What's so important about total depravity?


Total depravity is anti-biblical, having been invented by European men in the 1500s out of whole cloth, aided and abetted by the licentious nature indulged in by bible alone adherents. It is theologically unsound, placing the entire responsibility for our salvation upon God. It believes that God detests us, yet chose to unjustly punish His own Son, the innocent Christ, in order to acquit the guilty (us). There are a few elements in TULIP that hold some truth, but the rest is man made nonsense.

This does not stop millions from believing it.


Do you believe man is entirely capable of seeking out God without the assistance of grace?


I agree that it’s impossible without grace, as nebulous a concept as it is. Where we might disagree is that it’s solely an act of grace (a la “grace alone”). If that’s true, then damnation cannot be just.

From my 8 years or so as an ardent Calvinist, Irresistible Grace was the one that I had the most difficulty scripture proofing. Basically, the best there is would be the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. Even then, the fact that this event isn’t specifically soteriological keeps it from being particularly applicable.
Limited atonement isn’t much more demonstrable, I’ll agree.

Your free assent must also be involved in order to produce a salvific event.

God delighting in the uncoerced worship by his subjects is probably the reason this whole dog-and-pony show exists, from an existential standpoint.

Did your historical education not cover Luther’s Canon and his early attempts to exclude not only James, but Hebrews, Jude and Revelation?

These books are part of the Antilegomena. The Catholic Church itself debated the canonicity of that that sub-set of the NT until such debate was silenced under penalty of anathema. At Florence, I think?

As an observation, it’s the liberal use of universals that creates ample opportunity to critique Reformed theology. Grace Alone. Total Depravity.


That is not Catholic teaching. The total reliance on grace, lacking any human cooperation, is the Euro invention.


It is solely an act of grace, but there is more to it.
We access grace through faith. We grow in grace through the means of grace, word and sacrament. And we do have the opportunity to exercise our free will to reject grace.
Further, grace calls us to the new obedience that we do what He commands, that we love our neighbors as ourselves.

I see. That clears up your right previous comment.

Yes, but even that free assent can happen only because of grace.


But that’s wasn’t the question. The question was:
“Do you believe man is entirely capable of seeking out God without the assistance of grace?”


I’m not the person you’re asking, but, why not?


“Emtirely capable”??? Trick Question. Please clarify it so that it is not a trap.

It does not matter what I think! That is Protestant. What matters is truth - that which God has revealed through His Church. We are granted sufficient grace to initially seek God - PROVIDING our hearts are open and we COOPERATE with that grace.

You really should tune in to Dr. David Anders at EWTN’s “Called to Communion”


Again, a source where Luther himself said he wanted to “exclude “ them.
Over and over, when he had the chance to do so, starting with his 1522 NT translation, includes them.
In fact, he never excluded any book from his translation, but actually included the Prayer of Manasseh.

At Trent. Had it been at Florence, questioning the canon would not have been permitted by cardinals and others, which it openly was.

I’m not certain of the usage of these descriptors in Calvinism, I just know that, in the Lutheranism I was raised in, the “alone”in grace alone has the intent of relaying that it is only by grace that salvation is possible. As I said, unless someone can show me how salvation is possible outside of grace, or without grace, or by some other means than grace, it seems that “alone” fits
Same with total drpravity. Human beings are totally incapable of seeking out God without the influence of The Holy Spirit - totally incapable. To believe otherwise is Pelagianism.


It isn’t a trap. Let me rephrase, without divine aid, is a person able to seek out God?

First, Protestant isn’t a theology. It is a grouping.
Secondly, I am fairly certain that the Catholic Church teaches that humans are not capable, due to the fall, to seek out or believe without His influence.
Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

My question was can you seek out God without that sufficient grace.


Look, if the Lutheran residue still stuck inside you doesn’t want to acknowledge Luther’s smaller canon (which is a historical fact), fine with me. Attempting to convince you otherwise is going to certainly be akin to trying to feed peas to a 12 month old that doesn’t like the peas. All that’s going to happen is I’ll get mad and you’ll spit out what few peas I manage to sneak in.

I’ll pass.

Luther’s smaller canon is established fact, and if you don’t want to accept that - I don’t care.

