An Examination of the Five Points of Calvinism – Part I: Total Depravity by Brian Schwertley

By April 3, 2011 June 24th, 2019 Five Points of Calvinism, Total Depravity

Introduction

The modern era is a time of great theological ignorance, indifference, and declension. Most of the denominations and churches which are generally referred to as conservative, Bible-believing and evangelical have in the past few hundred years succumbed to Arminian1 or semi-Pelagian interpretations of the doctrine of salvation. The doctrines of sovereign grace which have been nicknamed “Augustinianism” or “Calvinism” have been abandoned as obsolete, unfair, unbiblical, and irrational. The typical evangelical usually hears the name Calvin or the term Calvinism treated scornfully from the pulpit or at a Bible study. It is even labeled a dangerous heresy by some. People are falsely told that Calvinism destroys personal responsibility; that it teaches that people are little better than robots, etc.

The purpose of this book is to examine the five points of Calvinism in order to prove that they are thoroughly scriptural and to dispel the common misconceptions often heard regarding them. This task will involve refuting some of the typical Arminian doctrines which are so popular today. Many poor souls have been seduced by Arminianism’s appeal to human autonomy. People need to be made aware that Armianism is a deadly perversion of the gospel of Christ. It implicitly denies the sovereignty of God, it perverts the doctrine of original sin, it turns the doctrine of election upside down and makes the new birth dependent upon man’s will. In the Arminian scheme men are not saved through faith which is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8), but rather because of faith. Furthermore, Christ’s atoning death is not viewed as securing any person’s salvation but merely making salvation possible between God and sinful man.

Chapter 1
Total Depravity

Many doctrines of the Bible are intimately related. If a person holds to a deficient view of one doctrine, it will logically lead to a defective view of other related doctrines. A doctrine that historically has had a crucial influence upon the doctrine of salvation is the doctrine of original sin. Original sin refers to the sinful state and condition into which all men are born as a result of Adam’s sin. The guilt of Adam’s sin is imputed to all men, while the pollution and inner corruption of sin is inherited by ordinary generation. Professing Christians differ regarding man’s state after the fall. These differences have led to divergent views regarding redemption. Theological liberals have generally denied the fall and original sin, and thus have developed a humanistic, moralistic, good works version of Christianity. They openly deny the biblical doctrine of the vicarious atonement and the supernatural nature of salvation. Evangelicals and fundamentalists hold to an Arminian or semi-Pelagian view of the fall. They believe that the whole human race was in Adam when he fell; that human nature is thus tainted with hereditary sin and that all men by nature are inclined toward evil. But they believe that man still has a free will and still has the ability to discern spiritual truth and believe in Christ without the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. They view man as spiritually sick but not dead. Man may need the help of the Holy Spirit, but it is man’s will which controls this help. Man is said to be the author of faith and repentance. According to this view, salvation is a cooperative effort between God and man in which man plays the decisive role. The biblical view (often called Augustinianism or Calvinism) holds that the fall has not just rendered mankind sick or disabled, but rather spiritually dead. Men are totally depraved and totally unable to respond to the gospel without first being regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Man’s will is not free to choose spiritual good, because it is enslaved to a heart that cannot discern spiritual truth, that hates God and loves sin. This view holds that salvation is totally a work of God.
Adam was the federal head (or representative) of the human race in the garden of Eden. When he sinned, the entire human race fell in him. “The consequences of Adam’s sin are all comprehended under the term death, in its widest sense.”2 Spiritual and physical death passed to all men. The guilt of Adam’s sin is passed unto all by imputation, and the pollution (innate hereditary moral depravity) is passed to all men naturally born of Adam’s seed. All men are born sinners by nature. “The imagination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5). “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (Ps. 58:3). “That which is born of flesh is flesh” (Jn. 3:6). “We were by nature the children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). Contrary to modern evangelicalism, the Bible teaches that the penalty for sin (spiritual death, etc.) and man’s inherited moral corruption have rendered man totally unable to respond to the gospel. The Bible, therefore, teaches that salvation is absolutely and solely a work of God’s grace.

