I have been a quiet observer for some time, and though I have no sympathy with your theology, nevertheless you have not been a raving "nutter" like Yamil and JD. Now Mike I am going to humour your silly talk. You ask, "That being the case, tell me, do you do any good whatsoever? If yes, are you saying the verse doesn't apply to you? If no, how are we to find good in your posts?"
The problem with your school of thought is firstly that there is not much the matter with the sinner. He can do all sorts of things spiritually even when he is dead in sins and tresspasses. And consequently when you speak of conversion, it really is not such a big deal. It is merely a change of mind -- nothing dramatic like a new creation! Frankly why would that be necessary when there is not a great deal wrong? But you see there is a world of difference between the unconverted and the converted. Christ makes the converted "free" - free from bondage, free from sin, from the law etc..
To answer your question directly the verse was very true of me, but since my conversion I am made to do good works. Now I can do things by faith which was previously impossible. Now I can love God and obey him, which previously I could not etc. The difference is God's work in conversion!!
Quote: "For instance, the whole world is used in Scripture 11 times and always means the "whole" world: What a novelty!......."Mr 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
How does the world in the last quoted mean "every single individual that shall ever exist from the creation to the consummation of all things"?
Sorry to butt in, but you have no idea what the issue surrounding free will is, which is why you are always addressing a different issue.
To say that everyone else has an agenda to serve which is why they read the scriptures the way they do, when it is clear to all and sundry that you above all have a very clear agenda which is why you read in the things you do, is more than a little silly!
Sad to note that Mike too is not cognisant of the real issue. I thought better of him.
One has to wonder that you think you need saving from anything. You notion of sin is so pathetically weak.
When we speak of "free-will", we are talking about the power of contrary choice when it comes to the things of God. Are you really saying that a sinner, someone who is under the dominion of sin, who serves the god of this world, who lives to fulfill the lusts of the flesh and the corrupt and blinded mind, and who hates God, that such a person can in and of himself (i.e. without any spiritual influence) choose to walk the path of holiness, love God, obey God from the heart, offer acceptable spiritual worship etc.?
A natural man, who cannot accept the things of God can of himself love and choose high and holy things?
We are not talking about relative morality. We will even grant that someone who is a natural man can be morally even superior to some so called Christians. That is not the point at issue. The point at issue is does anyone who is still dead in sin and tresspasses have the ability to exercise any faculty towards spiritual things in order please God?
Now you are saying yes, and that means that you do not understand the first thing about what the gospel is. You are therefore still in your sins, for all your pretended piety!
Good grief man, how can you read your Bible and not understand something so basic as depravity?
Anyways let's look at Matthew 7.11. The subject matter is prayer, and the Lord is arging from the lesser to the greater. If men, who are evil, can in relative terms deal with their children for good, then how much more so God who is not evil. I say in relative terms because if we were viewed absolutely in the Light of God's holiness then we are considered wholly evil see Rms 1-3.
Consider what the Lord said to the Pharisees in Matt. 12 31-37 in connection with the sin against the Holy Ghost viz. an image that it used time and again to explain human nature, " Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for our of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treaure bringeth forth evil things etc.."
The Lord asked, "How can ye?" and your answer is "by my free will"!!
Can one with an evil heart make himself good? Nope, only God can, and that's the whole point!
Actually the will is a necessary faculty to make us human- agreed. But you are going to have to prove scripturally that one can exercise the will against one's sinful nature (in an unregenerate state)before you can say that the will if free!!
And if one can freely act without sinning, then your doctrine of depravity is questionable.
Don't forget that sin is define in a number of ways -- as a transgression of the law, as coming short, as acting without faith etc.. So can the unregenerate do anything freely without complying with their sin nature?
Did you as an unconverted person? If you did, then you have got something to be proud of before God, because he must surely have been pleased with you.
Remember, sinners are in the flesh when they are unsaved. Not being in the flesh would indicate that they had been born againâ€“regenerated. So just prior to their exercising faith (which pleases God), they are actually still â€śin the fleshâ€ť, and thus they cannot please God! So how could God accept that which displeases him to regenerate them?!!
1 Cor. 2:14 seems very decisive: â€śThe natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand ..etc
Apparently it is OK because he is God to do so in matters of church polity, but he must not be allowed to be God in the matter of salvation - he must not be allowed to discriminate then, so precious is the concept of free will.
The Catholic Church seems to agree with you Yamil.
THE LOVE OF GOD Excerpt from Catholic Answers website
â€śGod has not abandoned us, because God is love. He loves the world he made, and he loves us, broken though we are. God loves us so much that he sent his only Son to become one of us and to save the human race.â€ť
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
851. â€śIt is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamismâ€¦Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth"; that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truthâ€¦"
The Council of Trent describes the process of salvation from sin ..(Sess. VI, v-vi).
"It begins with the grace of God which touches a sinner's heart, and calls him to repentance. This grace cannot be merited; it proceeds solely from the love and mercy of God. Man may receive or reject this inspiration of God, he may turn to God or remain in sin. Grace does not constrain man's free will. Thus assisted the sinner is disposed for salvation from sinâ€¦â€ť
As I said- he was too preoccupied with what he wanted to write to even bother to understand the question - bit like a seasoned politicians - ask them any question and they will ignore the question and saying what they want to say!!
The original question is straight forward - what's the matter? Are you struggling to understand it?
I would also suggest that you do not understand total depravity - because you appear to think that every other faculty of man may be ruined and tainted by sin, except your unregenerate will!! Hence the freedom it enjoys!
Since you cannot even communicate your ideas coherently what you say about 5th grade English is a bit rich!!
So you want presuppositions challenged - why not answer the question which has of late been posted on here time and again- viz:
" An evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil things"
So how come your lot can produce faith and repentance from an evil heart - i.e. before regeneration? What gives you power to change your heart? Your will? Your intellect? Your uprightness? Your good looks? etc.
And none of them coherent enough for anyone to have a clue as to what you are getting at, or how the resolution to the questions would affect one's understanding of a plain verse!
So we'll keep the "legitimacy" question open.
As for the response - it was because despite your rather pompous piety, you and your ilk refuse to engage with any substantive issues and fill the pages of these forums with drivel and bad grace that leaves the vast majority of readers disgusted and highly annoyed that you even dare call yourselves Christian!