise saving faith if I'm dead (Eph 2:1)? God has to first resurrect me to life before I can respond in faith.

Being a recovering computer programmer, that's what I love about the gospel - it's so logical, it all fits together.

James Scott Bell said...

As an Arminian, I choose to fasten my seatbelt also.

I look forward to further reflections on this, as I suspect we have more in common than might be supposed. Sin is a radical, hopeless death monger without Christ. That is a truth so difficult for people to accept today, esp. because they're not hearing about it...from the pulpit!

And yet without that understanding, no joy in grace. And no victory over sin in daily life.

vetpath said...

I think paul adresses the age of accountability in Romans 7. By the way- are kids sinful because of Adam or because of their parents? We inherit our flesh ultimately from Adam, but also more directly from our parents. Does that mean we owe our sinful nature more to our parents than to Adam and Eve? In the same way we inherit the consequences of Adam's sin- that we all die. What we choose to do with our lives is our choice. Even our sin. By blaming Adam for our sin are we just justifying our own sinfulness and passing the buck?

Nash Equilibrium said...

Re: the coffee cup graphic - I get it! "Good to the last drop."
(That is, we may think we are, but the truth is, we're not good at all).

To the person who came up with the age of accountability issue, I don't get why that would be a struggle: God is the one who elected us to faith, it wasn't we who "decided" with our minds that the Gospel is true; it was God who "decided" to save us. Why couldn't he elect someone to eternal life, who didn't live to the age where their brain was capable of understanding their own sinfulness? To believe otherwise would imply that it is our brain development that elects us to eternal life.

Jerry said...


"Age of accountability"?

Scripture and verse please?

Maybe it is at odds with the doctrine of depravity due to the fact that it doesn't exist in Scripture. We are told that children come from the womb telling lies (Psalm 58:3)

Yet, what is the fate of those who die in infancy? Spurgeon believed them to be numbered in the elect and redeemed by Christ, and I tend to believe the same even though Scriptural support is very weak, with the exception, possibly, of 2 Samuel 12:23.

The one thing that we can cling to is that God does all things well.

David A. Carlson said...

Not sure how much disagreemnt your going to get on this topic. Certainly none from me. After my new life of some 26 odd years (some odder than others) what I don't understand is why God would want anything to do with me.

djp certainly doesnt.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

Amen, Jerry. I second your thoughts and comments.

I personally do not believe in an age of accountability, but was raising the question here because many do...even those who agree with Phil's remarks concerning the fallen state of man.

candy said...

Do you think that one person to blame in contemporary Christianity concerning the question of original sin was Charles Finney? I blame him for much of present condition of the evangelical church. I have a friend who considers Finney to be his hero, and who denies original sin. I threaten to have him spend a day with my youngest grandson.

DJP said...

Candy — LOL.

Finney and the Puritans are polar opposites in one regard: the one has an immensely better rep than deserved, the other an immensely worse rep.

donsands said...

I believe the Scriptures teach man is innately evil. Jesus said, "You being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children."

Paul says, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."

Though I heard Woodrow Kroll teach that this verse speaks of a born again Christian, which I wrote and challenged him, and he simply said you have to take the whole context of Romans 8, and then you will see Paul is addresssing Christians in vers 7.
Here is the battle ground for truth, even though it's with a fine Christian like Dr. Kroll.
Look for ward to your expounding upon this deep and essential doctrine of the Church.

Daryl said...

Candy "I threaten to have him spend a day with my youngest grandson."


I've always found that spending a day with myself to be more than convincing...

DJP said...

Oh, dude. Word.

Thank God people don't see everything we see in ourselves, though, eh?

Mike said...

Looks like this is going to be a good one. Of all the doctrines I have to teach in my classes, this is one of the ones that gets the most flack initially. Whenever I bring it up the heads start nodding, but further conversation usually reveals they don't quite believe in it.

Solameanie said...

I have often wondered why we struggle so much with the concept of total depravity. Maybe it's because -- deep down inside -- we really don't believe we're as bad as we really are.

I no longer have any doubt whatsoever on the subject.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

As Sproul says, if one truly understands the total depravity and complete fallen position of man, there is really no objection to the other doctrines of grace.

They fall (pun intended) right into place!

philness said...

This subject is why my wife and I had only one child and continue in that effort. I wonder if some saved people somehow think that because they are saved this is a guarantee that their offsprings will be saved.

If a believing husband and wife understands depravity and trusts God for everything (which one could argue that my wife and I are not doing) what did you tell yourselves concerning procreation? It must have terrified the both of you to think that your chilln's could very well burn for eternity in a devils hell? But you trust God that doesn't happen as if to say, "let em swim, its 50/50".

DJP said...

Philness, Craig S evidently believes that all children of believers eo ipso are or will be saved.

And all baby-sprinklers to some degree believe that infants get some kind of spiritual leg-up because of the salvation of one of their parents.

Sled Dog said...


Just wanting to make sure I understand...are you saying you have chosen to keep the number of the arrows in your quiver at a minimum of one because of original sin and fear that you may bring a child into the world that won't respond to the Gospel?

Solameanie said...


My dad wasn't saved, but he often said the same thing about having kids and their eternal destiny. I think it's better not to obsess about things like that and let God call the shots.

What troubles me more at the moment is that nice mess of crappie you've got in that cooler. I'm jealous.

philness said...

yes. exactly.

philness said...


You dont have to be jealous any longer, for if you ever make it to Dallas I will see to it that you too have a cooler full of crappie.

Daryl said...

Wow Philness, that's sad.

FX Turk said...


dude, I think you have just turned the Bible on its head.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

"I'm fallen, and I can't get up" is the cry of the regenerated heart, for the unconverted have no understanding or appreciation of their falleness.

