In this sermon given by evangelist Glen Osburn at the 2017 4th of July meeting in Springfield, Missouri (hosted by the Mission Hills church of Christ), Glen discusses the proper response when a Christian is asked: “Is your church non-denominational?”
Denominationalism MP3 Link
The Angel of the LORD was a prominent figure in the Old Testament. He appeared to men such as Abraham and Moses, and also to women like Hagar. The identity of the Angel of the LORD has often been disputed. Some see him as being no different from any other angelic being created by God to fulfill His purposes, while other see him as much more – a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Himself. In today’s sermon, Glen Osburn tackles this subject.
Today’s sermon is evangelist Glen Osburn’s challenge for Christians not to be fearful, not to be introverted, not to be timid when it comes to confessing Christ and telling others about the truth of life. Believe in the power of God’s word in converting the lost!
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel… Philippians 1:12
(by Glen Osburn)
Oklahoma New Year’s Meeting, Thursday PM, 12-29-2010
T – Total depravity:
Westminster Confession of Faith (creed of the Presbyterian Church U.S.) states in regard to the sin of Adam and Eve:
Chapter VI…II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body. III. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation. (Palmer, p. 126)
Philadelphia Confession of Faith, also known as the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith:
Ch. 6…2. Our first parents by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them, whereby death came upon all; all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled, in all the faculties, and parts of soul, and body.
3. They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room, and stead of all mankind, the guilt of their sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, (the servants of sin, the subjects of death and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus sets them free…
4. From this original corruption whereby all are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions [Philadelphia Confession of Faith with Catechism, Grand Rapids: Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., p. 24 (also known as the London Baptist Confession of Faith)].
Adam’s act…was counted as the act of each of his descendants…as if they had individually and personally committed that sin. Because of Adam’s sin we each stand before God from the moment of our existence as depraved and guilty sinners, for we each sinned “in him” [Christian’s Expositor, p. 139: (Steele & Thompson, p. 42)].
The doctrine of “Total Depravity” is also known as “Hereditary Depravity” and “Imputed Adamic Sin,” and is sometimes labeled “Original Sin”.
Total Depravity is also called “Total Inability” (Steele & Thomas, p. 24; Palmer, p. 14):
When Calvinists speak of man as being totally depraved, they mean that man’s nature is corrupt, perverse, and sinful throughout. As a result of this inborn corruption, the natural man is totally unable to do anything spiritually good; thus Calvinists speak of man’s “total inability”. The unsaved sinner is incapable of good. The natural man is enslaved to sin; he is a child of Satan, rebellious toward God, blind to truth, corrupt, and unable to save himself or to prepare himself for salvation. Adam’s descendants have lost the ability to make right choices in the spiritual realm…they do not have the ABILITY to choose spiritual good over evil (Steele & Thomas, p. 25).
Palmer shows that Calvinism maintains:
“1. Man cannot do the good…2. Man cannot understand the good…3. Man cannot desire the good” (Palmer, pp. 14-16). On the point of man not being able to understand the good, he illustrates saying that man “is as blind as Cyclops with his one eye burned out…In other words, without the Holy Spirit one is not able to understand the things of God” (Palmer, p. 15-16).
The Calvinist implies that since man is unable to understand, desire, or do the will of God, then it is impossible for a totally corrupt man to choose to put faith in God, an act of positive obedience (John 6:28-30; 8:24). They reason that since man is unable to choose faith, faith itself must of necessity be a direct gift of God.
Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift to the sinner (Steele & Thomas, p. 16).
The Bible, however, points out that God designed the testimony of the written Word of God to produce faith in our hearts (Romans 10:17; John 20:30-31; Ephesians 1:13; Acts 15:7). These passages affirm that faith is our response to credible evidence recorded in the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
In the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23; Mark 4:3-9,14-20; Luke 8:5-8, 11-15) we are taught that within the hearts of men there are differences in understanding, commitment, and priorities that cause various responses to the Word of God. Please do not overlook that one of the hearts, illustrated by these differing soils, was called “good and honest” (Luke 8:15) before the seed was sown. It was this nature of the heart which allowed the Word of God to be received. With Calvinism a naturally receptive “good and honest” heart is not possible.
Jesus himself made man personally responsible for his faith: “…unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Calvinism teaches that one must receive the Holy Spirit before one can have faith. Scriptures teach that it is “after” we believe that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
Calvinists make a comparison of a dead body to a dead spirit and speculate, “If a dead body cannot respond to something offered to it, how can a dead spirit respond to the gospel, unless God gives it life to respond?” First of all being “spiritually dead” does not mean that our “spirit” is dead. When we sin we are then separated from the source of eternal spiritual life, God (Isaiah 59:2). This separation is spiritual death. Jesus uses this imagery speaking of those who would hear His word and believe when He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live” (John 5:25). Jesus here says the spiritually dead can “hear,” and those who would believe would live.
