From the 2013 Truth About New Calvinism conference, I took away this. It is a thought I have had for a while, and thanks to John Immel and Paul Dohse and Susan Dohse, I am able to articulate it into a single poignant sentence:
Because of man’s depravity, he is utterly unable to recognize evil, let alone confront it.
You see, man cannot be good. I have said this in the past: Total Depravity is an ABSOLUTE, and as such, it is infinite. Man’s depravity is his end. He CANNOT BE GOOD. And since all man does is an extension of his utter SELF, he can never be in a position to recognize good, articulate it, apprehend it and….and this is the most important part (thanks to John Immel for adding this to the equation; SO true) can never confront it.
The pastors understand this doctrine precisely, and its implications. They can NEVER be held accountable by you. You, because you are wholly EVIL can NEVER be in a position to ever see any sin in them. You can never be in a position to demand justice for your own abuse or for your child’s because as a function of your root nature you can’t even define evil. You cannot even recognize that the “abuse” was in fact abusive, because abuse implies that you are able, in your own mind, to draw a distinction between what is good and what is NOT good. This, of course, according to the reformed theological construct in regards to man’s depravity, is impossible.
ALL good is in spite you. YOU can’t contribute to anything God does on your behalf because YOU are nothing more than a mindless depraved barbarian incapable of judging rightly…well, anything.
Once you understand this you will understand why so many leaders in the reformed camp seem to have very little concern with the abusive and destructive conduct which seems to have (and still does) reigned with impunity in many neo-Calvinist churches for decades.
Once you understand this, you can understand why to them, abuse is really “abuse”. Wink, wink and nudge, nudge.
2 thoughts on “The Deadly Implication of Total Depravity”
The narrative of Genesis 3 refutes the doctrine put forth in this article. The trees available were The Tree of Life and The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The whole point of the consequence of eating was now being able to see the difference +and trying to act as judge). Just my thoughts. 🙂
Thanks for commenting.
Well…I don’t agree. I’m not quite sure what “good and evil” are supposed to actually be. You have this external moral standard…but, according to what exactly? If morality is OUTSIDE man, then he can never actually be moral. And so “knowing” the standard is impossible, because the standard must be completely exclusive to man. Man is not what he does,but ultimately what he IS. What he does is a derivative of his physical self. Therefore, knowing the standard of good and evil is really man inventing one and then attempting, in futility to live according to it. If man himself is not the standard, then ANY other standard will condemn him.