Is that a fair statement?

If you really only had one child for the reasons you say, then why have any at all? Why take the risk even with one child? I hope this is not what you really believe, as it truly would be a sad way to go through the Christian life.

Daryl said...


Absolutely a fair statement. Do the dead know they area dead?

philness said...


I'm listening.

Sled Dog said...


As a parent of two, I have plenty of fears. My daughter drives up and down a pretty foreboding mountain canyon to get to her college group at a church in Provo. I worry for both my kids about the world full of drugs, sex and rock and roll (okay, not the rock and roll) they are growing up in. Plenty of fears that my handicapped son will be mistreated and exploited by a brutal world.

But I've never thought a second about whether or not they should have entered into life for fear of the fact that sin has gripped this world.

I guess God's description of children as being blessings from Him is enough for me to say "bring 'em on." Oh yeah, and the full quiver thing. And the command to fill the earth. Motivation enough for me.

S.J. Walker said...


not to sound like a broken record here. But how do you justify that with Scripture? Indeed, quite sad.

philness said...


At that time my wife and I desperately wanted a child and I prayed to the Lord, begging and pleading that it would be His will that this child would be saved. After our son was born I pleaded and begged the Lord not to have to go through that not knowing part again all the while still praying our child would be saved. And I suppose; not knowing for sure, the Lord is granting me that thus far.

I have been sharing, singing and teaching my son the gospel since the 1st trimester and at age 12 he has told me he wants to be discipled. And by the grace of God I shall do exactly that.

Scottj said...

Perhaps one of the greatest "proofs" of the doctrine of total depravity is The birth of the Enlightenment and the ensuing Western Liberalism are, I believe, the world's attempted supression of the truth of human depravity. It has been largely successful. For example, whether one be a Tory, Liberal, or NDP'er here in Canada, or a Republican or Democrat in the US, the perfectability of man is the default sociological doctrine today. This is true also in education, social policy, medical and psychological care, planning, etc. It is also why many of today's churches have a love affair with all things sociological/statistical. When the human problem is not understood as rebellion against a Sovereign God, it becomes a treatable syndrome--more education, socialisation, money, programs, etc. Pragmatism wins the day.

Note also how non-Christians respond to Islam--it is anti-democratic and anti-freedom, it believes in moral absolutes, and therefore believes in sin. The Christian response to Islam should be (and often isn't), that Islam misrepresents God, Jesus Christ, the Scriptures, and just about all truth. Unfortunately, I often hear Christians complaining about Islam as though the biggest problem it poses is its absolute view of truth.

I think if evil wanted to blind men's eyes to the reality of sin and the coming wrath of God upon it, western liberalism is just the ticket. It seems to be working.

Nash Equilibrium said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nash Equilibrium said...

It would have been better for that person if he had never been born." (excerpt Mk. 14)

See, you can justify what Philness is saying, IF you believe that your child is going to be Judas. But I think that spot is already taken...

Well! This is a fine kettle of fish.

philness said...


Listen, I fully understand that my will and my wifes will does not supersede Gods will. My wife and I know full well that we could end up pregnant at any moment with or without the will of the flesh. Jn 1:12-13

philness said...

It just so happens that my fear of the Lord is different than your fear of the Lord.

David A. Carlson said...

I think Philness's comments are understandable to any parent of a teenager who is not demonstrating a walk with Christ.

At least they are to this parent of 4, ages 14-21.

Phil just got to the concern earlier rather than later.

Unknown said...

YAY! I'm very excited, because I've had a...shall we say "disagreement" recently with some people who say Christians don't have indwelling sin after they get saved.

vetpath said...

Re: election: Who here believes a person is born into this world with only one possible final destination? We all have a choice.

S.J. Walker said...


Although I do not yet have children, so that definitely limits much of my own understanding here, I do understand where you are coming from. I also appraciazte that you have prayed about it and desire the Lord's will--whatever that may be in the future. Additionally, I have no doubt that you do indeed raise your son "in the way he should go". That is a very rare display of honor and I commend you and your wife.

I also have seen abuse of "God's Will" in other parents, who were simply just plain irresponsible to the children they had in the name of "que sera sera". And while that has not been brought up here, it is part of the equation I think.

My only concern, and I admit it is less now than it was; is that I wonder if, perhaps, your fear of sin is at least in some way greater than your fear of God. That is what still, I don't quite follow you on.

Does that make sense? forgive me if I was presumptuous earlier. It is part of my depravity I guess.


Solameanie said...

When the Lord tells us to be fruitful and multiply, and that children are a "gift from the Lord," that ought to tell us something. Of course, I don't believe he calls everyone to marriage and children, but it is the normal design.

Who gets saved or not his His business. And, if you can think about this in a larger sense, even those who are not born again are still used by Him to accomplish His divine purposes. Would I want my child to end up in Hell? Of course not. However, my responsibility as a parent would be to bring him/her up in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord." In the long run, they have to take their own hides to market.

FX Turk said...


The most potent argument against your position I have ever read or heard is from (you can guess) John Piper.

Now what I want to add today is that marriage is for making children . . . disciples of Jesus. There is a double meaning that I hope will help you remember the point. Marriage is for making children—that is, procreation. Having babies. This is not the main meaning of marriage. But is an important one and a biblical one. But then I add the words disciples of Jesus. “Marriage is for making children disciples of Jesus.” Here the focus shifts. This purpose of marriage is not merely to add more bodies to the planet. The point is to increase the number of followers of Jesus on the planet.

The sermons were delivered in 2 parts which you can find here and here.

Daryl said...


