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  • Love and Liberty

The False Doctrine Of Man's Inability to Turn to God

Some people in church history have taught that man is born as a "spiritual corpse" and that he cannot respond to God's call for repentance unless God causes him to be "born again" and thus gives him the ability to do so. Besides the fact that this concept is found nowhere in the Bible, it also begs the philosophical question - then why does God not do this for everyone? The Calvinist answer is: because God does not want to save everyone. I and others argue that man has the natural ability to respond to and obey God, and that man does not obey God because he is unwilling, not because he is unable.

Follow this link to read an article by Dr. Leighton Flowers entitled "Dead Wrong", in which he states, in part:

The analogy of being “dead” is seen throughout the scriptures, but can it be demonstrated to mean that mankind is born completely and totally unable to willingly respond to God Himself, as the Calvinists presume? Are we born dead like Lazarus, a corpse rotting in the tomb (a link scripture never draws), or are we dead like the Prodigal, a loved one living in rebellion? Scripture supports the latter rather than the former:

“For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:24).

Spiritual deadness seems to be equated with “lostness” or “in rebellion,” not as “total inability to respond.” Likewise, in Romans 6:11, Paul also teaches the believers to count themselves “dead to sin.” A consistent Calvinist would have to interpret this to mean that believers are completely unable to sin when tempted. Of course, that is not the case. Paul is teaching that we are to separate ourselves from sin, in much the same way we were once separated by our sin from God. “Deadness” here connotes the idea of being separated, like the son was from his father, not the incapacitation of the will to respond to God’s appeal to be reconciled from our separation.

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