Man’s Depravity

The fall of man has rendered man totally depraved. This means that from birth man’s heart is morally corrupt. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mt. 15:19). The word “heart” in Scripture represents every aspect of man’s nature, including the intellect, will and emotions. Since this inherent corruption extends to every part of man’s nature, it is unbiblical to assert that the human will is unaffected by the fall. “Man is totally depraved in the sense that everything about his nature is in rebellion against God.”3 “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). “Sinfulness…describes unregenerate man’s rebellious nature…. Everything that unregenerate man does or thinks is undergirded by rebellious inclinations against God or motivations that are sinful. He is a sinner and violates God’s law because he is bound by that sinful nature inherited from Adam (Rom. 5:12).”4 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).

The doctrine of total depravity is easily misunderstood. It does not mean that man is as wicked as he could be. It is obvious that the pagan man who works hard to support his family, who is faithful to his wife, who obeys the civil laws, etc., is much better than a hardened criminal or serial murderer. It does not mean that an unsaved man cannot do good deeds. Jesus Himself acknowledged that evil men could give good gifts to their children (Mt. 7:11). It does not mean that the image of God in man in the broader sense is destroyed. Man still has reasoning capabilities and a conscience that discriminates between good and evil. Man has an active spirit that creates beautiful works of art, music, architecture, and that makes great strides in science. “What it does mean is that, since the fall, man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God or to do anything meriting salvation.”5 “[T]here is no spiritual good, that is, good in relation to God, in the sinner at all, but only perversion.”6 Custance writes: “The ability of man to do good deeds in no way challenges his basic depravity. For what is corrupt in human nature is motivation, the inability of man to be good.”7 A wicked person may go work in a soup kitchen in order to feel good about himself, but he cannot go even one day without committing sin, because by nature he is a sinner.

What this inward depravity does is make all unregenerate men hostile to God and spiritual truth, and in love with sin and self. “Sin, and not righteousness, has become his natural element so that he has no desire for salvation.”8 Unregenerate men may act very religious and outwardly good, but these actions do not flow from a true love of God and His glory; they flow from selfish, evil motives. To the unregenerate man, religion is something to make himself feel good; or to receive glory from other men. The author of Hebrews says that “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (11:6). Paul says “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). The proverb says that even “the plowing of the wicked [is] sin” (Pr. 21:4). True faith in Christ, which issues forth from a regenerate heart, is the foundation of genuine virtue. An act which is outwardly good, but done in the service of self and Satan, cannot please God. “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7-8). Paul describes unregenerate man as continually suppressing the truth about God and replacing it with various forms of idolatry in order to serve his own sinful lusts (Rom. 1:18-32). Man is born a covenant breaker with an innate hostility toward Jehovah. Man has a heart that at every moment suppresses the true knowledge of God.

Man’s Inability

Total depravity describes man’s inherited pollution from Adam, the inherent corruption that extends to every part of man’s nature. Total inability refers to the effect of man’s inherent corruption on his spiritual powers and discernment. Berkhof writes: “When we speak of man’s corruption as total inability, we mean two things: (1) that the unrenewed sinner cannot do any act, however insignificant, which fundamentally meets with God’s approval and answers to the demands of God’s holy law; and (2) that he cannot change his fundamental preference for sin and self to love for God, nor even make an approach to such a change. In a word, he is unable to do any spiritual good.”9 The Westminster Confession of Faith describes total inability as follows: “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.”10 Gordon Clark writes: “…Adam’s ability to will what is good was lost by the fall. From that time on man could not chose to will ‘any spiritual good accompanying salvation.’ True, a man might will to be honest, to support his family, to discharge most of his obligations as a citizen. In colloquial language these things are called good. But they are not spiritual goods, and they have nothing to do with salvation. Furthermore, a man cannot will to be saved. He cannot convert himself, nor even make preparations for conversion. The simple reason is that he is dead in sin.”11