How does mankind supposedly acquire this “corrupt nature?” Calvinism says that Adam and Eve’s corrupt sinful nature was “conveyed, to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation” (Philadelphia…, p. 24). If the guilt of sin and its corrupt nature comes through the flesh, then there is a problem with the fleshly nature of Christ. Mary is the fleshly mother of Christ. The fleshly nature of Christ fulfilled many prophecies and the will of God (Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4; Matthew 22:41-46; Hebrews 2:14-17; 2 John 7; etc.). Did Christ somehow become infected with “Adamic” sin from Mary, His fleshly mother? Questions like this contributed to the formation of the Catholic doctrine called the “immaculate conception of Mary” (McClintock & Strong, pp. 506-510). This supposedly would enable Mary to give birth to a sinless yet still fleshly Jesus. Some who disagreed with this doctrine maintained that Christ’s spirit was given by God to the conceived Jesus, and in this way Christ’s spirit itself sanctified His body so that He was born without sin. They contend that all other men receive their spirits from their fleshly parents, not directly from God, and this is how spiritual corruption is passed on.
The Bible teaches that although we receive physical attributes from our parents, our life force (Acts 17:28) and eternal spirit come from God. “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:9). Zechariah declares that it is “the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1).
If the spirits we receive from God come with depravity, then for the Calvinist there is an ethical problem with a God who creates evil (James 1:13). [Calvinist answer: God is sovereign, ie. He can do anything He wants and still be righteous. True, He can do anything He wants, but He will not contradict His nature (act unrighteously). Example: God will not lie. Therefore, it becomes “impossible” (Hebrews 6:18) for God to lie.]
There is another consideration in this line of thinking; if our spirits emanate from our parents, how does the child of two Christian parents come to be born with a corrupt, depraved spirit? Calvinism says that “this corruption of nature…doth remain in those that are regenerated” [Westminster…, Chapter VI…V (Palmer, p. 126)]. The Scriptures teach, however, that all who have obeyed the truth have “purified” their souls (1 Peter 1:22), “cleansing their hearts” (Acts 15:9). The Bible affirms that there most assuredly are those who are “pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). How, then, can two “pure” souls spawn a totally corrupt soul? Souls can not be “pure” and “not pure” at the same time.
The truth is that the spirit God gives us as children is not depraved (Hebrews 12:9; Zechariah 12:1). God initially gives us a pure spirit for our bodies, but we mess it up. Paul said;
And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me (Romans 7:9-11 NAS).
Paul maintains that he was “once alive” spiritually to God. Paul is speaking of his own spiritual life, or fellowship with God, as a child, before he sinned. But then “the commandment came.” This is not speaking of the inscription by God of the Ten commandments on Mt. Sinai (Galatians 4:24), it is speaking of the childhood of Paul, before the law “became known” to him [Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon, B,2,b, p. 251, (Strong’s #2064)]. Before the age of accountability, Paul was “alive” to God. Then, at some point, when Paul knew right from wrong, he was deceived by sin, committed sin and spiritually died. (See also Deuteronomy 1:39.) But remember, Paul was originally “alive” to God. This cannot mesh with the doctrine of Total Depravity or being “born in sin.”
How does man become a sinner? “Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices” (Ecclesiastes 7:29 NAS). Solomon, in his inspired insight, says that God makes men “upright,” then man chooses to become a sinner. James details “…each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:14-15 NAS).
It is not our spiritual death that creates lust and sin, but our lust which creates sin and spiritual death (see also Romans 6:23). Calvinism says it is our being born in sin (naturally naughty) that causes all our sins. “From this original corruption…do proceed all actual transgressions (Philadelphia…, p. 24). John MacArthur, a Calvinist, put it this way: “Committing sinful acts does not make us sinners; we commit sinful acts because we are sinners” [Ephesians (Commentary), John MacArthur, Moody Press, 1986, p. 54]. This is not what the Bible says. Scriptures teach that it is our own personal sins and iniquities which bring about our “separation” (Isaiah 59:2) from God. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), the Scriptures record.
The Scriptures are explicit, we shall not be held accountable for the sins of others.
“Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’ When the son has practiced justice and righteousness, and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:19-20).
We may have to live with the temporal consequences of a sin we commit, even though we have been forgiven. And we may even physically suffer because of another’s sin. But we will not suffer eternally for another’s sin, or receive the guilt of their sin. [We are living with the consequences of Adam’s sin (physical death), not the guilt (spiritual death); 1 Corinthians 15:20-22.] If we lose our soul, it will be because of our own sin and failure to receive forgiveness. (See also Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; Jeremiah 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:1-4; 28:15.)
“So then every one shall give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).
If God created us totally depraved and unable to obey, why would He call upon us to “give an account” of ourselves to Him? The concept of God making us accountable to Him for doing something He knows is impossible for us, is incompatible with the true nature of God (2 Peter 3:9; 2 Timothy 2:3-4). Judgment itself suggests that we are able to respond (responsible) in obedience to God. We shall be called upon to “give an account” of ourselves to God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
We have spent much on this first tenet of Calvinism, for if this foundational concept is incorrect, then the rest of Calvin’s system of thought is faulty. If we cut down the “trunk” of Calvin’s doctrinal system, the “branches” fall with it.
– Glen Osburn