Paul's Passing Thoughts

Are Babies Totally Depraved? Follow the Protestant Money

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 1, 2014

PPT HandleNo, because man is not totally depraved. This is simple theological math. Man is not totally depraved by virtue of how God creates us. Every human being born into the world is born with the works of God written on their hearts. They are also born with a conscience that either excuses them or accuses them of wrongdoing.

Romans 2:14 – For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Those who have the law, that is, the written word of God plus the works of the law written on their hearts, are under the law’s judgment. This is why religious people will be judged more harshly than the nonreligious—they are responsible for two laws, not just one.

Christ came to die on the cross to end the law’s condemnation for those under it, or those under law, and was resurrected so that the same can find life in the law apart from any condemnation. Under grace means that we are now under the “law of the Spirit of life” (Rom 8:2). What does that mean? It means the Spirit now imparts life to us through the same law that condemned us prior to our salvation (Jn 17:17, Eph 6:1-3). The old us that was under law literally dies with Christ, and is resurrected by the Spirit as a new creature who finds life in the law (see Psalms 119).

Andy Young and I were having this discussion this morning. In the garden, there was only one law: you may eat of any tree in the garden except the one. As long as they obeyed, there was life in that law; when they disobeyed, death came into the world.

But, back to babies. Babies are not totally depraved, and in fact go to heaven because they are not yet under law; where there is no law there is no sin (Rom 5:13). Don’t confuse this with the pre-fall of man where there was only one unbroken law. Babies do NOT have a developed conscience; therefore, they cannot negotiate right and wrong as administered by conscience according to the written law or the law written on their hearts. So, babies are born under law like all people, but are not accountable to it, and therefore NOT condemned by it until they have a developed conscience that can ascertain right from wrong. I believe mentally handicapped people would fall under this category as well.

Where there is no law, there is no sin. So if babies cannot know law, they have no sin. And if they have no sin—they are going to heaven:

Roman 7:7 – What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.

Babies have no concept of law. People are accountable to the law when their consciences are developed to the point of knowing right from wrong.

Follow The Protestant Money

Early in the Protestant Reformation the subject of total depravity was a big deal. This also included the total depravity of the saints. Simply stated, the Reformers believed little different than Rome in regard to salvation via church membership. The biggest draw for the Protestant Reformation was no fault salvation through church membership. The Reformers clearly stated that new sins committed by “believers” removed them from grace, and continued forgiveness of sins through the perpetual reappropriation of Christ’s death was needed to keep oneself saved (for example: The Calvin Institutes, 3.14.9-11). This reapplication of Christ’s death was only valid when administered by the institutional church through baptism, the Lord’s Table, and the grace-infusion of preaching by ordained Reformed elders, in today’s Neo-Calvinist vernacular, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Why? Because we need the same gospel that saved us initially to keep us saved daily because the new sins we commit remove us from grace. This would seem fairly evident.

The Reformers believed that baptism initiated church membership, and as long as the baptized remained in good standing as church members, their baptism retained its saving efficacy (Calvin Inst. 4.15.1ff). Salvation is maintained within the institutional church, so baptism doesn’t save you per se, but is necessary for church membership which keeps you saved through faithful attendance to “gospel preaching” by ordained elders and the Lord’s Table. This ministry has compiled a mass of citations by “New” Calvinists who state this in no uncertain terms.

And this is the crux of the infant baptism debate. Protestants were big on baby baptism because it made the babies church members and therefore guaranteed them salvation as long as they remained faithful to the institutional church as they grow up. This led to the birth of Baptists who became half pregnant Protestants over the baby baptism issue. Unfortunately, this boiled down to when a child was old enough to be a church member which was also synonymous with being saved among the Baptists. This closer approximation to truth created the whole never ending “Do babies go to heaven?” debate.

No, Babies are not totally depraved, and yes, they go to heaven. The Baptists only focused on the baby baptism issue without further investigating what was driving the belief to begin with; i.e., salvation by institution.

This began a long deep-seated tradition by Baptists to focus on symptoms and not causes. This is why Presbyterians and Lutherans are far less confused than Baptists—Baptists are both confused and wrong, while the Protestants and Lutherans are just merely wrong…about the gospel.

paul

The Protestant Reformation was NEVER About the Bible

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 1, 2014

It was brought to my attention yesterday that Mr. Reformation himself, John Piper, hands down the most popular Calvinist of our day and the “elder statesman” of the Neo-Calvinist movement, stated the following in The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin  ( John Piper, Crossway Books, 2000, page 73):

We need to rethink our reformed doctrine of salvation so that every limb and every branch in the tree is coursing with the sap of Augustinian delight.

This is an outright admission that Plato is the foundation for understanding reality and the Bible. Augustine’s integration of Platonist philosophy with the Bible was well documented by Susan Dohse during the 2013 TANC Conference. Once one pursues knowledge in this information age regarding what was really going on during the Reformation, you see that it was nothing more or less than a philosophy war. You can take that literally because armies in fact brought swords and catapults to the theological debates going on during that time.

So, why did Martin Luther make Sola Scriptura a central focus of the Reformation? Due to the rise of the Age of Reason, the Bible being made readily available to the great unwashed masses was inevitable. Ingenuity invented the printing press, and the handwriting was on the wall. The masses were going to get a Bible in every hut, and it was obvious that Augustinian-like slaughter was not killing people fast enough to prevent mass distribution, so the next best thing was to mandate how people interpret the Bible. That’s what the Heidelberg Disputation was all about. Nothing more, nothing less.

Yes indeed, Scripture alone, but with what interpretation? Not the use of reason. To Luther and the Reformers, a serf believing in the ability to reason is like a toddler playing with a loaded gun. Basically, this is a discussion about grammatical interpretation using reason versus redemptive narrative. Those who would use reason to interpret the Bible were known as the “schoolmen,” and Calvin refers to them 69 times in the Calvin Institutes. The references are not complimentary. Like Luther, Calvin saw the use of reason to interpret the Bible as a rogue hermeneutic and antithetical to Platonist principles of philosophy.

This is an issue that has never been brought to the forefront among Christians for consideration even though most pastors preach via meta-narrative, and most Christians assume the use of reason to reach logical conclusions past, “I am a totally depraved person who can know nothing beyond the foolishness of the cross.” This is why Protestants are the most confused individuals on the face of the earth. Protestant pastors interpret reality in a totally different way than those being led.

And so it goes: Sunday after Sunday, the churches are full of parishioners trying to draw logical conclusions for living from a sermon designed to lead parishioners to one conclusion only: the only thing you can understand is that you cannot understand anything save that you deserve hell, and everything other than that is a an undeserved gift. Principles for living life? What life? Life isn’t for living, it is only to be praised as something done to us, not by us. The only thing we should be doing is hell, not life.

Therefore, if you raise a concern, or ask a question, this immediately reveals the fact that you just don’t get it. You are living for your own glory, and not the glory of the cross story. Knowledge and pride are inseparable, and of course, “pride precedeth a fall.”

paul