Saturday, 6 February 2010

Totally Misunderstood Depravity

John Stott writes, "[Total Depravity] ... I suspect is repudiated only by those who misunderstand it. It has never meant that human beings are as depraved as they could possibly be. Such a notion is manifestly absurd and untrue, and is contradicted by our everyday observation. ... No, the 'totality' of our corruption refers to its extent (depraving every part of our humanness), not to its degree (depraving every part of us absolutely). As Dr. J. I. Packer has put it succinctly, on the one hand 'no one is as bad as he or she might be', while on the other 'no action of ours is as good as it should be.'"


Mister Spence said...

Still, it is a meaningless doctrine:

"Without God we are incapable of any good action."

But, as God is creator and sustainer we could equally say:

"Without God we are incapable of any action."

Now, I don't think that this is a particularly good way to analyse statements about God, but as TULIP is an attempt at a systematic theology, it at least needs to be sound!

To whom it may concern said...

I would refer you to Romans 3:9-20. I think it is needed to save us from somehow thinking we deserve God's favour in any way. While you refer to TULIP I am not aware of Total Depravity being only a Calvinist doctrine. I remember Ken Todd mentioning it one time, and he would be no Calvinist. Indeeed Packer's quote is taken from his chapter on Original Sin, a topic that one of Wesley's 44 deals with.
Spence, thanks so much for being willing to comment on the blogs. It is a real encouragment to see someone has left a thought.
God bless,