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The origin, nature, and condition of man - this topic deals with man's spiritual condition, and his great need for Christ. The primary issue contested among Christians is whether man is totally depraved and without the ability or will to save himself, or only partly incapacitated and thus universally capable of responding to the Gospel. This issue touches on the sovereignty of God. If all mankind is able to respond to the Gospel, but anyone is denied his or her redemption by rejecting the gospel, then God is not sovereign in our salvation. Instead, we are "wooed" more or less successfully by the HS through the evangelist. If evangelism is always successful, then why does God choose to woo some but not others? How is this any different than Calvinism where the elect are predetermined? If it's sometimes unsuccessful, then how can the HS be a pledge or guarantee since he's occasionally impotent? (2Cor 5:5) Where then is our eternal security? (Jn 10:28)

If Christ died for all mankind, but redemption depends on our choice, then Christ actually saved no one. He only obtained the possibility of salvation for us. Our destiny is still in our own hands, just as it was under the Law. Infants, the mentally incapacitated, and those who have not heard the gospel, cannot understand what is at stake. Their misperception or lack of opportunity means they will be lost, and God is unable to save them. That puts their salvation in our hands, both to get the Gospel to them, and to persuade them to accept it, thereby enabling them to enter into the kingdom. I believe this is a deadly heresy. It is ego-centric, destructive of grace, discomforting to the elect, and contrary to Scripture. But of course, it's very popular, especially under American Individualism. Such ideas were denounced and refuted at the Synod of Dordt.

 

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