You asked "Who here believes a person is born into this world with only one possible final destination? We all have a choice."

Perhaps you should read some archival material on this blog. While your question greatly over-simplifies the issue, the over-simple answer to it would be, yes, the "only one possible destination" view would be the majority view around these parts.

I refer you to John 6, Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 as a starting point. Others here could direct you even more specifically to a variety of source material.

S.J. Walker said...


You took the words right out of my mouth. Except with you they worked.

Lo, the poor savage. I am so hopeless.

Rob Hughes said...

In Proverbs 20:6 we read, "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness..." This is the essence of man. He thinks that he is good. Man believes this more today than perhaps ever before. And we (the church) have helped him to do so. At times our preaching is so "tactful" it couldn't convict a flee. God's holy & righteous standard, expressed in His Law, is preached far too little, if not at all. We have moved away far too much in our modern church's from preaching the moral law of God. Yet it is the law that brings conviction of sin (Rom. 3:20b), conviction of sin leads to us mourning over our sin in godly sorrow, godly sorrow leads to repentance, and repentance leads to salvation (2 Cor. 7:10). We must , must, must help the lost to understand that they are walking corpses, that they are dead in their sins - and what brings that to light is the law. It is the law, as applied to a human life, that reveals the fact that that person's life is dead in transgressions and sins. Man will go proclaiming that he is good forever and a day, and the only thing that can shut him up is the law. "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Rom. 3:19). We should preach law before we preach grace. Why give men the cure when they are not even convinced they have the disease???

An extract from "Turn Or Burn," a sermon Charles Spurgeon preached in 1856...

"Two hundred years ago the predominant strain of the pulpit was one of terror: it was like Mount Sinai, it thundered forth the dreadful wrath of God, and from the lips of a Baxter or a Bunyan, you heard most terrible sermons, full to the brim with warnings of judgment to come. Perhaps some of the Puritanic fathers may have gone too far, and have given too great a prominence to the terrors of the Lord in their ministry: but the age in which we live has sought to forget those terrors altogether, and if we dare to tell men that God will punish them for their sins, it is charged upon us that want to bully them into religion, and if we faithfully and honestly tell our hearers that sin must bring after it certain destruction, it is said that we are attempting to frighten them into goodness. Now we care not what men mockingly impute to us; we feel it our duty, when men sin, to tell them they shall be punished, and so long as the world will not give up its sin we feel we must not cease our warnings. But the cry of the age is, that God is merciful, that God is love. Ay; who said he was not? But remember, it is equally true, God is just, severely and inflexibly just. He were not God, if he were not just; he could not be merciful if he were not just, for punishment of the wicked is demanded by the highest mercy to the rest of mankind."

vetpath said...

Daryl: I believe you are referring to Jn 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
But continue on to verse 45 "It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me."
and verse 47 "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."
I think these passages imply a choice of the one listening and believing to either obey or disobey and believe or not believe.
Also: I think Romans 9 is talking about God's grace to the gentiles as well as to Israel, not as a blanket statement of predestination. Yes God gives grace to whoever he wants, but He did set up a way that all men can be saved (1Timothy 2:4)if they believe, repent and are baptized and remain faithful.

I still dont see how God leaves people completely without choice.

ephesians 1: sure there are a lot of words you could pull out to make your argument sound good, but what does it all mean? I think it means God set up the church to preach the message of reconciliation, to convince people that they all sinned and Jesus is their redemption, and gave them a plan to save everyone who accepts their message.

Still no reason to think that people are born with only one destination. If anyone hears the message and accepts it they can be saved

SolaMommy said...

*pop* A can of worms has now been opened!

Daryl said...


There are links on this site that will give you a far more thorough treatment than what I can provide.

Besides, I'm sure the Pyro's would rather this thread not become a rehash of old arguments against Calvinism that have long since been dismantled.

Stick around though, Calvinist or not, there's lots to learn around here.

Daryl said...


It occurrs to me that your stand on kids almost sets your character up against God's. (Don't worry, no accusations here, I'm assuming that this is occurring to me and not to you...:))
What I mean is this, you seem to be inadvertently implying that while God may bring people into this world who are/will be condemned, you will not.

That just makes me nervous, that's all.

Sled Dog said...

It's obvious that Philness is a great dad who loves his chidren deeply...what a great thing to be so concerned about the salvation of a child that it would unnerve us. Quite a few Christian parents seem not to care very much about the Gospel being at the very core of their child's life.

Ultimately we have to entrust them to the Good God who created them and knows the plans and purposes he has for them. I've been tempted many times to make my kids idols. In my heart I tell God, "Do whatever you want, but leave my kids alone! Don't let them experience pain, hardship or suffering!"

The whole earth and everything in it belongs to God. I have to trust Him with my children.

S.J. Walker said...


The post was bout man's inherited sin. Do you have a comment on that?

If you want to get into PD vs. FW. I suggest this

S.J. Walker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S.J. Walker said...


try this

vetpath said...

Daryl and SJ: Thanks for pointing me to some reference material.

SJ: I do have a comment about inherited sinfulness. And that is I dont know where I got my sinfulness from, I just know Im sinful. So who will rescue me from this body of sin?

Nash Equilibrium said...

Well, OK, I'm going to defend Philness now; actually I am going to help us all (me included) remove a log from my own eye before I "help" Philness remove the speck from his eye.

I reacted the same as everyone else on here when I read Philness's note on why he and his wife have decided to have only one child. Then, later it occurred to me that perhaps I was being a bit hypocritical: How many of us would have reacted to anyone else who used birth control to limit the number of children they've had, if the reason had been to further one's career or finances, to limit their own parental responsibilities to a manageable number of children, and so on?