This doctrine of total inability plays a crucial role in understanding Christ’s redemption. If men are dead in sin, helpless, and cannot believe in Christ; then the salvation of sinners of necessity involves much more than Christ dying for all men and then waiting to see who will accept His gift. If unsaved men are unable to choose or to will any spiritual good, then apart from a spiritual rebirth, no man would choose Christ. If the doctrine of total inability is true, then Christ’s death not only removed the guilt of sin and God’s curse against sinners, but also must be the foundation and guarantee of the application of His work to specific individuals. The common evangelical’s view is that Christ, by His death, made salvation possible for all men; that forgiveness is there waiting for men to receive; that the Holy Spirit may gently urge men to change, but cannot interfere with man’s free will. This cannot be true if men are totally depraved and unable to respond to divine truth. Men don’t need a gentle push; they need a spiritual resurrection, a quickening. It would mean that God “in his saving operations, deals not generally with mankind at large, but particularly with the individuals who are actually saved.”12 It would mean that regeneration must precede and not follow saving faith. It would mean that God works directly upon the human soul in salvation; that Christ is not passively waiting, but actually saving His people. It would mean that salvation is totally a work of God—that God receives all the glory; that man contributes nothing of his own to the process; that even faith and repentance are gifts from above. Salvation is by sovereign grace. Since the doctrine of total inability is so important as it relates to other doctrines, one must carefully examine the scriptural evidence for it. “What saith the scriptures?” (Gal. 4:30, KJV). The evidence is abundant, strong, and clear.

The Bondage of the Will

The whole faulty system of salvation as taught by modern evangelicalism rests upon the dogma of “free will.” Arminians argue that man’s ability to will spiritual good and choose spiritual good (Jesus Christ) was left unaffected by the fall. There is no question that man is free in the sense that he acts as he pleases. But can the will of man act independently from the human heart? “Is it an independent, self-determining power?—i.e., does the Will stand apart from the other great faculties or powers of the soul, a man within a man, who can reverse the man and fly against the man and split him into segments, as a glass snake breaks in pieces? Or, is the Will connected with the other faculties, as the tail of the serpent is with his body, and that again with his head, so that where the head goes, the whole creature goes, and, as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he?”13 The will of man always acts in accordance with man’s heart or sinful nature. This is the explicit teaching of Scripture. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Lk. 6:45). “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Pr. 4:23). “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil“ (Jer. 13:23). “For from within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders…” (Mk. 7:21). Jesus says that the source of sinful thoughts and acts is the heart and not the will. In other words, the will simply follows or carries out the desires, inclinations, habits, etc. of the heart.

“Heart” in the Bible refers to the innermost core of man’s being. In includes the whole human nature (i.e., the mind, will, intellect, emotions, etc.). So, although man is at liberty to choose whatever he desires, since his heart is evil he will only choose between greater and lesser evil. Those outwardly good deeds that he does do are not prompted by love to God and thus are not spiritually good. “Why does the sinner choose a life of sinful indulgence? Because he prefers it, all arguments to the contrary notwithstanding, though of course he does not prefer the effects of such a course. And why does he prefer it? Because his heart is sinful.”14 Boettner writes: “Man is a free agent but he cannot originate the love of God in his heart. His will is free in the sense that it is not controlled by any force outside of himself. As the bird with a broken wing is ‘free’ to fly but not able, so the natural man is free to come to God but not able. How can he repent of his sin when he loves it? How can he come to God when he hates Him? This is the inability of the will under which man labors.”15

Although man is spiritually impotent he is still responsible for his actions. Man rendered himself unable in the garden; he is not coerced by outside forces. Man freely sins and loves it. His will is in bondage to his wicked heart. “He cannot renew his own will, change his own heart, nor regenerate his bad nature.”16 He is helpless and hopeless apart from a sovereign work of grace upon his heart by God the Holy Spirit. This doctrine of total inability explains why the Bible (unlike modern evangelicalism) never attributes salvation to an act of the human will. “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” (Rom. 9:16). “Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God“ (Jn. 1:13). “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (Jn. 15:16). “Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to listen to my word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (Jn. 8:43-44). When Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5), He really meant nothing. Luther writes: “It is totally unheard of—grammar and logic to say that nothing is the same as something; to logicians, the thing is an impossibility, for the two are contradictory!”17

Total inability and the bondage of the will are taught throughout Scripture. What follows is a summary of the biblical teaching regarding the state of fallen, unregenerate man:

1. The Unregenerate Are Spiritually Dead

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we [Christians] all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:1-5). Because of man’s fall into sin, men are dead. Unregenerate man can no more choose Christ or see spiritual truth than a rotting corpse can play tennis or debate philosophy. There is no middle ground between being alive and being dead. Unregenerate men are not just sick, handicapped or impaired but dead. The biblical view of the unregenerate is totally at odds with most fundamentalist pastors and teachers who teach that unregenerate man has the ability to choose Christ. “You may use all human persuasion possible, but you cannot give spiritual life where death reigns. God alone, by a creative act, can bring life out of death. Spiritual arguments to an unregenerate man are only warm clothes to a corpse.”18 “If a man is dead spiritually, therefore, it is surely equally as evident that he is unable to perform any spiritual actions, and thus the doctrine of man’s moral