…And that’s how modern reformed thinkers have to present the ideas to those not already dyed-in-the-wool. They have to make the totality of “total depravity” as small and limited as possible (Oh, so not “total”?). “Grace alone” has become more and more inclusive of other concepts or extremely limited in its own scope (Ok, so not “alone”?)

Starting from Calvin’s sinners that are in total rebellion, enemies of God, fully corrupt - there has been nothing but retreat after retreat from the totality and absolute nature of those concepts. And I don’t blame them. Unmodified, they’re untenable except by the ideologically blind.

That’s not the position of your opponents, here. For the hundredth time, in “Salvation by Grace Alone”, your opposition aims all their rockets at the innovation of “Alone”, not the classic “Grace”. It would appear that they score quite a few hits.
Now maybe you want everyone to frame the issue your way, using your precise language. But that’s probably not going to happen.


Then I think we agree. It is by grace you are saved, through faith, and not of yourselves.
If the word “alone” offends, then leave it off and we can agree on this.

Luther lacked to power to create, expand, or reduce the canon, precisely why the Lutheran confession does not echo it. It was his opinion of the canon, an opinion I reject, but one he, like others, was allowed to hold.


If you interpret Paul’s “and not of yourselves” to mean “not solely of ourselves”, then we do agree. Especially as “faith” is a choice made by the elect.



The Catholic Church rejects total depravity, because though original sin tainted human nature, it did not fundamentally change it. Human nature is still ordered toward good, because we are created in God’s image.

While it is true we cannot say “yes” to God but with his grace, human nature is infused with the grace necessary to make that choice. The sacraments of the Church use Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to strengthen that innate grace.


Not to mention that our Lord - a reliable source - told the Apostles, "Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Luke 7:9-11 destroys the dour, European innovation of “total depravity” Riddle me this, Batman: how can a totally depraved man give good things? I thought that we could do absolutely nothing good. And, not only that, the Father rewards those who are evil that give good things to their children. Giving good things merits grace.


But now you are applying a qualifier that isn’t there. Ephesians 2:8 doesn’t have that qualifier. “8For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; 9Not of works, that no man may glory. “.

After receiving this gift of grace that saves through faith , the apostle then tells us how we respond. “10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them.”


Simple, Robin.
At least from the Lutheran perspective, yours is a misrepresentation of Total Depravity.
From the Augsburg Confession:

1] Of Free Will they teach that man’s will has some liberty to choose civil righteousness, and to work 2] things subject to reason. But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man 3] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Ghost is received 4] through the Word.

To which the Roman Confutators responded:

In the eighteenth article they confess the power of the Free Will - viz. that it has the power to work a civil righteousness, but that it has not, without the Holy Ghost, the virtue to work the righteousness of God. This confession is received and approved. For it thus becomes Catholics to pursue the middle way, so as not, with the Pelagians, to ascribe too much to the free will, nor, with the godless Manichaeans, to deny it all liberty; for both are not without fault.


Because that is Pelagianism, which last I checked was deemed a heresy by the Catholic Church.



I do wonder, though, if you, and all the others, realize that what St. Paul was talking about is, as the Catholic Church teaches, the very initial stages of justification which culminates into baptism.

And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.

Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter VIII

After receiving the indelible mark of justification through baptism we are then called to remain under the grace of God through what “God hath prepared that we should walk in them.”

Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, advancing from virtue to virtue, they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day; that is, by mortifying the members of their own flesh, and by presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification, they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, as it is written; He that is just, let him be justified still; and again, Be not afraid to be justified even to death; and also, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, “Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity.”

Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter IX


Coming from an ex-Lutheran?

Seriously? :grimacing:

I seem to recall a famous Lutheran - maybe one of their founders - that was fairly well known for adding an “alone” into scripture that is also famously absent from the actual text.

And the basis for “solely”, again, is that fact that salvation is also by faith. Which is a choice. Which executes “grace alone” as a meritorious idea. At very, very least, you have to amend to “graces alone” in order for the idea to not be a total contradiction. And even then you have this darn problem where the capability to reject must be present in your soteriology.

As it pertains to the end-work of salvation, grace simply doesn’t seem to be “alone” at all.

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