In other words, why is it OK for Christians to use what I might call "21st-century pragmatic considerations" as a legit reason for limiting childbirth, but Philness's reason for limiting childbirth is one that we jump all over?

In case you are wondering, I'm not RCC and I'm not making a case against contraception. I'm just noticing that we're being a little inconsistent here. And maybe, just maybe we've adopted more of our thinking from the culture in this area than any of us would like to admit?

S.J. Walker said...

You Got it from Adam. You are rescued by Christ.

I love "easy" questions.

Randy said...

This is off topic but it also applies to the unregenerate.

Prov. 16:9 "A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."

Jer. 10:23 "I know, O Lord, that the way of man is in himself, it is not in man to direct his steps."

Randy said...

oops! reregenerate ALSO!

S.J. Walker said...


Well put. That is kind of where I cam too. God is good to point out our--guess what...depravity of mind--even if we don't think it so.


Kent Brandenburg said...

I'm going to relate this post to the previous posts. Because of man's condition, worldly parties can't help him. Only God can lift him out of his horrible pit. Giving him something worldly can feed his love for the world (1 Jn. 2:15-17), but it won't help him understand the things of the Spirit of God.

Daryl said...


You're right, we should back off now w/ regard to Philness however you said:

"How many of us would have reacted to anyone else who used birth control to limit the number of children they've had, if the reason had been to further one's career or finances, to limit their own parental responsibilities to a manageable number of children, and so on? "

I would call all of those except perhaps the last one a problematic reason.

One the other hand you did say this:

"just maybe we've adopted more of our thinking from the culture in this area than any of us would like to admit?"

Agreed, wholeheartedly, point taken.


Fortunately no one on any of these posts or the preceeding posts has suggested anything of the sort regarding "worldy parties".


Great comment!! Thanks for the verses. They don't come much clearer do they?

bassicallymike said...

bi0dr0ne said...
"We all have a choice"

We do indeed. But only to act according to our nature.

philness said...


It makes you nervous that I have assurance of salvation? or that if I have anything to do with it I would not bring anyone into this world? Upon a second read and keeping within your context I see that is the later.

Well, I suppose I would rather not bring someone into the world. But having listening to part 1 of Piper holding to that position would prove futile scripturally.

Now I need to decide if I am to call my wife and say "honey, (whip crack sound) were doing something different tonight!

philness said...

s.j. walker,

You liked that didn't you?

S.J. Walker said...

I'm dense today, Huh?

vetpath said...

Basicallymike, if you can't choose beyond your nature how do you do choose to obey God? I think our "nature" is really the accumulation of our choices and the consequences of those choices, our habits, and our inclinations. We can always choose to obey God.

bassicallymike said...

bi0dr0ne said...
"We can always choose to obey God."

Only after regeneration. Go to monergism.com and search for articles on regeneration.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Fair enough. Just to fully clarify my point in defending Philness, I wasn't defending the practice of contraception in order to "further one's career or finances, or to limit our own parental responsibilities to a manageable number of children." I was simply making the following points:

1) Probably every one of us has practiced contraception for far more temporal reasons than Philness's reason, so why are we jumping down his throat about his decision?

2) Limiting childbearing via contraception (for any reason) is totally accepted within the evangelical church.

3) So, while God may (or may not, I don't know) have a problem with limiting family size via artificial means, the evangelical church certainly doesn't have a problem with it.

donsands said...

"And yet every bit of evidence we examine confirms all these things. Scripture clearly teaches that there is none that doeth good. There is none that seeketh after God. No, not one." -Phil

I agree, however, the Scriptures also state: "And has made of one blood all nations of men ... and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
That THEY SHOULD SEEK THE LORD, if perhaps they might FEEL AFTER HIM, and FIND HIM, though He be not far from every one of us;" Acts 17:26-27

Seems we do seek God in this passage. Unless I'm missing something.
Be interested in any thoughts?

S.J. Walker said...


The thing about depravity, a Biblical and provable assertion, coupled with freedom of choice, an untenable position, is this:

If we are depraved, we cannot choose to do good. That is, we cannot choose to do good that is not for our own gain and is also good enough. Certainly, I'm Adolf Hitler did something in his life that by strict definition was "good", but it did not have any merit as to his soul's condition. Without Christ, we are no different. We don't have to murder millions of people to be arrogant enough to want to be like God.

The point is, we cannot, no matter what we do, completely try and do good, choose right over wrong and not have it be ultimately for our own good or self preservation. That is not a changed heart which is what salvation incurs.

The reason it is miraculous, and also therefore a "God thing" to "accept Christ", is that only He can change what really matters.

Without Christ, we are given to the nature of sin. We can do "good things" in this condition, but they are meaningless and contemptible--filthy rags I think is the term. But in Christ, we have been changed to hate what we once loved and love what we once hated. We can still sin in this condition, but it is already judged and in eternal terms is cast aside just our "good works" were outside of Christ.

It is clear from Scripture, that only God can do this great miracle. It takes the greatest good ever to changes the heart of man, how can a depraved mind do such a great thing?

That is the point. Make any sense?

FX Turk said...


If by "worldly parties" you mean "anything that resembles the average frat party", I agree with you -- those things are actually the problem.

But it's a sort of baby-with-the-bathwater moral expulsion to call all parties with music, and/or dancing, and/or alcohol consumption by adults "worldly parties".

What kind of party do you think Christ has in mind when he talks about the wedding feast that a king throws for his son? Do you think that the ones who, in faith, heard that parable the first time thought that it was a purely-solemn affair where the joy was all on the inside?

How do you arrive at that conclusion?

Daryl said...


