View Single Post
Old 02-09-2009, 03:00 PM
George's Avatar
George George is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Posts: 891
Default Re: " CALVINISM: Sound Doctrine?"

Aloha all,

And now on toT.U.L.I.P. {the famous acronym associated with Calvinistic beliefs} This is my second Post (#2) in regards to the Doctrine of Calvinism. What follows is my comments in regards to the "First Tenant" of Calvinism - "TOTAL DEPRAVITY":

*T = “Total Depravity” (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)

The very first thing to note is: The wordsDEPRAVE”, “DEPRAVED”, orDEPRAVITYcannot be found in the Holy Bible. This is always a “Red Flag” for me, since so much of False Doctrine (Psychiatry/Psychology for example) is associated with “wordsnot found in the Bible.

Calvinists state:
“Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.”

{Please notice the failure to “rightly divide” man’s attributes:“Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin.” What happened to the conscience; the soul; and the spirit? According to the Holy Bible the “emotions” and the “will” both fall under the purpose and function of the heart – they are NOT separate “parts of man”!}

Calvinists state:
“The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick (Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3).”

The use of the TERM:“The doctrine of Total Depravity is NOT based on Scriptural words and is introducing a foreign concept not found in the Scriptures. The “claim” that Jeremiah 17:9 says: “man’s heart is . . . . SICK is utterly false since the Holy Bible says NOTHING OF THE KIND! [Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?] I have no idea where the Calvinists get the word “sick” from - I just know that the word “sick” (as applied to the heart) is NOT in the Holy Bible.

And again - Exchanging the word slave for the King James Bible wordservantin Romans 6:20 is clearly another example of men trying to “prove” something by both ADDING to, and CHANGING the words of God. [Romans 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.]

{Please notice the SUBTIL CHANGE in connotation from the words: “DESPERATELY WICKED” to“SICK”. “Desperately wicked” indicates an individual evil act of the “will”; “SICK” indicates an uncontrollable “disease” (hello Freud!). A “SERVANT” indicates someone who “willingly” serves; a “SLAVE” indicates someone who is unwillingly serving against their will. Did you notice – that both CHANGES to the Holy words of God are thinly disguised to bolster the Calvinist position and subtlety strengthened the argument in favor of Calvin’s doctrine of “TOTAL DEPRAVITY”?

I believe a more Scriptural description of man’s state would be to say: That all men are born with Adam’s sinful nature. [1Corinthians 15:44-49]; and that all men “come short of the Glory of God” [Romans 3:23] and so - “in Adam all die”. [1Corinthians 15:22]

According to the Bible - the state of all men and women born into this world is best described as being “SINFUL” – NOTTotally Depraved”. All men and women are “Sinners” – NOTTotallyDepraved”. The Scriptures describe all men and women {without God} as “the NATURAL man” – NOT the “Totally Depraved” man [1Corinthians 2:14]. By describing all men & women as being“Totally Depraved” the Calvinists have changed the parameters (words) of the issue – making a man incapable of even BELIEVING unless he is “regenerated” FIRST! God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); and God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); or as the “Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics” puts it: “The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability”. The man without knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).” But, “what saith the Scriptures”? [Ephesians 1:13In whom ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,]

And herein is the first major difference between most Calvinists and myself. In their concern for men having absolutely NOTHING to do with EARNING their salvation, the Calvinist (through the doctrine of “TOTAL DEPRAVITY”) make it impossible for a man (or woman) to even BELIEVE – unless they are “regenerated” FIRST!

Now, I believe that there is NOTHING we can DO to EARN God’s Salvation; but there is SOMETHING that we MUST DO to RECEIVE God’s Salvation – WE MUST FIRST BELIEVE!
THE QUESTION IS: . . .Sirs, WHAT MUST I DO to be saved? THE BIBLICAL ANSWER: And they said, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
[Acts 16:30-31]

There is a huge difference between sinful men (and women) being unable (in the flesh) to DO anything to EARN their Salvation, and men and women first “BELIEVING” the Gospel (with their heart) in order to RECEIVE God’s Free Gift of Eternal Salvation!