[or spiritual]

inability rests upon strong Scriptural evidence.”19

When Paul compares the mind of believers with the unregenerate he states unequivocally that unbelievers cannot even do one thing that pleases God. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:5-8) The carnal mind has no ability to change itself. Luther writes: “Let the guardian of ‘free will’ answer the following question: How can endeavours towards good be made by that which is death, and displeases God, and is enmity against God, and disobeys God, and cannot obey him?”20 Murray writes: “Here we have nothing less than the doctrine of the total inability to be well-pleasing to God or to do what is well-pleasing in his sight. In the whole passage we have the biblical basis for the doctrines of total depravity and total inability. It should be recognized, therefore, that resistance to these doctrines must come to terms not simply with the present day proponents of these doctrines but with the apostle himself. ‘Enmity against God’ is nothing other than total depravity and ‘cannot please God’ nothing less than total inability.”21

2. The Unregenerate Cannot Repent

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil” (Jer. 13:23). “They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions…having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin…. It has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire’” (2 Pet. 2:13-14, 22). “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:6-8). Without the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit applied to a man’s heart, no one would ever believe in Christ and repent. Genuine repentance is the fruit of a regenerate heart. “They glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’” (Ac. 11:18).

3. The Unregenerate Do Not Seek God

“The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have all together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no not one” (Ps. 14:2-3). “There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God” (Rom. 3:11). Why is it that not even one man seeks after God? It is because men cannot seek God. Luther writes: “Do we not know what it means to be ignorant of God, not to understand, not to seek God, not to fear God, to go out of the way and to be unprofitable? Are not the words perfectly clear? and do they not teach that all men are ignorant of God and despise God, and moreover go out of the way after evil, and are unprofitable for good? Paul is not here speaking of ignorance in seeking food, or of contempt for money, but of ignorance and contempt of religion and godliness.”22 The idea that unregenerate men are objectively examining different philosophies and religions in search of the truth is totally false. Unregenerate men turn to false religions, philosophies and ideologies to escape reality, to escape from the true God (Rom. 1:21-28). Those who seek God do so only because God first sought them out and changed their stony hearts into hearts of flesh: “I [God] was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me” (Rom. 10:20, cf. Isa. 65:1).

4. The Unregenerate Cannot Understand or Receive Spiritual Truth

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see [comprehend, perceive] the kingdom of God’” (Jn. 3:3) “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). The unregenerate man can study the Bible and learn what it teaches regarding history and God’s way of salvation. He may even teach a course on the Bible as literature at a major university. But to him the Bible is mythological nonsense; it is foolishness. Apart from the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, people are completely incapable of discerning spiritual truth: “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile. Therefore let no one boast in men” (1 Cor. 3:20-21).

5. The Unregenerate Are Under the Power of Satan

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). “I [Jesus Christ] will deliver you [the Apostle Paul] from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:17-18). “Man is loyal to the god of darkness and loves darkness rather than the Light. His will is, therefore, not at all ‘free.’ It is bound by the flesh to the prince of darkness.”23 Men who have “been taken captive by [Satan] to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:26) can only be set free by someone stronger than Satan—Jesus Christ and His Spirit (Mt. 12:29).

6. The Unregenerate Dwell in Darkness

“In Him [Jesus Christ] was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (Jn. 1:4-5). “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (Jn. 3:19-20). “They…became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened…. God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Rom. 1:21, 28). Pure darkness is the absence of all light. Those who are not born again dwell in spiritual darkness. How can those who are in total darkness, who hate the light, choose or cooperate with light? The unregenerate will not choose the light because he cannot choose the light. It is impossible with man. “Non-existent spiritual life cannot give being to itself. Light is not brought out of darkness, neither does love come from hate. Every seed bears its own kind. ‘That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit’ (Jn. 3:6). A new creature, therefore, cannot be the product of natural power.”24

7. The Unregenerate Are Deaf and Blind to Spiritual Truth

“Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed” (Isa. 6:9-10; cf. Mk. 4:12, Lk. 8:10). “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil…. He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (Jn. 8:43-44, 47). The preaching of the gospel is useless to the deaf. The written word is of no effect to the blind. Only God can open blind eyes and deaf ears. “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both” (Pr. 20:12).