I was unclear, what made me nervous was the seeming implication that you were nicer than God in that you wouldn't bring someone into the world who might go to hell, whereas God has no such compunction. Indeed, he does it every day. Not sure where you came up with the assurance thing)
Again, I'm not saying you think that way, I'm just saying that what you said could be taken that way.

For the record, we all make decisions that others would have good reason to question. And since that is what is generally done around here, I did it. My apologies if it felt like I was coming after you.


I'm not sure that "we all make questionable decisions" is a defense.


Could the verse in Acts be referring to the elect only? (The seeking and finding bit I mean.)

vetpath said...

Basicallymike, thanks for the website link. There's a lot of material to sift through there.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Stratagem, I'm not sure that "we all make questionable decisions" is a defense.

I wasn't defending the decision, I said we were being hypocritical in slamming Philness while we make practically the same decision he has made, only for different reasons. That's a big difference. So, if contraception is wrong, we first we have to pronounce ourselves wrong, before we can pronounce Philness's decision as wrong.

How about this defense: "Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone."

Daryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daryl said...


Point taken. Although if we can't assess someone's reasoning...what's the point of most things talked about on this website? (Incidentally, no one made this generally about birth control)

Aric said...

Growing up in the nether regions of extreme charismaticism, I have recently (read: past 4 years) been on a journey into the lands of the doctrines of grace, and I am lovin’ me some TULIP!

Can’t wait to hear more on the depravity issue.

vetpath said...

SJ, certainly your not Hitler ;), Ill mull this over and take myself out this thread fro today, it seems Ive strayed off the topic.

S.J. Walker said...

fare enough bi0dr0ne,

Feel free to comment at the Lion's Den where you would be more on topic at the post linked earlier.

Lance Roberts said...

sled dog:

You can include rock 'n roll in with sex and drugs, they're all part of the same package (the flesh).

strategem: Birth control IS NOT totally accepted in the evangelical church, so it's certainly the majority opinion of this generation. The reason Christians have been so ineffective fighting against abortion, it because they show by using birth control, that God isn't in charge of their womb. Birth control is just rejecting the blessing of God.

Lance Roberts said...

I meant 'but it's certainly'.

SolaMommy said...

"Birth control is just rejecting the blessing of God."

Lance, I for one do not want to be pregnant for 15yrs straight.

Daryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nash Equilibrium said...

You're right, this blog article isn't about contraception. It's about depravity. I'd better play ball, and fast:

"If the gospel of Jesus Christ can be proclaimed as a theology of self-esteem, imagine the health this could generate in society!" Robert Schuller, from Self Esteem: The New Reformation.

Man, do I feel good all under...

Daryl said...

Lance, you're compiling quite a "it's a sin because I said so" list...

Rock 'n Roll
Birth Control

(Buddy earlier added R-rated movies)

What say we stick with Scripture...?

I humbly suggest that if birth control is a sin, so is surgery, seat-belts basically all decision making the could prevent loss if life, after all, we don't want to "play God" now do we...

(Sarcasm intended)

Daryl said...


"...all under" LOL

Daryl said...

I should change my label from Daryl to "The emminently side-trackable One"

Lance Roberts said...

Here's a quote from Piper (who doesn't agree with my stand on birth control):

"Anything, absolutely any act or attitude which is owing to a lack of trust in God is sin, no matter how moral it may appear to men. God looks on the heart."
Piper, J. (2007). Sermons from John Piper (1980-1989). Minneapolis: Desiring God.

Most reasoning for contraception is out of fear: fear of your children not being regenerated, fear of financial hardship, fear of a medical problem, etc.

Fear of anything but God, is the opposite of faith, and shows a lack of trust in God.

daryl: Yes, I try to take a stand on all issues, because I believe the Bible is SUFFICIENT for all aspects of life, not just the ones that don't offend our cultural sensiblities.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Lance, you said:
Birth control IS NOT totally accepted in the evangelical church, so it's certainly the majority opinion of this generation.

I've been in numerous evangelical churches for decades, dude, and have never heard anyone say anything negative about contraception. What evidence do you have that contraception is not totally accepted in the evangelical church? (Forget whether it should be accepted or not, that wasn't the issue I addressed).

Bill Lonas said...


I have to say that I completely disagree with your stand on having children.

If what you feel is true then why would the Bible say:
'As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.'
Psalm 127:4-5

To believe the way you do is to imply that you, as a parent, have the power to save or cause not to be saved. You do not have this power - only God does.

Children are an incredible blessing from Almighty God. Having two children (both boys) has given me, through experience, a better understanding of the love relationship that my Father in Heaven has with me and how I am completely dependent on Him.

I believe He designed it this way - just like with marriage.
God bless.

Daryl said...


You said:

"I believe the Bible is SUFFICIENT for all aspects of life, not just the ones that don't offend our cultural sensiblities."

Which, of course, is why I noted the lack os Scriptural reasoning for the list I gleaned from your posts...

Nash Equilibrium said...

PS., Lance, I might also suggest that when you are objecting to activities that aren't expressly forbidden in the Bible, you just leave it at "all things are permissible, but not all things are profitable."
Otherwise, since you can't back up your objections with Scripture, you are likely to come off as a legalist, which I don't think you really are.

wordsmith said...

I think that part of the reason why birth control is widely (not universally) accepted in evangelicaldom is due to pervasive ignorance as to how most birth control actually works. Most (if not all) of the more effective types of birth control do not prevent conception (fertilization of the egg by the sperm), but rather are effective precisely because they prevent implantation of a fertilized egg by creating a hostile environment for the conceptus. Thus, these types of birth control (the Pill, Norplant, IUDs, etc) are actually abortifacients. As such, it is difficult to conceive (no pun intended) of a Scriptural defense of these types of contraception.