Now the Calvinists (in their concern for man having NOTHING to do with his Salvation) cannot accept that we BELIEVE before we are regenerated (for, according to Calvinism, that would be a WORK on the part of man, and since Salvation is:Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;[Titus 3:5] then (according to the Calvinists) we must be “regenerated” before we can believe – since BELIEVING (according to Calvinists) is a WORK. But BELIEF is solely an operation and function of the HEART – NOT the flesh! “WORKS of righteousness” are done in the FLESH. The heart is our “faculty” where our will resides; the flesh is our “substance” that produces WORKS!

As I said before - the problem is: that for all of these years (since the time of Calvin) – most of the “scribes” & “scholars” have failed to clearly DEFINE the “ATTRIBUTES” of man {according to the Holy Scriptures}, and in failing to do sothey have confused (i.e. mixed up) “works” that are done in the “flesh”, and BELIEF {an operation solely performed by the heart}. And not only that, in failing to discern between our SUBSTANCE (body, soul, & spirit), and our FACULTIES (heart, mind, & conscience) they have ended up attributing “works” to an attribute of man (the heart) that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual performance or execution of “works”.

Remember - The Biblical definition of the Heart: {Our Motivator}

The heart is that faculty within a man or woman which is the center or seat of our thoughts, meditations, considerations, perceptions,concepts, reasoning, understanding, beliefs, fears, imaginations,doubts,counsels,intents, desires (affections - emotions), and pride. The heart is where the will resides and operates.

Do you see anything resembling “works” in the Scriptural definition of the heart listed above (listed earlier – with scripture references)? The heart “motivates” us to do good or evil, but (I repeat) “works” are an operation of the “flesh” – NOT our heart!


Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Luke 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

[Genesis 45:26 And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not.

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:]

The Bible record is clear: We believe God with our heart. I cannot find a single verse in the Bible where we believe God with our soul, our spirit, our mind, our conscience, or our body! I cannot find a commandment or requirement in the Holy Bible for us to believe God with our soul, our spirit, our mind, our conscience, or our body! As a matter of fact, the Bible clearly indicates that man believes only with his heart!

Out of the approximately 876 verses in the Bible with the word heart or hearts in them – only one verse connects the heart with “work”:Isaiah 32:6 For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. And you will notice - that the “work” described therein are all the “works of the flesh” –practise hypocrisy”, “utter error against the LORD”, “to make empty the soul of the hungry”, “to cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.”

Work (“works”) are always connected with the “flesh” – Belief (believing) is always connected with the “heart”. BELIEVING IS NOT A “WORK” (OR “WORKS”)! BELIEVING is an act of our will, which falls under the purpose and function of our heart – NOT our “flesh”!

Notice the difference:

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 5:19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Scriptures are clear: “WORKS” are clearly connected with the “flesh”. The “WORKS of the flesh” are the result of a blind and deceived heart; a blind, corrupt, and carnal mind; and a conscience that has been defiled and seared. Just like there is a distinction between “works” and “fruit [Galatians 5:19-23; Ephesians 5:9], there is a difference between “works” (of the flesh) and “belief” (of the heart). We are clearly told in the Bible that there are “divisions” in the word of God [2 Timothy 2:15]; the man (or men) who overlooks or misses those “divisions” will end up believing a lie and teaching false doctrine.

In the following verses we have a perfect example of the difference between the operation of the heart and the "works of the flesh”. This difference can be clearly seen in David’s heart desire to build a Temple for God – but never actually doing the “WORK”:

1 Chronicles 28:2 Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:
3 But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.

2 Chronicles 6:7 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
8 But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that itwas in thine heart:

1 Kings 8:17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
18 And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.

Please Notice that: Although “it was in the heart of David to build an house for the Lord God of Israel” – He never did the “WORK”! That is – the desire; the will; and the intent were there (In His HEART!), but he never did do the “WORK” (in the flesh)! And yet God commended him because “it was in his heart”. According to the foregoing Scriptures the desire, will, and intent of the heart is NOT the same as actual “WORK”! The two things are clearly NOT the same!

