Calvinism Destroyed (Total Depravity)

Today, we’re going to take a Biblical vaccine.  When you get immunized from something doctors take a little of the poison, introduce it to the body so the body recognizes it is harmful and defends against it.  So it is with false doctrine.  This isn’t something I do often nor even care to do.  I don’t like to highlight heresies to hit them on the head because any press is more than you needed to know about it anyway.  But we covered some calvinistic proof texts in our study of Ephesians, so we’re going to nuke it while we’re here.

Calvinism is named for John Calvin.  It isn’t the only fatalistic viewpoint in philosophy.  There are other philosophies that believe in determinism, or that all things are predetermined.  However those philosophies don’t use sin as the reason things are predetermined.  A materialist believes he is simply a conglomerate of chemicals that react to each other and so his ways follow a determined course.  A Calvinist believes man’s ways are predetermined because of sin.  Muslims believe God’s will is never thwarted.  These are all anti-biblical, fatalistic viewpoints that arrive at the same conclusions from different parts of the world.  What it tells you is that there is a carnal fascination with fatalism.  Why?

  • There is a carnal fascination with other people being under judgment; it’s called hatred.  Calvinists often have an unhealthy fascination with the hatred of God.  They love that, Esau have I HATED, as though that were their life verse.
  • There is also a carnal fascination with having no responsibility for your actions; it’s called a love of darkness.  Men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
  • There is also a carnal fascination to ponder things that don’t make sense; dark sayings.  A calvinist preaches a God that even He claims not to know.  The calvinist is faced at every turn defending a god he can’t defend and constantly changing clear verses to fit a sadistic idea.  Then he has to explain why his idea of god is not sadistic.  But as long as you have questions, you have philosophers.  Calvinism appeals to the high minded who love questions more than answers.  Folks who the Bible calls heady – intellectual types – who prefer mental gymnastics to the simple common sense of scripture.  Heady folks forget that wisdom is not taking simple things and complicating them.  It is taking complicated things and simplifying them just like Solomon does in the Proverbs.

Calvinism suffers from trying to support a horrible, unbiblical view of God so it goes by different names today.  Such as reformed theology, sovereign grace, free grace, doctrines of grace, and sovereignty of God.  None of those sound bad, but it’s better marketing than saying God arbitrarily decides who to throw in Hell and who to select for Heaven before they are born.  Calvinism has wormed its way through Presbyterians, Lutherans, southern Baptists started latching onto it in the 80’s or 90’s and recently independent Baptist have been seduced by it.  Calvinism is unwittingly promoted in the NIV.  I say unwittingly because scholars and translators who don’t believe the Bible are so clumsy and arrogant they know not at what they stumble.  So they unwittingly provide the vessel for an unclean spirit in an unclean endeavor.

Calvinism is summed up in the acrostic TULIP:

T = Total Depravity, U = Unconditional Election, L = Limited Atonement, I = Irresistible Grace, P = Perseverance of the Saints.

Definition of Total Depravity

  • They say total depravity means total inability of a sinner to trust Jesus Christ because a sinner has no free will to do so.
  • Total depravity says sin destroyed man’s will, but the Bible says the two are not related.
  • Calvinists think that dead in tresspasses and sins means the will is dead.  The idea being man can only do according to his sinful nature.
    • They use the analogy that a corrupt tree can only bring forth corrupt fruit and good tree can only bring forth good fruit.
    • But that analogy is stupid in light of a Christian who is a new creature.  Does he or she ONLY do according to his new nature?  Of course not.  And what about the trees that produce no fruit?  So the illustration has nothing to do with the absence or presence of the will being locked in to its nature.
  • The problem is that the Calvinist puts the will of man inside the casket with the vile body.  The will is not located in the body though.
    • Calvinism doesn’t know what to do with a lost man obeying the law of God naturally as in Romans 2:14-15 according to his conscience.  Again showing that the will of man is not relegated to the casket.
    • Look at Romans 7:18-20 – the will is present, and not only that, is struggling with the vile flesh.
    • Now look at the order of things and also the opportunity in Romans 6:16-18.  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
    • Not only does obedience come before liberty, but obedience is an option
  • The idea that fallen man only does evil contradicts the general good that man does according to the Bible
    • Matthew 7:11 – So bad people can do good things.  Don’t get scared of that thought, it’s true.  See also Genesis 31:24.  God even recognizes that an unregenerate man can say good things.
    • But justification has nothing to do with the good things you’ve done, it has to do with sin and who pays for your sin.  And whatever good things have been done in your life don’t matter in light of the sin that has to be paid for.
  • Jesus also said that the reason people don’t come to Him is because they don’t want to, not because they can’t.  See John 5:40.
  • Cornelius is an example of a sinner seeking after what he knows is right and then having the gospel brought to him (Acts 10:2, 22, 11:4).