Now this has gone far afield of what I'm sure was the original intent of Phil's post; bringing it back on topic: I would have to agree that fear of the effects of original sin should not be the reason why a couple decides that they shouldn't bring children into the world.

Pastor Steve said...

How does a calvinist explain why children born to Christian parents seem to be disproportionately elected to salvation?

I am a calvinist, but this question puzzles me a bit.

Is God placing elected souls into Christian homes as part of bringing them to salvation?

FX Turk said...

I wish I could either clown or ban Lance.

That's all.

Pastor Steve: Read my Piper links.

DJP said...

I thought Lance was your sock puppet.

Maybe he's Brandenburg's really extremist sock puppet? You know, to make him look more moderate by contrast?

pastorbrianculver said...

I am currently working for a very very very liberal 4-yr college. Just last year, this college printed in its school newspaper an article completely bashing Jesus! They basically flushed Him down the toilet. Every dorm is completely stocked with condoms, the dorm I work in has a "sex couch" and above it is a poster with "sexual quotes" for everyone to read. On another board hanging on the wall is a chart showing how many times these students have had sex (and of course, it has to be witnessed by someone other than the two involved). There is an Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at this college, but (and I say this with much sadness) this group is not making an impact. They do their little bible studies (I do not mean to demean this, It is good to study the Bible, please don't get me wrong) they just don't get out of their meeting room and impact the rest of the lost students. What good is a faith that is fearful of reaching the lost? I spoke with the man who runs the group, and he basically said, "we have people from such a wide variety of religions that we do not want to offend anyone." My question is this, "Why is Biblical Truth not being taught?" As Christians we have a duty to talk to the lost. This college is so lost right now. I am talking to students one at a time. I have noticed some non-christians looking at my blog several times now, so hopefully it is working. Please keep me and this college in your prayers. It is located in west central Illinois. thanks and God bless

James Scott Bell said...

There is no “age of accountability” identified in Scripture, as such. There is nothing in the Bible that says, “Here is the age and from here on you are responsible!” I think the reason for that is because children mature at different paces. That would be true from culture to culture, and from age to age in history.
So the Lord in His wisdom didn’t identify a specific moment. God knows when each soul is accountable. God knows when real rejection has taken place; when the love of sin exists in the heart. When enmity with God is conscious and willful. God alone knows when that occurs. (John MacArthur)

Solameanie said...


I think the rub is in determining if an action is actually motivated by a lack of trust in God. I can't say most believers in practice make decisions with that motivation. I can't judge their hearts.

Lance Roberts said...


All of my beliefs are backed up by scripture, just not of the form 'thou shalt not smoke crack pipes' (good one Kent). I'm not going to be like the Pharisees looking for exact wording so that I can 'get out of obedience', I'm looking for Biblical principles that I can apply to all aspects of life so I can 'get into obedience', even the ones like 'crack pipes' that aren't mentioned in the Bible.

I'm quite sure that if you study your beliefs you'll find at least one thing you consider to be a sin, that isn't mentioned explicitly in the bible. The key is to train yourself not to take what you think (based on prior worldly training) as the standard, but to take the principles of the Bible and apply them to every aspect of your life.

Romans 12:2 (KJV)
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Sheri said...

WOW! You guys (implying the regular commenters here) really know your theology on this blog, but do you know how to make application of it? If you truly believe in the SOVEREIGNTY of God, it seems like this issue of having children would be a no-brainer.

Since the post is on original sin which, basically, was Adam and Eve usurping what only belonged to God in an attempt to take control themselves, it seems ironic that Christians would exhibit this very same attitude when it comes to procreation. God is Creator. And, we are told that the purpose of marriage is that He seeks godly offspring (Malachi 2:14,15).

Fifteen years ago, after having used contraception, we came to the realization that it is God's domain to create life and our job to trust Him in it. We had, previous to this attempt at obedience, had 3 children (one handicapped) and He gave us 3 more...then, He closed the womb. I now long for more, but have come to accept this as His good, pleasing and perfect will. To worry about having too many is NOT faith. He will never give too many or too little, but always according to His plan. In addition, He makes provision for all He creates. In fact, though we have lived on little, our children have an appreciation for the simplest of things.

It's just another area to trust Him in, folks. Or do you prefer your cushy lifestyles? If you do, you really don't know what you're missing.

Daryl said...


First of all, congratulations on the 6 kids. Having 5 of my own, I can appreciate both the work and the blessing.

Secondly, read back over the blog. I think you'll find that among the regulars commenting here, the issue of contraception wasn't so much to encourage the use/non-use of them, but rather to encourage folks to examine their reasoning for use/non-use and make sure that is made Scriptural sense.
I don't think the discussion was really centering around whether or not it should be used.

jazzycat said...

Total depravity is the foundation of redemptive theology. When the foundation is not solid, then the building will always be faulty.

Daryl said...

As Finney rightly deduced, if there is no original sin, there is no use for substitution and all we need is a good example...too bad he parlayed that into a massive "revival" campaigned.

Brandon said...

"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin". How does "birth control" an invention of unregenerate, blind men and women, line up with that?

Daryl said...


How do seat belts and motorcycle helmets line up with that?

Daryl said...

Notice that it says "Whatsoever is not of faith..." not "Whatsoever uses sound reasoning..."

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hello Dan (djp),

I hope you and your family are well. I am still trying to juxtapose some of your "I'm so humble" statements with your sock puppet comment. We've never talked and the only two comments you've ever directed at me (in my memory) here were personal and derogatory. I can appreciate your Don Rickles impersonation, but I'll hope that's not the best you can do.