The thoughts and intents of the heart are not equal tothe works of the flesh”, although “works” proceed from out of the heart. [Matthew 15:19-20; Mark 7:21-23]

When we study the Holy Scriptures we are presented with an apparent dilemma; How to “rightly divide” between the Bible’s record of the obvious “sinfulness” of all men (and women) on the one hand, and the testimony that there were some men (& women) that were declared “good”, “perfect”, “upright”, “righteous”, etc. The Calvinist doctrine of “TOTAL DEPRAVITY” overlooks this clear Bible testimony of men, who were obviously “Sinners”, and yet were also declared to be “good”, “perfect”, “upright”, “righteous”, etc. {NOT – “TOTALLY DEPRAVED”!}

The “problem” faced by all students of the Bible is: how does one “rightly divide” between all of the verses testifying to the utter sinfulness of all mankind on the one hand – such as:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Ecclesiastes 9:3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

Psalms 14:2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Psalms 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

And the clear testimony that there have been some men & women, who, even though they were not “sinless”, were declared to be - “good”, “perfect”, “upright”, “righteous”, etc. Therein lays the apparent “dilemma” or “problem” for those who study the Bible – How do we “square” the two opposing testimonies? For example – The Bible testimonyabouta good man: [2Samuel 18:27; Psalms 37:23; 112:5; Proverbs 12:2; 13:22; 14:14; Micah 7:2; - Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45; 23:50; John 7:12; Acts 11:24; Romans 5:7]

Calvin’s solution was to declare all men and women to be “TOTALLY DEPRAVED” – unable (on their own) to be “good”, “perfect”, “upright”, “righteous”, etc., without the supernatural intervention of God actually “changing” them first - “regenerating” Old Testament saints before “The Atonement”, and turning them into automated “robots”, so that they can do good works, etc. Calvin failed to differentiate (“rightly divide”) between the body (“flesh”) and the heart.

I believe that the testimony of the Holy Scriptures presents a very different picture of man’s state than that presented by John Calvin:

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: Why is it that Abel willingly offered – “a more excellent sacrifice than Cain”? How is it that because of Abel’s obedience (willingly offering “the more excellent sacrifice”) he obtained witness that he was righteous - If men are “Totally Depraved”?

Abel “believed” God and “acted” (in obedience) on his belief by willingly (there’s the “heart”!) bringing the “right” sacrifice”. [1John 3:12]

Genesis 4:26And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: What are they doing - “calling upon the name of the Lord”?

Men do not “call upon the name of the Lord”, unless they first “believe” in Him.

Genesis 5:22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: What is God doing – “walking with” Enoch?

If men are “Totally Depraved”: How in the world could Enoch possibly have - “pleased God”? Enoch could not have possibly “walked with God” without first “believing” in Him.

Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: How is it that the Scriptures testify that - “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations? How can someone be “Totally Depraved” and “just” & “perfect” at the same time? Hmmm?

If men are “Totally Depraved”: What was God doing – “walking with” Noah?

Noah “believed” God about the impending world wide Flood and acted on that belief by building the Ark - to the saving of himself and his family.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: How is it that the Bible commends Job and claims that Job – was “perfect”, “upright”, “feared God” and “eschewed evil”? How does a “Totally Depraved” man act that way?

Job “believed” in God and he honored God with his lips (his testimony) and sacrificed to God in accordance to God’s requirements.

Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: How is it that the Lord God commends Job (twice) and states that Job – was “perfect”, “upright”, “feared God” and “eschewed evil”? How does a “Totally Depraved” man act this way?

Genesis 18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
If men are “Totally Depraved”: Who then are “the righteous”? How can anyone be considered “righteous” and “Totally Depraved” at the same time?

The “righteous” are those men (and women) who “believed” God (like Lot).

Abraham “believed” God and left his homeland (in obedience to God’s command) based on his belief. And when Abraham was ordered to sacrifice his only son, he “believed” that God was able to resurrect him.

Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Galatians 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: How is it that Abraham was called – “the friend of God”? Does a Holy and Righteous God make “friends” with “Totally Depraved” men (or women)? I trow not!

Abraham was called “the friend of God” based on his “belief” in God and God’s promises.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: How is it that the Lord Jesus Christ called His disciples “friends”. How can the perfect, sinless, Holy Son of God call “Totally Depraved” (unregenerate) men –“friends”?

Acts 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: How is it Possible that David – “was a man after mine (God’s) own heart”?