Deliverance of the will in Calvinism

  • Calvinism rises and falls on this false idea of total depravity.  After confusing what man’s sinful nature actually means, the rest of the TULIP has to be put in place of necessity.
  • So a calvinist says that sin destroyed the will, and salvation restores the will.
    • Look at Romans 7:18-20.  Is Paul saved at the time of this writing?  So why is he saying there is a part of him that still doesn’t want to do right?  I thought his nature changed.
    • Not just Paul, it’s the same for all born again believers.  Look at Galatians 5:17.  So all Christians carry a nature that is still in opposition to God.  But the will is still not located in the corruptible body.
  • This brings up more convoluted theology of a calvinist that says since a man has no free will, then he has to be regenerated by a work of the Holy Spirit before he can make a decision to trust Christ.  They say he has to be born again before he can be born again.  
    • This incredibly stupid teaching first of all contradicts itself.
    • Second, it leads to the thought that man was chosen to salvation from the foundation of the world.  Ephesians 1:3 is the verse they misread to create that heresy.  But if you were chosen before the foundation of the world, you were never born in sin.
    • Notice Ephesians 1:3 has nothing to do with you being personally chosen to be saved, it is explaining the character of God’s people that He’s chosen all of them to have.
    • Third, it leads a Calvinist to say that babies that die or mentally handicapped or children who don’t know good from evil are sent to Hell if they are not chosen for salvation.  But sin is not imputed where there is no law.  No one is judged for their potential to break the law.
    • I told a Calvinist one time if he was honest in his stupid assessment he’d turn himself into the police for being a criminal since he had potential to break the law. The Calvinist applies that standard to babies, mentally retarded, and children and ought to apply it to himself, but they don’t

Total depravity corrupts the minds of Bible readers by:

  • By forcing the calvinist to defend a dishonest god who makes false invitations.
    • Come unto me all the labor and are heavy laden…
    • The spirit and the bride say Come…
    • Come, let us reason together.
    • Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.
    • Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
  • Now, a calvinist can’t have a lying god, so these invitations have to mean something other than what they say. The invitations in a calvinist’s mind are only to the saved.  Which is the second point of the TULIP that we’ll look at later.
  • By poor analogies
    • A calvinist will say dead in trespasses and sins means a dead man can’t make a choice.
    • Problem is dead never means nonexistence.  Second problem is spiritually dead people walk, talk, make decisions all the time.  Thirdly, even a regenerated man is said to be doctrinally dead (Romans 6:2, Colossians 3:3).  Fourthly, a physically dead man in Luke 16 is said to be able to lift up his eyes, feel torment, see, speak, pray, and reason.
    • So a calvinist will take John 1:13 and Romans 9:16 and interpret them as the will of man to receive Jesus Christ.
  • By misinterpreting context and cross references
    • John 1:13 has nothing to do with man’s ability to make a choice.  It has to do with being born of the spirit of God which is a birth by the spirit of God to those who believe.  The source of the new birth is not relatives, preachers, priests.  The condition of the new birth is found in John 1:12.
    • Romans 9:16 confuses the mercy of God with salvation.  God shows mercy to people who are not saved (See Matthew 9:27, 15:22, 17:15, 20:30).
    • John 3:3 – verse means what it says.  See the kingdom of God is not the same thing as salvation which the calvinist says it is.
    • John 8:43 – Context is Jesus talking to Pharisees who are under conditional deafness because they don’t want to listen.
    • Romans 8:7-8 – Now way for carnally minded man to please God. Trouble is that applies to saved or unsaved.  Calvinists say that carnally minded means inability to ever please, however it’s possible for an unsaved sinner to exercise faith in Christ through preaching and please God just like 1 Corinthians 1:21 says.
    • John 6:44 – God has to draw men in order for them to be able to have free will according to calvinists which ignores just three verses later 47.  Secondly, the drawing is interpreted in John 12:32 as the crucifixion.
    • Romans 3:11 – The verse doesn’t say a man CAN’T seek God, but that’s how calvinists interpret it.  Their interpretation ignores God’s command to a sinner to seek him in Isaiah 55:6, Amos 5:4, Zephaniah 2:3, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Jeremiah 29:13-14, Hebrews 11:6, Psalm 119:2.  Secondly, seeking God doesn’t mean salvation.  The calvinists seems to think every word in the Bible means salvation instead of just reading what it says.  Thirdly, this verse is dealing with the general masses of people, not individuals like Cornelius in Acts.  Fourthly, God’s revelation is always required first.  But that has nothing to do with an inability to choose, in fact, it means the opposite, man has a responsibility to choose.
    • Joshua said choose you this day whom you will serve.  Talking to rebellious Jews who were held accountable without ever having been born again.