I never really defined "worldly parties," but I would assume that since it is "worldly" that it isn't for Christians, so you don't have anything to argue with me this time, I wouldn't think. Just because my lips move doesn't mean you need to disagree. My point is carnal activities won't affect man's sinful condition. Those who use them in the church for whatever reason do not manifest a necessarily low view of man.

Have a great evening Dan and Frank!!

James Scott Bell said...

Daryl, I'm not sure where you're getting your view of Finney's theology, but it's not from Finney, viz:

"[T]atonement is the governmental substitution of the sufferings of Christ for the punishment of sinners. It is a covering of their sins by his sufferings."

"Sinners are universally condemned for not receiving it."

"The atonement was the exhibition of a merciful disposition. It was because God was disposed to pardon, that he consented to give his own Son to die as the substitute of sinners."

All from his Systematic Theology. Hope that clears things up on this point.

BTW, I find Finney (whose Systematic Theology I've read...or rather tried to read) to be turgid and uninspiring.

777law said...

Nice try on excusing Philness (are we trying to assuage our own similar attitude regarding contraceptives?), however, I am not convinced that Philness is as altruistic as given the benefit of the doubt over.

I have for years noticed in christiandom not only an inability to face the ugly similarity between abortion and contraceptive use, but also a general intolerance and disrespect for children. Many, if not most, in today's church are on the frontlines of the antiabortion scene while concurrently engaging in the practice of child minimization through regular use of contraception.

It amazes me that a discussion can be carried on about high and lofty theological issues (total depravity) with 20/20 clarity, but the practical application of biblical principles of which procreation is about the most basic, is gone about with total myopia.

The church has made a huge mistake in the area allowing the culture to dictate the reasons why not to have children and in the process has exchanged self centered quality of life and its inherent spiritual fruitlessness and moral corrosion, for character building, life fulfilling spiritual and moral legacies. To fail to recognize this is to fail to recognize our total depravity.

donsands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Truth Unites... and Divides said...

It amazes me that a discussion can be carried on about high and lofty theological issues (total depravity) with 20/20 clarity... (777 Law)

Interesting that you should phrase it that way! There's a post-evangelical journeyman who makes observations about Christians who he (mis)perceives as "My theology can beat up your theology". Something he calls the “More, Higher, Most, Highest” game.

He uses the word “game” because there is an element of comparison and competition that he can no longer ignore. I wonder if he regards the doctrine of total depravity as a zealous game by those who adhere to the Doctrines of Grace or Reform Theology or Calvinism.

Lance Roberts said...

"[T]atonement is the governmental substitution of the sufferings of Christ for the punishment of sinners. It is a covering of their sins by his sufferings."

This would be a problem since it isn't the sufferings of Christ that do the atoning, it's his blood. Something a lot of 'new' versions of the Bible like to 'translate out'.

VcdeChagn said...

Lance, I might also suggest that when you are objecting to activities that aren't expressly forbidden in the Bible, you just leave it at "all things are permissible, but not all things are profitable."

I try to filter everything through James 4:4, along with the rest of the Bible :). Many of the things described are worldly. Our fellowship at church is many times worldly.

The key harkens back to the post. Total Depravity.

God is the only one who can overcome it, thus winning the war that is raged in the world and within us.

About the kid thing. I've been terrified since before our first pregnancy (7 pregnancies, 4 living children so far) of our children dying without being "elect."

I pray the Lord will do ANYTHING he needs to do to get them to heaven. I've often wondered if that's why we have 4 living children out of 7 pregnancies. He is sovereign after all.

I am fully aware that my worry about such a thing is a sin..one I cast on the altar as often as I think of it.

Phil Johnson said...


Wow, wow, wow.

Just . . . wow.

I put this post up last night thinking it would rate about 15 comments and I could work on something else today.

I had 12 hours to produce complete topical and Scriptural indexes for A Tale of Two Sons. I finished the indexes tonight and took a look at the blog and knew something had gone seriously awry when I saw the number of comments.

Then I started reading and got the impression I was reading some sort of Bizarro World version of the BHT. I haven't finished the thread yet. I don't think i want to.

Can we reign it in, ratchet things back, and get back on topic? This post is not about birth control, the atonement, the worldliness of dancing, or a half dozen other things that keep coming up. It's an introductory post on the subject of original sin and human depravity. Before we're done with the larger topic, I may introduce some of those related issues, but that's my job, not our commenters'.

A few commenters—some hyper-fundamentalists and some who lean the opposite direction—are beginning to get on my nerves with inanities. I won't single anyone out by name just yet, but if you aren't quite sure whether I'm referring to you or not, I probably am. Some of the commenters to whom I am referring need to curtail the volume and tone of your comments (my suggestion: quit commenting completely for a while), or I'll institute a 30-day "Quit annoying everyone" ban on your comments.

I think his thread pretty much stands as a classic example of what Chesterton meant in the above citation.

J♥Yce Burrows said...

Again and again we see that those who have embraced these truths of original sin and human depravity have been used by God in tremendous ways, while those who have resisted or rejected these truths have made shipwreck of the faith.

So this is a very crucial issue. And since I know that so many struggle with it, we'll examine it biblically in a series of posts yet to come. Fasten your seat belts.

Looking forward to reading/hearing, Phil.

FX Turk said...


If we agree, you could show that by answering my last two questions, not avoiding them. I don;t think we agree, and I think you don't think we agree.

I could be wrong, and I'll admit it if I am.

BTW, this is why I have been reticent in responding to your avalanche of comments from the end of last year at my blog. I don't want to invest a lot of time in commenting on something which the other person will simply ignore or talk around.

