Home > False Doctrine > Arminian Errors Pt 3

Arminian Errors Pt 3

(ii) TOTAL DEPRAVITY

The Truth of God teaches that man through the Fall is in a state of spiritual death and alienation from God. He is depraved and defiled in his nature. His understanding, will, and affections are under the power and love of sin. ‘Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness’ (Mark 7:21-22). ‘The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no not one’ (Psalm 14:2,3). “The whole human race,” in the words of Dr. Charles Hodge, “by their apostacy from God are totally depraved. By total depravity is not meant that all men are equally wicked, nor that any man is as thoroughly corrupt as it is possible for a man to be—but there is common to all men a total alienation of the soul from God so that no unrenewed man either understands or seeks after God: no such man ever makes God his portion, or God’s glory the chief end of his being. The apostacy from God is total or complete. All men worship and serve the creature rather than, and more than, the Creator. They are all therefore, declared in Scripture to be spiritually dead. They are destitute of any principle of spiritual life.” That is man’s condition as he is before God. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God’ (Romans 8:7,8). ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee: Ye must be born again’ (John 3:6,7). ‘The heart is deceitful above all things; and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Arminians deny the total depravity of man, in that they hold that the will of man is free and has the ability to choose Christ and the salvation that is in Him. Such teaching is false and delusive. The will of man is free only to choose according to his moral nature, and as his nature is under the dominion of sin, man chooses accordingly. “Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.” (‘[Westminster] Confession of Faith,’ Chapter 9, Section 3). ‘The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Cor. 2:14). ‘No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day’ (John 6:44). ‘Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father. From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him’ (John 6:65,66). All who are born again are said to be ‘born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God’ (John 1:13). The “evangelism” of decisionism, coming forward to the front, or standing up to make a decision for Christ, or signing decision cards, is purely Arminian. It is not of God, but of the will of man and can only end in delusion and eternal despair.

This “evangelism” of decisionism is based on another false and erroneous doctrine held and propagated by Arminians, that of a Universal Atonement. “There is in every mind, containing any acquaintance with gospel truth,” said the eminent Dr. John Kennedy of Dingwall, “the idea that an interest in Christ’s death is essential to safety. There is in every unrenewed heart a desire to avoid the necessity of dealing with a personal Saviour, and to attain to hope, through the gospel, without being ‘born again.’ The figment of a universal atonement, has been produced to meet this craving. It is just the gospel perverted to suit the taste of proud carnal man. ‘Christ died for all, and therefore for me; I believe this, and therefore I shall be saved,’ are the short stages of an easy journey to the hope of peace. To believe that Christ died for me, because He died for all, is to ‘believe a lie’; but even if it were true, of what advantage could this faith be to me? His dying for me, because for all, secures nothing for me. And to believe this, is something else than to believe in Christ Himself. It is, in effect, making His death a substitute for Himself. But instead of looking on the death of Christ as it refers to you, look, in the first instance, on its bearing on His own fitness to save, and on the prospects of all who are one with Him. To view it thus, is to see Christ commended instead of superseded by His death. The first thing, I require to be assured of, is Christ’s fitness to save me, a sinner. It is in Him I am called to trust. Ere I can do so, I must be persuaded that He is worthy of my confidence. This I cannot be assured of, unless I know Him as a sacrifice for sin. The merit of His sacrifice I cannot appreciate, but in the light of His personal glory. And I cannot appropriate the benefits secured by it, till I have first taken hold of Himself by faith. What I discover in the light of the cross is, that He can save me in a way that shall be to the glory of God. This is His great recommendation as a Saviour to me. If this were not true regarding Him, I could never confide in Him. And in the light in which I realize the infinite merit of His sacrifice, I know His love to be such as ‘passeth knowledge.’ To connect that love and the death by which it was commended, with those whom the Father gave to Him, does not deprive me of hope. It only assures me of how certain, and therefore how desirable the redemption is, which was purchased by His blood. The Person, in all His power and love, is presented to me; and the authority of God shuts me up to the acceptance of Him, in order to my salvation. It is light, revealing the glorious person, the infinite merit, and the ineffable love of Christ, and a call requiring me to come to Him; and not any supposed reference of His death to me, that encourages me to receive Him that I may be saved.”

William MacLean-Arminianism-Another Gospel

  1. May 27, 2014 at 10:17 am

    “To believe that Christ died for me, because He died for all, is to ‘believe a lie’; but even if it were true, of what advantage could this faith be to me? His dying for me, because for all, secures nothing for me. And to believe this, is something else than to believe in Christ Himself. It is, in effect, making His death a substitute for Himself.”

    Does this make sense to anyone? It’s gobbly-gook, IMO.

