From last week’s post: Men have come up with some very imaginative lies in order to deny the totality of man’s sin. …
With the dominance of the theory of evolution, the whole concept of “total depravity” is judged to be absurd. When you deny the Creator, the creation of man in the image of God, and the Fall, it is senseless to talk about sin or of salvation. Man is not depraved, he is just deprived and under-developed. With evolution, the Fall of man is never considered, since evolutionists teach the reverse — man has risen! He started like an amoeba, progressed to the monkey stage and gradually developed into the complex being he now is. All it takes is a lot of time and a lot of mutations. Sin which man commits is not sin, but the result of primitive animal instincts which will change with time.
The evolutionist denies biblical revelation about both the creation and the Creator. With no Fall, there is no need for salvation or Christ. Without the perfect and absolute will of God, man can only rise to a level of acceptable societal averages. There is no standard of perfection for man since God and His law is denied.
The current false theology (not “theologies” since these are all different colored threads of the same piece of cloth) of “self-esteem,” “positive thinking,” “possibility thinking,” Post-Modernism, and “New Age” cults have been waging a war against the teaching of total depravity. We are being told that the answer to all our troubles can be found by searching deeply within ourselves to find that latent goodness that is in all of us. One such popular self-esteem advocate, Rev. Robert Schuller, flatly states,
“I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition” (Christianity Today, August 10, 1984, p. 24).
Again Rev. Schuller states, “What do I mean by sin? Answer: Any human condition or act that robs God of glory by stripping one of his children or their right to divine dignity” (Self-Esteem, A New Reformation. World Books, Waco, TX, 1982, p. 14).
Sin, when it is minimized, minimizes Christ and maximizes man. Rev. Schuller explains, “The most serious sin is the one that causes me to say, ‘I am unworthy. For once a person believes he is an ‘unworthy sinner’, it is doubtful if he can really honestly accept the saving grace God offers in Jesus Christ” (Ibid. p. 98). So for those who follow the “self-esteem” theology which permeates so many Christian circles today, they must conclude as Rev. Schuller, “Reformation theology failed to make clear that the core of sin is a lack of self-esteem” (Ibid.). The Bible makes it clear that man’s problem is an overabundance of self-esteem (I Jn. 2:15-17) and a lack of contrition.
It may be difficult to find an age in which the denial of total depravity and the exaltation of man’s self-worth has been more openly propagated than today. These are extremely dangerous tools of Satan that feed the appetite of fallen man’s pride. Over and over we are told that Jesus died for us because ‘we were worth it.’ However, to deny man’s total sinful nature as stated in such passages of Scripture as Romans 3:10-19, 23, is also to deny that man’s salvation is totally of grace. God saves us by grace and not because of any inherent good or worthiness in man (see Romans 5:6-8 and Eph. 2:8,9).
Blog post content is taken from Rev. Paul Treick’s book, Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism, available for purchase. It is posted with the gracious permission of the author.
If you’d like to read the blog series from the beginning, start here.