Sheri said...


If I am included in that "hyper-fundamentalist" category, I'm sorry you feel that way. I posted my comment to be an encouragement to others who feel as I felt many years ago. It surely doesn't hurt us to be challenged by other Christians with what we may have not considered before. I know I have many things left to learn myself. And, BTW, I've learned many things here at pyro.

I look forward to your future series of posts on original sin/total depravity. God bless.

Nash Equilibrium said...

I confess I am a purveyor of inanities. I also confess that it's hard for me to always tell when something I add is considered a humorous inanity, or an annoying inanity. Further complicating this is that the pyro blog is written as part serious content, and part fun and games/comical graphics. Maybe there should be a guideline to help us distinguish between what will be considered inanity and humor?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Joyous greetings Frank!! (c:

I write this only to answer your questions, ones that I didn't answer before because you seemed to miss the point of my comment. I was relating man's sinful condition to methods used by churches to "evangelize." You spun my comment into 'what are worldly parties.' OK, it's off topic, but I want to answer your questions, especially in light of your implication that I haven't done that (which is false, but a typical type of false accusation).

You asked: "What kind of party do you think Christ has in mind when he talks about the wedding feast that a king throws for his son?"

I answer: I think you're talking about Matthew 22, which I've preached through. I believe that when we interpret parables, we shouldn't do doctrine by speculation. I would assume, however, that the king there, who is picturing God, would do God-like activities that would not be profane or worldly. I don't think we should take a modern day understanding of a secular monarch and paste it on a parable to defend a personal practice.

You ask: "Do you think that the ones who, in faith, heard that parable the first time thought that it was a purely-solemn affair where the joy was all on the inside?"

I believe, like you, that we should understand Scripture as the people who were hearing it in that day. However, I can't answer as to the state of mind of those hearing, about how much they might be imagining or reading into the words. I believe that we do better if we consider the intention of the parable. It wasn't teaching us how to party or that parties are a means of evangelism. I think it's just the opposite.

Matthew 22 is commonly abused by evangelicals and fundamentalists. They use it fairly elastically to read in all sorts of new fangled methdology that conflicts with fundamental teaching of Scripture. The servants went out to compel them to come to the wedding. The wedding is the kingdom of God. The King is God. The servants are us. We are to go out to compel. How does Scripture teach us to compel? We preach the gospel. We warn the wicked of what will occur if they miss the kingdom. We talk to them about the goodness of God, that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We compel them eternally and spiritually, not temporally and carnally. That contradicts the whole point. How can we compare the wonderful grace of God with a party? That dumbs down God's grace and raises the level of a worldly activity. And by the way, we're compelling them to the kingdom, not to some "church party" to try to show unbelievers how that we have fun just like they do. That's counterproductive.

You ask: "How do you arrive at that conclusion?"

I explained my conclusion. I could go further. I'm actually writing a book on the subject, but there are other books out there. "Ashamed of the Gospel" would be one. "Hard to Believe" would be another one.

I really do hope the best for you, Frank.

Bill Lonas said...

Sorry Phil, I hope I'm not one of annoying ones. I try to keep my posts online with the topic at hand which is:
original sin and total depravity

Philness stated that this was the reason for his choosing to not have any more kids. While I still love him (sorry, forgot to mention that in the earlier post though), I simply disagree with his reasoning.

Since I am a firm believer in the doctrine of original sin and total depravity I also believe (as Scripture confirms) in God's sovereignty in election. We do not decide who is saved and who is not. Therefore, have as many children as you desire.

Sorry if that is off topic. And sorry for cluttering up the meta with another 'sorry' post.


berry said...

I just feel the need to say that picture of the poor lady being in a fallen state from her walker, makes me cringe, and I am not surprised at all that you posted it. You are a nut.
Other than that, great article as usual.


777law said...


I hope you are not suggesting we migrate to the middle, because that is where it is "lukewarm."

I thought there was great give and take here, even if it did go off topic. Perhaps you should do follow the Rush Limbaugh pattern of leaving one day a week open to go off topic.

travelah said...

Phil, thank you for a well written article. As an Arminian I would agree whole heartedly that man is fully tainted by sin in every fibre of his being. I would posit as well that were it not for the grace of God, every man would fall deep into utter depravity for no man has escaped any portion of Adam's fall.

I did find one portion in particular curious. You wrote:

On the other hand, "total depravity" does not mean that all sinners are always as bad as they could possibly be. It does not mean that every unbeliever will live out his or her depravity the fullest. It doesn't mean all non-Christians are morally equal to brute beasts or serial killers. It does not mean that unconverted people are incapable of acts of kindness or goodwill to fellow humans. In fact, Jesus Himself stated that unbelievers do good to people in return for good that is done to them (Luke 6:33).

While it is certainly true, fallen men do good things in return for goodness, I believe you overlook those who do good not for a return but out of genuine concern and passion enabled by the grace of God. It is this grace of God that works to bring men toward what is good, convicting them in their conscience. The school bus driver who comes to the aid of the little girl in distress is not doing so out of an expected return. He does so because of the work of grace. Otherwise he has as much vestment in the small child's torment as her tormentor.

You cannot explore the total depravity of men without addressing that which prevents and works the conscience of men, the grace of God.

Blessings in Christ,

A.M. Mallett

david said...

being good or evil is a choice, and many sins we do not have to do, more so the dangerous ones, like I do not have to kill, I do not have to fornicate, I do not have to worship falsely, actually I can keep all ten commands, the modern Christian rely too much on a sacrifice and forgot good works. Good works will lift you up, so cheer up and do not use Adam's sin as an excuse to sin, only by choosing good can you purify and be innocent.