Re: justified & sinner (Was Re: Inerrancy)

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Fri Jul 12 2002 - 12:09:22 EDT

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    I'm surprised at your identification of the view you outline below
    with "the Lutheran view" since as far as I can tell it is identical
    with my view.

    Total deprativity, to Calvinists, does not mean "that there is
    absolutely nothiing good about unregenerate humanity at all". We
    labor to distinguish between the "extent" of depravity (which is
    total and affects every human faculty) and the "degree" of depravity
    which is not absolute. Thus no Calvinist theologian that I know of
    would say that man is as bad as he good be.

    Also, with respect to "simul justus et peccator" -- equally part of
    the Reformed theological tradition and the reason that justification
    is always the mainspring for sanctification. We never get beyond our
    need of the merits (both active and passive) of Christ.


    >John Burgeson wrote:
    >> Jan wrote: "As human beings there is no second of our day which is not
    >> stained with sin. "Total depravity" means that every moment of our day is
    >> full of sin, which means that no theory we have is without sin."
    >> I know Jan really really believes this. It seems to me like nonsense. What
    >> do people from other faith communities think?
    > The Lutheran view (i.e., the right one :)) is that
    >unregenerate human
    >beings are completely incapable of genuine faith in God, and that therefore
    >everything that they do is permeated with sin, "for whatever does not proceed
    >from faith is sin" (Rom.14:23). This does not mean that acts which are
    >outwardly in accord with the law are not possible, but that their motivation
    >is not that the sinner "fears, loves, & trusts in God above all things."
    > However, the term "total depravity" is problematic for it suggests
    >that there is absolutely nothing good about unregenerate humanity at all.
    >This would effectively mean that such people are no longer creatures of God or
    >(to use older language) that they are creatures of Satan, something suggestive
    >of the Manichaean heresy. Such an idea was condemned in the 1st Article of
    >the Formula of Concord.
    > Luther & the Lutheran tradition have held that even after
    >one has been
    >brought to faith by the Holy Spirit sin remains in the person. Luther's
    >statement is that the Christian is simul justus et peccator - at the same time
    >justified and sinner. This is an idea that other Christians have often had
    >problems with - it was one of the stickier points in the discussions leading
    >to the recent Lutheran-Roman Catholic declaration on justification. It seems
    >to me, however, to have pretty solid support in Romans 7 and in the experience
    >of most Christians if they reflect on it honestly.
    > I'm not sure what to make of the statement that "no theory
    >we have is
    >without sin." Heisenberg & Schroedinger, like all of us, were sinners, but
    >where is the sin in quantum mechanics?
    >George L. Murphy
    >"The Science-Theology Interface"

    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado  80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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