Lesson 4

Focus 4 – Total Depravity 重点4 - 完全的败坏

(1) The five points of Calvinism were popularized in the 1963 booklet The Five Points of Calvinism Defined, Defended, Documented by David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas. The authors of this booklet did not cite whether they had obtained the mnemonic from someone who wrote previously.

加尔文主义的五点纲要因一本小册子而闻名,这本小册子名叫“The Five Points of Calvinism Defined, Defended, Documented”(中译《加尔文主义五特点》赵中辉译)由David N. Steele和Curtis C. Thomas两人于1963年出版。作者在书中并没有指明他们是否是从前人那里获得的这个缩写语(指郁金香)。

(2) The five main, thought provoking points of Calvinism are summarized in the mnemonic TULIP.

T – Total Depravity;

U – Unconditional Election;

L – Limited Atonement;

I – Irresistible Grace; and

P – Perseverance of the Saints.


T - 完全的败坏 ;

U - 无条件的拣选;

L - 有限的代赎;

I - 不可抗拒的恩典;以及

P - 圣徒恒蒙保守。

(3) “Total depravity,” also called “total inability,” asserts that as a consequence of the fall of man into sin, every person is enslaved to sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God but rather to serve their own interests and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are morally unable to choose to follow God and be saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures. (The term “total” in this context refers to sin affecting every part of a person, not that every person is as evil as they could be). This doctrine is derived from Augustine’s explanation of Original Sin. While the phrases “totally depraved” and “utterly perverse” were used by Calvin, what was meant was the inability to save oneself from sin rather than being absent of goodness. Phrases like “total depravity” cannot be found the Canons of Dort, and the Canons as well as later Reformed orthodox theologians arguably offer a more moderate view of the nature of fallen humanity than Calvin.


(4) “… every person is a slave to sin…” We agree with this perspective.


John 8:34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.

约翰福音8:34 34耶稣回答说:「我实实在在地告诉你们,所有犯罪的就是罪的奴仆。

(5) “People are not by nature inclined to love God but rather to serve their own interests and to reject the rule of God.” We agree with this statement.


(6) Arminius who also believed in total depravity wrote, “In this [fallen] state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace.”


(7) So, all three of the main, protestant discussions on the sinful condition of people without Jesus agree that people without Jesus are sinfully corrupt. Yet as our main quote ended, later Reformed orthodox theologians arguably offer a more moderate view of the nature of fallen humanity than Calvin. In modern thinking founded upon Calvin that some are professing that people are not so bound in their sin prior to conversion.


(8) Following are Scriptural passages that address the nature of sinful people without the Savior.


Genesis 5:1-3 Notice the change in the use of the word “image” in this section.

This is the written account of Adam’s line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.” 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.

创世纪 5:1-3 注意在这一段里对词语“形象”的使用有什么变化。

1亚当的后代记在下面。(当 神造人的日子,是照着自己的样式造的,2并且造男造女。在他们被造的日子, 神赐福给他们,称他们为「人」。)3亚当活到一百三十岁,生了一个儿子,形象样式和自己相似,就给他起名叫塞特。

Why does the change in the use of the word “image” take place?


Ephesians 2:1 How is the nature of the person in bondage to unbelief spoken about in this text?

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, …

以弗所书2:1 这段经文中是怎样表述人的本性和不信紧密相连的?


Romans 8:7 How is the nature of the person in bondage to unbelief spoken about in this text?

the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

罗马书8:7 这段经文中是怎样表述人的本性和不信紧密相连的?

7原来体贴肉体的,就是与 神为仇;因为不服 神的律法,也是不能服,

1 Corinthians 2:14 How is the nature of the person in bondage to unbelief spoken about in this text?

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

哥林多前书2:14 这段经文中是怎样表述人的本性和不信紧密相连的?

14然而,属血气的人不领会 神圣灵的事,反倒以为愚拙,并且不能知道,因为这些事惟有属灵的人才能看透。

Genesis 8:21 Note next how God speaks about the spiritual nature of humanity even after the flood of Noah’s day. Is there anything different from the spiritual nature of humanity today?

The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

创世纪8:21 注意接下来神怎样谈论在诺亚时代的大洪水之后的人的灵性状况。和现在人们的灵性状况有什么不同吗?


(9) Please note from the above passages – If the sinful person has the nature described above, what chance does that person have of applying his or her will to their own conversion to Christ?

请注意以上的经文 - 如果在罪中的人具有上述所说的本性,人有多大的可能靠着自己的意志来使自己归向基督?

(10) Those who wish to focus on the will of people to bring to faith have a very serious problem to overcome.


(11) Some have tried to address this problem by weakening the hold that original sin has on people of unbelief, or even eliminating original sin all together.


(12) The four passages above Biblically demonstrate that original sin cannot be eliminated nor can we limit the slavery that comes from original sin or even sin in general.


(13) There are three perspectives regarding the nature of original sin.


  1. Original sin totally and completely has corrupted the will, the being, and the flesh. This perspective goes too far for then not even Christ could be holy for his flesh would then have been corrupted by sin.


  2. Original sin has totally and completely corrupted the will and the being. The bondage of sin goes deep and has tight chains that cannot be broken by human will which is itself corrupted and weakened by sin.


  3. Original sin is a shell around a person who will generally have some will and being that listens to God and his will. Somehow that will and being need to be activated so that the shell can be broken.


(14) Because of the passages listed that describe the nature of sinful people 2 is the best understanding of original sin. Even though #3 is the most popular of the concepts today, the thoughts of #3 do not do justice to the scriptural passages.


(15) Why would Satan encourage that people ignore the depth of sin in their lives, even original sin?


(16) Why would Satan encourage a weak understanding of original sin?