    Of course he died for all and of course he’s my substitute.
    I was told by a Calvinist that we do not tell sinners that they may not be among the elect. We only tell that to more mature Christians. Um, ok? We only lie to them until we have them well on their way?
    Also, classical armenians such as Wesley did teach total depravity.

    • May 31, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Thank you for visiting and commenting.

      You quoted from my post and then stated that what was posted was gobbly-gook. This is not a valid argument. If you are going to continue to comment here, then I would advise presenting valid arguments.

      You go on to say:

      “Of course he died for all and of course he’s my substitute.”

      Here you are mistaken. If Christ died for ‘all,’ then he could not have been anyone’s substitute, seeing that he made a general atonement. This atonement did not secure your salvation since it was a general atonement made for all mankind. A general atonement has no particular person in mind. This type of atonement is only made effectual if someone accepts it based on their on ability. Since it is only effective based upon the ability of the one who receives it, then Christ could not have been making a substitutionary sacrifice for that individual person. Since all men are totally depraved and are in bondage to sin, then no one would have accepted it.

      Scripture is plain that God had certain individuals in mind when Christ hung on the cross. This is why Christ stated that he laid down his life for his sheep. This is why the angel declared that his name would be Jesus for he would save his people from their sins and this is why when Jesus passed the cup he stated: “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

      As for telling people they are elect: We cannot tell anyone that they are elect seeing that we have no idea who the elect are. Only God knows this, seeing that he chose them out before the world began. 2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

      Finally stating that Wesley also believed in total depravity is a fallacious argument known as “appeal to authority.”

      In a final note I find it strange that those with a false gospel and a false view of scripture will search the net just to find places where they can comment in order to try to convince others that they are wrong. I am secure in what I believe and believe that scripture teaches what I believe, therefore I have no need in trying to find blogs that I can debate on, against what others are posting, that is not according to scripture.

  2. May 31, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Interesting. But not convincing. So, just to be clear, because I follow Wesley more closely then Calvin, I have a false gospel?
    When you put something on the web and allow comments, chances are, there is someone out there who God has predestined before creation to comment on your post. 🙂
    I would think perhaps that someone secure in their beliefs would have no need to insult those who leave comments.

    ” A general atonement has no particular person in mind. ”
    True and false. A general atonement has every person in mind. Christ died once for all.

    • June 1, 2014 at 10:19 am

      My friend you need to reread your two previous comments. The insulting of someones position came from your side first.

      If you are going to visit a blog, don’t enter with comments stating that something is gobbly-gook. Enter with sound arguments against their position instead.

      And no, a general atonement would not be a substitutionary sacrifice unless you are willing to affirm universalism.

      If Christ died for every single individual in the world and some individuals end up in Hell because of unbelief, then Christ did not die for all their sins. In that view of salvation, the sin of unbelief was not atoned for.

      • June 8, 2014 at 9:06 am

        I was told that Wesley believed in the doctrine of total depravity. This is only true to a certain extent. Wesley believed in the doctrine known as preventing grace. The word preventing is an old English word that simply means to precede, so that the term could be called preceding grace. The doctrine of preceding grace holds that God’s grace is given to all humanity, thus freeing them from total depravity, and leaving them morally capable of making a decision to come to Christ or following God by the light of nature in which they have received. The Bible nowhere states that grace is given to all men. The Bible nowhere states that faith comes through the light of nature. On the contrary, the Bible is plain that God’s grace is only given to those in which God has predestined to save and faith comes by hearing the word of God.

        Here is a quote from Wesley:

        Yet this is no excuse for those who continue in sin, and lay the blame upon their Maker, by saying, “It is God only that must quicken us; for we cannot quicken our own souls. For allowing that all the souls of men are dead in sin by nature, this excuses none, seeing there is no man that is in a state of mere nature; there is no man, unless he has quenched the Spirit, that is wholly void of the grace of God. No man living is entirely destitute of what is vulgarly called natural conscience. But this is not natural: It is more properly termed, preventing grace. Every man has a greater or less measure of this, which waiteth not for the call of man. Everyone has, sooner or later, good desires; although the generality of men stifle them before they can strike deep root, or produce any considerable fruit. Everyone has some measure of that light, some faint glimmering ray, which, sooner or later, more or less, enlightens every man that cometh into the world. And everyone, unless he be one of the small number whose conscience is seared as with a hot iron, feels more or less uneasy when he acts contrary to the light of his own conscience. So that no man wins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace which he hath.

        John Wesley-Sermon 85 On Working Out Our Own Salvation

        Here is a link refuting the Arminian doctrine known as preventing grace.

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