Michael Pearl: All right I'm Michael Pearl still sitting here on this bucket on this 2 x 4, getting some kind of a rear-end disease I think. But I'm here to answer your Bible questions and Jared has followed me up here where I've been working on my house. So Jared I'm available. What's the question you got?
Darlene: Hi my name is Darlene and I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My question is, is if we are not born with a sinful nature, then why does David say that he was conceived in sin in Psalm 51:5? I am talking to some Calvinist friends of mine and they are using that verse as a total depravity verse. Thank you so much and I am so blessed by your ministry. God bless. Bye‑bye.
Michael: All right, that's a good question. It's interesting that in order to establish a doctrine that is supposed to be central to the New Testament that is the foundation of all Calvinism. All Calvinism swings on the total depravity doctrine. They have to go to a passage in the Old Testament where David is praying a sinner's prayer before God. He's mourning over his sin and he's speaking of how he came to be in this awful plight that he's in. He says "that in sin did my mother conceive me." It didn't say that he had a sinful nature. It said he was conceived, conceived in sin. Now, let me ask you. When David's father, Jesse, went into David's mother were they sinners? Was she a sinner? Was Jesse a sinner? Yes they were. When the conception took place in the womb, sperm and egg came together. Did it occur inside of sin? Sure it did. David was conceived in sin.
It didn't say anything about his nature, about the state of his being or his character. It's simply he's in his mourning over his sin. He's thinking, referring back to the fact that from the very first moment of his existence, which was conception, it was in a state of sin.
Furthermore, the Bible tells us there in the book of Romans, that when Adam sinned "death passed upon all men for that all have sinned." God views all of us as sinners based on our participation in Adam's sin. Now it didn't say that we sinned when he sinned but we're constituted as sinners. We're reckoned as sinners. Sin is imputed to us, Adam's sin, not at our conception but later in life when Paul said "I was alive without the Law once" in Romans seven "but when the commandment came sin revived and I died. Where there is no law there is no transgression."
So when the Law comes to us and we grow in a place of responsibility and knowledge of good and evil and become accountable before God, then that sin of Adam is imputed into us. So the idea that a fetus is sinful, even a Calvinist doesn't believe that. What Calvinist mother picks up her baby, looks in his face, and says "You wicked, dirty, corrupted, depraved, Godless, hell bound sinner."? Nobody would do that.
No Calvinist mother believes that her baby is totally depraved. Totally separated from God, yes we certainly are. Totally without hope because we do not have the Holy Spirit and we do not have the righteousness it takes to bring us into God's presence, yes. But depraved, sick, sinned, wicked, immoral, depraved? No, no. No Calvinist mother believes that, no Calvinist father believes that. That's just the doctrine that they use to separate themselves from the rest of Christianity. It's an academic argument. It has no practicality to it. They don't apply it in real life.
I'm a Bible believer not a Calvinist. Now I'm not anti‑Calvinist. About 98% of what a Calvinist believes I believe. I read the Puritans, I read Calvin's "Bonded to the Will" or Luther's "Bonded to the Will". I read Calvin's Institutes and a lot of the modern Calvinists, I read them. I've gotten a great blessing from Calvinist sermons. No one can define imputed righteousness better than some of the old Calvinist writers. So I appreciate what they've written.
It's just that the underlining assumptions of their academic doctrine is false. It's not Biblical. So in that sense I am certainly not a Calvinist nor am I an Armenian as they would like to type all people who are not Calvinist. I'm what you call a Bible believer. That means I believe whatever God says in his Word without trying to formulate it into doctrines that don't exist. Like the term total depravity. You won't find that in the Bible.
Did I answer your question? I think I did. OK. If I didn't shoot it back to me again and we'll take another pass at it.
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