Somehow he has to be regenerated before he can exercise faith and believe. This is all foolish thinking and a lot of nonsense.
December 17, 2012
From the: The Hufhand Report: Friday, Dec. 7, 2012
I’ve been thinking about this for sometime. I think we are confusing a lot of people and complicating this matter of getting saved. I keep getting comments from people that I’m being too caustic toward Calvinism. Maybe so. However, the thing that concerns me, is not what comes first as it relates to the process in salvation. My concern has to do with man’s depravity. Is man totally depraved or isn’t he? That’s the question. Given that our creator God, in the beginning said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” after which, He reached down into the red clay of Mesopotamia and took a hand full of dirt and fashioned man in His image, then “He breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soul,” how does all this figure in as it relates to us getting saved and going to heaven? Let's begin with what is meant by His likeness and His image? We know it was not His physical appearance, because “God is a spirit.” (John 4:24) From what we can understand for other Scripture, besides all of His other attributes he is distinct in that He has intellect, emotion, and will. He knows, He feels, and He acts. This, I believe, is what God had in mind when He created man in His image, after His likeness.
That being said, what happened when Adam fell and became a sinner by nature? We do not have to consult Augustine, or Plagius, or Arminias, or Calvin, or Zwingli or Wesley, or any of the modern theologians. All we have to do is go to the first couple chapters of Genesis, and then study the Book of Romans and especially the first three chapters to realize that when man was put to the test to see if he would be morally and spiritually righteous or if he would be morally and spiritually sinful, he chose the latter. So when he failed the test and ate of the forbidden fruit, he plunged himself, along with his wife Eve, and all of mankind into the darkness of depravity. Adam died both spiritually and physically. In other words, he died to everything spiritual; he died to everything physical, which included, his mind, his emotions, and his will. Every part of Adam was affected, dramatically. The likeness of God was taken from him. Adam could no longer think like God; he could no longer feel like God; and he could no longer act like God. He died intellectually; he died emotionally; and he died willfully. We all accept that he began to die physically, but to what extend did he die intellectually, emotionally, and willfully? The Bible says that by “one man, sin entered into the world and death by sin, so that death passed upon all men.” Cf. Eph. 2:1
In order for us not to be identified with Augustine and Calvin, we have thrown the baby out with the bath water. We claim to be neither Arminian or Calvinistic but rather to be Biblicists. Then let’s be Biblicists. Our roots are not found in the theology of the Reformers; our roots are in the Bible, so let’s just believe the Bible. Let not dilute man’s depravity and rob God of His glory. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and he did that by dying a wretched and horrible death on the cross; He was buried and rose again to reverse all that happened in and through Adam in the garden.
Paul makes it perfectly clear in Romans that man is totally depraved. In studying the Scholastics of the 11th thru the 14th centuries, they combined the philosophy of Aristotle, the writing of the early church fathers and the dogma already laid down by the Catholic Church, and determined that altho’ man died physically and spiritually, which affected his body, as well as his soul, yet his intellect was unaffected. In other words, he had the ability to reason things out logically, because his mind was unaffected by the fall. We as Bible believing fundamental Baptists reject that flat out. Up until this present controversy started, we all believed and preached that may is totally depraved, but now because “total depravity” doesn’t seems to be strong enough for Calvinist, they have added a new twist to it, by adding the word, “inability” to their doctrine of the fall of man. That is, “man has no ability to do anything for himself.”
From the very beginning of my Biblical studies, I came to understand that Man is totally depraved and at that time I had never even heard of John Calvin. From simply studying the Bible I understood that man is depraved in his intellect; he’s depraved in his emotions and he is depraved in his will. When he sinned, he died spiritually, morally, and physically. The question comes, “By what means then does he respond to the free gift of salvation that is offered to him in Christ?” Eph. 2:1 says, “You hath HE made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…” Paul goes on to say in Eph. 2:8,9 “For by GRACE are ye SAVED thru FAITH AND THAT NOT OF YOURSEVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST.” Paul goes on to say in Titus 3:5, "It's not by works of righteousness which we have done buy by His MERCY that He saves us…." I can accept that from start to finish, that salvation is all of God and nothing of man. Even the faith necessary to reach out and accept God’s free offer of salvation, is granted to us by God's GRACE and MERCY. We don’t have to understand all that transpires when a person gets saved; the trouble comes when we try to logically figure it all out. Listen folks, we simply have to accept it for what it is and get in on it. If I understand what Jesus said in John 3:8, salvation is a mystery. We don’t have to understand how God’s grace and mercy works in conjunction with our faith, granting us the forgiveness of our sins and saving us from eternal damnation, we simply have to experience it. After all, how do you explain the wind? So it is with getting saved.
This isn’t Calvinism folks; this is Bible. Why don’t we just let God be God and let us be witnesses to the truth that man can be saved simply by repenting of his sins and accepting Jesus Christ into his life as His personal Lord and Saviour. This is what I was taught through college and seminary. I see no reason to change now, simply because it has become controversial. Winning people to Jesus is easy. It is not complicated. If people have enough sense to eat a piece of bread, they have enough sense to get saved, because Jesus is the bread of life. Let’s not make salvation hard, when God has made it easy. Maybe, I’ll do more on this later.
Dr. Lawrence Hufhand