David “was a man after mine (God’s) own heart” because he “believed” in God and in His Holy word, and trusted in God to keep His Promises concerning the Kingdom. It was David’s “belief” (with his heart) that God recognized and honored – certainly NOT some of his “works”!

1 Kings 3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: How could all of these things that are said about David be true?

David “walked before thee {God} in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart” because of his “belief” in God and in His Holy word.

1 Kings 9:4 And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:

1 Kings 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

1 Kings 14:7 Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,
8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;
1 Kings 15:1 Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.
2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
3 And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.
4 Nevertheless for David's sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem:
5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
If men are “Totally Depraved”: How is it that it was said of David that he –”walked in integrity of heart and in uprightness”; –or that “his heart was PERFECT with the Lord”; – or that “David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord”? How could God say that about David if men are “Totally Depraved”?

In all of these “examples” (and there are many, many more) we see certain principles and precepts that are in play throughout: God’s GRACE (always first and foremost), without which, no one could be saved; man’s “BELIEF” in God and in His Holy words; man’s “Trust” and “FAITH” in God and in His Holy words; and God honoring that “BELIEF” (first), then along with man’s “Trust” & “Faith”, by blessing the man whose heart truly and sincerely “BELIEVED”.

When a person BELIEVES the Gospel (in his heart), there is absolutely NO connection to “works” in any way - because the purpose, function, and operation of the heart is not the same as the purpose, function, and operation of the flesh. I repeat: “BELIEVING” is the sole operation of the heart. “Works”, on the other hand, are an operation of the flesh and have nothing to DO with “BELIEVING” the Gospel of Christ, nor can they have anything to DO with our salvation.

In this age (under the “New Covenant”) God is engaged in a “WORK”:

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

The “WORK” of God (in this age) is to convince people (through His word) to “BELIEVE” the Gospel. The purpose of the Gospel is to bring people to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. IF God “gives” us our “BELIEF”, WHY does He have to WORK at it? If our “BELIEF” is a “gift” from God - where then is there any “WORK” on God’s part? According to the Scriptures, God is now working at getting people to believe on him whom he hath sent.[Acts 13:41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.] If our “BELIEF” is a “gift” from God, there would be no “WORK” involved at all (on God’s part). Why would God try to “convince” someone of the very same thing (belief) that He is going to “give” them anyway?

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

We obtained like precious "faith" (God's precious "gift" to us) by "believing" in our hearts, “after” we heard the Gospel of the Grace of God.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Please notice the “Chronological Order” that leads up to our Salvation: We TRUSTED, AFTER we HEARD the word of TRUTH (The Gospel). We were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise”, AFTER WE BELIEVEDNOTBEFORE”! [Ephesians 1:13]:

Although faith is a “gift” from God (based on the Lord Jesus Christ’s finished WORK on Calvary), our “belief” in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT a “gift” from God, but is instead an operation and function of our heart – God does NOT “BELIEVE” for us, or “FORCE” us to “believe” in Him!

From the very beginning of the creation of Adam, and up to the present time, God has wanted people to "believe" Him and obey Him. There have been different Dispensations; and God has required different things of people under the different "Covenants"; but the one constant thread running throughout all of the ages (Dispensations), and under all of the "Covenants" is God's consistent requirement that we "Believe" Him (His Holy words). He does not FORCE us, or MAKE us "believe" Him, but He "REQUIRES" it!

God has required of everyone under every Covenant and in every "age" that they "BELIEVE" His words {Oral or Written} and OBEY them. We are very fortunate that under the "New Covenant” - All we have to DO to get saved is to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, . . . ." {When WE "BELIEVE" in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection and "RECEIVE" Him as our personal Saviour, we have done (obeyed) all that God has required of us (under the "New" Covenant) to get saved.} God never said that we are tooDEPRAVED” to believe Him – He has said that there is nothing we can DO (“WORKS”) to save ourselves {Romans 1:16; Romans 3:19-28; Galatians 2:16}.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God mustbelieve that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

I could go on and on with this discourse (and I probably will expand on this in my finished study), but I believe I have made my point - there is a clear difference between the Calvinist Doctrine of "TOTAL DEPRAVITY" and the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. And I have four (4) more points to go in T.U.L.I.P. {another day!}