Total Depravity

This tenant of Reformed Theology as its bottom line requires that God must see man without any redeeming qualities unless He by seemingly arbitrary means chooses us and makes changes in us irrespective of who we are or what we choose in life. In Hyper-Calvinism His choices are final. Some are to be chosen to eternal life. Others are chosen to eternal destruction. Yet scripture says that He is no respecter of persons. How is that reconcilable? I realize that there are variations or degrees of application, and I may even be accused of accepting a form of predestination. In fact a form must be adopted since predestination is a Scriptural concept. But the question is, what form of God’s choosing us fits with and does not contradict other scripture?

In this article I have picked statements pertaining to 5 point Calvinism and responded to all but the last. Perhaps that is because I have dealt with it elsewhere on this blog, and perhaps God may want me to deal with it in a different fashion in a future post.

Hopefully what I am doing here will create dialog and learning for us all. I include myself in that. These statements are taken from a site which I believe to be Hyper-Calvinist. I could be wrong, and this could just be the normal in Reformed Theology. So let’s begin.

GOD AS A ‘RESPECTER OF PERSONS’?

A “respecter of persons” is one who, acting as judge, does not treat those who come before him according to their character, but who withholds from some what is justly theirs and gives to others what is not justly theirs – one who is governed by prejudice and sinister motives, rather than by justice and law. The Scriptures deny that God is the respecter of persons in this sense; and if the doctrine of Predestination represented God as doing these things, we admit that it would charge Him with injustice. 

Taken from Who are the ‘USWARD’ whom God is not willing that they perish?

JUNE 14, 2015 / MIKEJESHURUN

To begin our thinking concerning Predestination, I would suggest that you read Romans chapter one to see that God by His very creation has revealed Himself to man, and that any revelation of God to man should create within man the desire to know God. So Paul as a result of this revelation concludes that man is therefore without excuse. This is important to this discussion, because it means that God’s choosing has some basis in man’s character. If this choosing is done without this basis it becomes arbitrary and somewhat capricious.

Although Mike seems to agree with me on this point; yet, when speaking of the partiality involved in Calvinism, which Mike says is shown by God in respect to His choosing of where a person is born and to whom he is born he, MIKEJESHURUN’s says:

Will it not be admitted by every candid individual that if the persons [disproportionately born] had changed places, they probably would have changed characters also? – That if the son of the godly parents had been the son of the infidels, and had lived under the same corrupting influences, he would, in all probability, have died in his sins?

In this way Mike sees that God has been disproportionate in His choosing. This understanding is not without its problems. Consider: Eli’s sons were wicked men; David’s sons were not all like him — men after God’s own heart. Absalom was wicked and most likely was not worthy of God’s choosing. Solomon was considered by God to be the wisest of the wise. Then consider: Jesus stated to the Sadducees concerning their question about resurrection: but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;

Luke 20:35

In light of the doctrine of election or predestination of each individual before the foundation of the earth which would be without cause, What could Jesus possibly have meant? Because each of us is in the same condition (Totally Depraved). So the totally Depraved State would make God’s selection an Arbitrary one. In other words guess what if you are saved you just got lucky, just like winning the lottery, or even better. Nothing based upon the individuals actions according to this thinking has anything to do with this salvation. So what is Jesus meaning here? For one to be worthy to attain, one must be involved not arbitrarily chosen before hand.

Having said all this I do not take lightly God’s choosing. He knows the end of each man life from his beginning. He knows the very hairs on ones head before he is, and therefore, as God, He can justify that choosing, based upon what He knows. And He can do it without being a respecter of persons. By so doing neither does He violate His own word. His word is truth.

MIKEJESHURU’s site further states:

And if we are to believe that the world is governed by a personal and intelligent Being, we must also believe that these inequalities have not risen by CHANCE or ACCIDENT, but through purpose and design, and that the lot of every individual has been determined by the Sovereign good pleasure of God.

