I’m trying something new here on my blog: Theology Thursday. Every Thursday I’ll write about a theological topic and ask you, my dear readers, to chime in. Think of it as a Pub Theology group, only online . . . and you’ll have to supply your own beer (unless you’re at work).
Anyway, this week I want to talk about the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity. I keep going back and forth on this concept. On one hand, it makes sense. A few months ago I was reading Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards. He said that human beings have the ability to make choices, but the choices we make are based on what we desire the most. And since we are sinful by nature, Edwards writes, we keep choosing ungodly things instead of godly things. It is only when God changes our hearts that we desire godly things, and therefore able to choose good.
That would definitely explain a few things. Before I started following Christ, I didn’t care about compassion or justice or mercy or love or anything like that. All I wanted to do was tell the world to go eff itself. It wasn’t until I started following Christ that I learned that the world actually does NOT revolve around me.
But on the other hand, what about people like Gandhi and the Dali Lama? What about the humanitarians of the world who aren’t Christians? If Total Depravity is true, then why were two non-Christians able to do so many good things? And for that matter, how can so-called "Christians" like Fred Phelps and Pastor Terry Jones be so hateful?
Now let me explain that I'm NOT talking about the need for salvation, or whether or not human beings are sinful. Far from it. We've all sinned. We're all broken. We all need a savior. So I'm not talking about the need for salvation. What I'm talking about is whether or not a person can do good deeds without Christ.
What do you think? Discuss in the comments below.
1 month ago