8. The Unregenerate Are Helpless

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). “And when I [God] passed you by and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’” (Ezek. 16:6).

9. The Unregenerate Have Uncircumcised Hearts of Stone

“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears!” (Acts 7:51). “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary’“ (Ezek. 44:9). “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh“ (Ezek. 11:19). “I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26). An uncircumcised heart is a heart still enslaved to the filth and pollution of the flesh. A heart of stone is totally unresponsive to spiritual truth. An unregenerate man will no more respond to the gospel than will a rock. Regeneration is absolutely essential if fallen man is to believe.

Conclusion

One often hears sermons in fundamentalist churches in which people are told that “Christ did everything He is going to do to save you; now it is up to you to do your part.” Salvation is viewed as a cup of medicine that is of no use whatever until a man accepts the cup and drinks it. The idea that Christ can or will save only those who of their own “free will” are willing to accept Him completely contradicts what the Bible says about the effect of total depravity upon the human race. All men are dead spiritually (Eph. 2:1-5), hate the truth, hate Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:19-21), dwell in darkness (Jn. 1:4-5), have a heart of stone (Ezek. 11:19), are helpless (Ezek. 16:4-6), cannot repent (Jer. 13:23), are slaves of Satan (Ac. 26:17-18), and cannot see or comprehend divine truth (1 Cor. 2:14). This teaching is offensive to the natural man but unavoidable unless one is willing to abandon the word of God.

The doctrine of total depravity is important, for when it is properly understood, it proves that salvation is totally of God’s grace. Those who reject this doctrine and teach that the human will is the sole determining factor between who is and who is not saved have abandoned the biblical doctrine of salvation. Speaking of W. E. Henley, B. B. Warfield writes: “ ‘When one says,’ he tells us, ‘ “I believe in God, the Father Almighty,” he means it with reserve for in the domain of man’s moral choices under grace, man himself is almighty, according to God’s self-limitation in making man in his image and after his likeness.’ God himself, he goes on to declare, has a creed which begins: ‘I believe in man, almighty in his choices.’ ”25

Arminians believe that God has provided forgiveness in Christ and now is waiting for men to appropriate the redemption provided. It is as though there is a pot of gold sitting there waiting for man to discover it and take it. This view, which makes salvation a cooperative effort between God and man (synergism), is not grace as biblically defined. The moment man contributes something of his own to salvation, even if it is just one act of the will, grace is no more grace. Luther writes: “Granted that your friends assign to ‘free will as little as possible’, nonetheless they teach us that by that little we can attain righteousness and grace; and they solve the problem as to why God justifies one and abandons another simply by presupposing ‘free-will’, and saying: ‘the one endeavoured and the other did not; and God regards the one for his endeavour and despises the other; and He would be unjust were He to do anything else!… They [the guardians of ‘free will’] do not believe that He intercedes before God and obtains grace for them by His blood, and ‘grace’ (as is here said) ‘for grace’. And as they believe, so it is unto them. Christ is in truth an inexorable judge to them, and deservedly so; for they abandon Him in His office as a Mediator and kindest Saviour, and account His blood and grace as of less worth than the efforts and endeavours of ‘free-will’!”26 Arminianism is the first cousin to Romanism. It is a damnable heresy. If one man had the wisdom and will to choose Christ while his neighbor did not, then he has reason to boast. But if men are dead in trespasses and sins and totally unable to respond to Christ until He raises them from the dead through regeneration, then there is no reason for a man to boast. God receives all the glory. “Just as Lazarus would never have heard the voice of Jesus, nor would he have ever ‘come to Jesus,’ without first being given life by our Lord, so all men ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ must first be given life by God before they can ‘come to Christ.’ Since dead men cannot will to receive life, but can be raised from the dead only by the power of God, so the natural man cannot of his own (mythical) ‘free will’ will to have eternal life (cf. John 10:26-28).”27 The gospel really is good news. Jesus Christ actually saves sinners.

Books on Calvinism

Books on Arminianism