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TULIP-5 Part Series-Total Depravity



This is a topic I have not written on before, but I’m going to attempt my hand at. Calvinism can be summed up with one simple acrostic known as TULIP. It stands for this:

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverance of the Saints


A lot of people are uncomfortable with this because it they believe it destroys a lot of what Christ did at the cross. However, Scripture supports a lot of John Calvin wrote, and with most arguments, you simply can’t say that you’re uncomfortable with something, you MUST provide support for why you disagree with something. I am also going to spread this out over the next few days because it is a lot to take in.So here we go.

Total Depravity

People who hold to the Arminian view state that man is only spiritually sick but still has the ability to choose spiritual good and can determine his own eternal life by accepting or refusing the mercies of God. People who hold to John Calvin’s view believe that man is spiritually dead and is completely and totally unable to choose anything good.

First bit of Scriptural support for this comes from Genesis 2:16-17 which says: And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The dying that God is speaking of is not only the physical dying, but also a spiritual death. Because of sin, our spirits are dead to God and being dead, is unable to do anything without God’s help.

And to show that we cannot do anything spiritually without God’s help, Ephesians 2:1-5 says this: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy,because of the great love with which he loved us–even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…”

God makes us alive, if we were still able to respond on our own why would we need God to make us alive? And how can something respond on its own if it was already dead?

If the Arminian viewpoint is true on the spiritual nature of man and it’s only sick but still has the option of choosing spiritual good, then Romans 3:9-18 holds no meaning. It says this:

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.””

No one chooses God, no one seeks after Him, and no can do good on their own. If Arminians are right, then this passage of Scripture is not true. Sorry, but man is not spiritually sick, it is spiritually dead.


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