This would mean if one leads an evil life God is the cause, would it not? What am I missing here? He continues:

“Even Arminians,” says N. L. Rice, “are obliged to acknowledge that God does make great differences in the treatment of the human family, not only in the distribution of the temporal blessings, but of spiritual gifts also,—a difference which compels them, if they would be consistent, to hold the doctrine of election . . . . If the sending of the Gospel to a people, with the divine influence accompanying it, does not amount to a PERSONAL ELECTION, most assuredly the withholding of it from the people amounts generally to reprobation”.

The basic problem in this understanding is with the assumption that God is governing this world in this present age of humankind. Here is Jesus on the subject of rule in this present age. “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;”

(John 14:30)

So, God has instructed His people to disciple through the gospel the World because it needs Him. Even His chosen elect have not completed this task. So yes He gifts according to ones obedience and desires. Does God intervene? Yes. Does He rule? Not yet. He taught us to pray “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Not even believers (the chosen) are consistent in abiding His will in this age. And His will is not yet done on earth. Jesus says that Satan is its present ruler, and that he has nothing to do with Jesus.

Mike’s site says: When the Arminian admits that Christ died not for fallen angels or demons, but only for fallen men, he admits limited atonement and in principle makes the same kind of a distinction as does the Calvinist who says that Christ died for the elect only.

Yet, Scripture in every sense of the word says that Christ died even for those who hung Him on the cross. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Whosoever believes on Him shall have eternal life. So yes, they who believe will be the elect, but they are not predetermined without cause. How much more guilty are they who reject this awesome payment for their sins, than they would be were their sins not paid for on the cross. And how much more justified would these sinners feel on judgment day once they would come to know that the Lord did not love them enough to pay for their sins and then they can truly blame God for sending them to hell.

So then He hath mercy on WHOM HE WILL and whom He will He hardeneth,” Rom. 9:15-18.

No problem, He is all knowing remember— the end from the beginning He knows it all. So for Him to have mercy on whom He wills is just. It is just for Him to harden the heart of the man who rejects Him, simply because He died for his sin. If man were totally depraved and chosen for destruction without cause why would Paul tell us that those will perish who “did not believe” and that for this same reason they will be given over to “a deluding influence” 2 Thess 2:9-11. How much more deluded can one be than to be totally depraved?

Mike’s site continues: Grace, from its own nature, must be FREE and the very INEQUALITY OF ITS DISTRIBUTION demonstrates that it is TRULY GRATUITOUS.

So if we accept and consider that grace is free, why does it become necessary to withhold it from some in order to prove that it is free to others? Mike now takes us to other Of Jesus words:

In Matt 11:25 we read of a prayer in which Jesus said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” In those words He thanked the Father for doing that very thing which Arminians exclaim against as unjust and censure as partial.

Perhaps I will continue our dialog by stating that I would never accuse God of being unjust or partial.

Why does it say in scripture that it rains on the good and the evil alike? In fact in the case of the rich man and Lazarus; the rich man’s grace and gifting were far greater than Lazarus’ lot in life. It appears that the rich and wise are granted more mercy so that they are even more without excuse. And to harden the heart of those who have been granted so much is totally justified when they give no honor to God who has been so gracious to them. But the claim that the choosing of a soul for hell without due cause against that one and before that one is even born into his sinful state is not the act of a just God. To on the other hand choose some to salvation before they are born without any consideration of how they might react to this gift of grace would also of necessity make one a respecter of persons, whereas to do so after they have either received or rejected His grace would make Him just in so doing.

Now I will end with this: For man who is fallen to choose one beggar to bless with a contribution over one other beggar is expected of the fallen human race. For God to choose me over you without reason of our positive or negative response to His Revelation of His grace to us, and no matter how that revelation is made would be no different unless He considers that life. It could only be the creation itself as stated in Romans 1 that brings one to belief in God. For we are responsible to God for only what we have been given. “To whom much is given much is required.”

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’

Ezekiel 33:6

Actions are required even by those appointed by God. Actions are required because of the very teachings of the scriptures themselves.

My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

James 5:19-20 NASB

If any among you — the elect brethren— strays from the truth. What is the truth? Could be Jesus – He is the truth. Could be the Word – Thy Word is truth. Could simply be a twisting of the word which can cause, if not turned back, ones own destruction. How can this be if a man has nothing to do with his election?