The Barren Harvest of Protestantism


What, exactly, is the “seed” of Protestantism? It is not the specific practices and preoccupations of given sects, most of which are either by-products of the basic seed of unimportant eccentricities. Rather, the crucial seed of Protestantism is the doctrine of total depravity. Luther’s conviction that human beings are completely corrupted and incapable of pleasing God after Original Sin is the centerpiece of his entire theological edifice. It is only because of his insistence that men can never be purified, either in this world or the next, that the concept of justification by faith alone becomes necessary. If men cannot please God, through good works, the sacraments, and sanctifying grace, then their only hope lies in complete abandonment to His will. It is only due to the total depravity doctrine that Scripture becomes the sole possible teacher of Christians. After all, the Church could be shown to have definitively opposed this doctrine throughout her history, while the Bible, freed from Rome’s interpretation, might (with a bit of irrational force) be construed to support Lutheran concepts. "


Is anyone familiar with the work of Dr. John Rao? The barren harvest of Protestantism describes the influence of Puritan beliefs on American culture and society.


Not all “Protestants” trace their heritage through the Puritans…


All Protestants base their arguments on the doctrines of Luther and Calvin.


Not all, but I can understand why you think so.


Hello Publisher,

I think its best to tell people what/how your beliefs differ than described so that you may help out anyone who does not know or understand anything other than what they have been taught so that they can take another look at something they may not have had enough exposure to evaluate on their own.


Have a good day


How about the Annabaptists? However, they do not consider themselves “Protestant.” I’ve heard them called “the third way.”


This is a wonderful essay. I can’t understand why I’ve never heard of this man before. I shall have to ponder it and come back with the best I have.



Not Anglicans/Methodists.


Isn’t Wesley’s notion of Prevenient Grace based upon an Arminian/Calvinistic notion of total depravity? I.e., We are totally depraved. Prevenient Grace, not any sense of a remnant of righteousness, is necessary in order for us to even look toward God. If Wesley bases his idea upon Calvin’s total depravity, which I think he does, then the assumption of the author is correct.

Hadn’t Anglicanism already been polluted by this time and to some extent by the Continental Reform?




Do you think a discussion like this over on the UCM bb would resuscitate that board or is it too late?



That is Calvinist, not Armenian. You can’t say something is “an Arminian/Calvinistic notion” that makes no sense. It’s like if I said that one ‘Protestant/Catholic notion’ or even that ‘tiny/gargantuan notion’. It’s one or the other not both.

Wesley is not Calvinistic.


Methodists don’t profess sola fide or sola scriptura? :eek: Maybe my jurisdiction was a schismatic one, but they really nailed home those two things.

In Pax Christi


I don’t believe that you understand the nature of either Calvinism or Arminianism. Arminius took Calvin’s ideas and modified them. Arminius was a step closer to the truth but by starting with Calvinism instead of Catholicism he simply modified a reformist view. He was, however, a reformist.



Methodists don’t mess around with the solas as far as I know.



In the Southeastern Jurisdiction, I went to Lake Junaluska for 3 years for the Youth in Missions when I was Methodist, and they really nailed home Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide and “getting saved.” Maybe it was the theology of the particular speaker, but churches all over the Roanoke Conference teach it as well.

Maybe this is another factor that lead me out of Methodism: the lack of unity and any sense of authority within it’s own denomination. :rolleyes:

In Pax Christi



I guess there really is a big difference between Northern and Southern Methodists. I must admit our family did enjoy itself at the Camp Meetings we ocassioanlly attended. We haven’t been there in about 17 years. In the north theology means “trying to be nice to people and be tolerant of every aberration. Also, feel mildly guilty about most everything.” It’s sort of like eating cotton candy made out of some sugar substitute. In the South they have bitten into something but it is clearly a bitter fruit.



Oh I understand what you’re saying. I grew up in south New Jersey, and was raised Methodist there until we moved to Virginia. The theology, from what I can remember was different up there, like you say.

In Pax Christi


Arminius believed quite differently on those 5 points than Calvin. So different that a council was called to write TULIP to Refute everything he said.

Total Depravity

NOT Totally Depraved

Now, can you explain to me how they are the same??


Dr. John Rao is an awesome speaker, as well as an awesome writer. He is funny yet intellectual. I like his talks “The Barren Harvest of Protestantism” , “Calvinism and America” , “The Enlightenment” , and “The Condemnation of Galileo”. Check out his mp3’s at this LINK

Michael Davies has some good mp3’s on this website, too.

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