Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 15, 1949

False Arguments And Scripture Perversions

R. L. Whiteside

One of the peculiar things about human beings is that the doctrines they fight often seep into their thinking. We have fought against the doctrine of inherited depravity; but some brethren seem to be tinctured with that Calvinistic doctrine. Brethren sometimes speak of "our fallen nature," and yet I doubt that they know what they mean. I would like for some brother who uses the term to tell us what it means. To my way of thinking it is just another term for inherited depravity. Brother Alonzo Williams is more specific in giving what he considers the result of the sin of Adam and Eve. In an otherwise good article in the Gospel Advocate of November 11, 1948, Brother Williams says, "Deceived by the devil, who said, 'Ye shall not surely die' (Gen. 3:4), the woman was led to think that God would not keep his word. She and Adam ate the forbidden fruit. They thus challenged God to stand by his word. Results? The image of God in which they were created was blotted out, they lost their home in Eden, their oldest son killed his brother; the people of Noah's generation 'filled the earth with violence', and the story of wasted lives runs like a scarlet thread through the sorrowing centuries." Read again what Brother Williams says. It is just a plain and forceful statement of the Augustinian-Calvinistic doctrine of hereditary total depravity. In his debate with Mr. Campbell (page 630) Mr. Rice says, "The divine image has been defaced." And "defaced" is not as strong a term as "blotted out." If Brother Williams is correct, then the sin of Adam and Eve worked such a great miracle in them as to change their nature and the nature of the whole human family!

Notice God's own basis for the law against shedding man's blood: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (Gen. 9:6). Now, if the image of God was blotted out, then the reason for that law was also blotted out. But the record does not say that a man, Adam, was made in the image of God, but man; and that means the human race. And the language shows that the law against shedding blood applies only to that which was made in the image of God, then there is no more wrong in shedding man's blood than in shedding the blood of a beast. And bear this in mind: Nowhere in the Bible is it said that the image of God was blotted out when Adam sinned. And notice that James says (3:8, 9) : "But the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made in the likeness of God"—"are made," present tense. And the man Paul says, "...he is the image and glory of God." (I Cor. 11:7).

The Presbyterian Confession of Faith and various Baptist confessions are dogmatical in affirming the total depravity of the human race as a result of Adam's sin. In 1847 the German Baptists adopted a Confession of Faith, "and henceforth all who were received into the churches were required to give assent to the Confession." The thirteenth edition was printed at Kassel, Germany, in 1908. From their articles on sin, I quote this item: "Through the deceit of Satan man sinned, fell away from God, lost the image of his Creator, and fell immediately, body and soul, into the state of death." Image of God blotted out—defaced—lost—if you see any difference in these expressions, pick your choice; but it would be better to repudiate all such unscriptural expressions. Yes, Adam and Eve sinned; but in committing that sin they did not work on themselves such a miracle as to change their nature and the nature of the whole human family! A sin work a miracle? If the sin of Adam and Eve did for them and the whole human family, what the creeds and Brother Williams say it did, then it did work one of the very great miracles. Many who hold the doctrine of hereditary total depravity claim that every conversion is a miracle. If we hold to their premises, it seems that we must admit their conclusion.

Did you ever try to find out just what these total depravity advocates mean by conversion, or regeneration! What change is made in the sinner? Any depravity, or original sin, removed? They say no change is made in the sinner's corrupt, or depraved, nature. The creed says, "This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated: and though it be through Christ pardoned, and mortified, yet doth itself, and the first motions thereof, are truly and properly Sin." So the corrupt nature is pardoned, but not removed, not changed! What then is done to the sinner? The Presbyterian Confession of Faith, chapter 13, says, "They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them... And the Baptist Confession of Faith says the same thing. But other things said in the creeds show great confusion of thought in the creed makers. But some of these funny metal Baptists have become very bold and definite in setting forth their notions on what happens to the sinner in regeneration. Within the year I heard two of them broadcasting from different towns argue that nothing is done to the sinner in regeneration—only a new life, a new spirit, is put into him. Both urged strongly that no one should think for a moment that the sinner was changed in the least degree—just a new life, a new spirit, was put into him. A new, clean resident is put into that sin-polluted wreck of a house without so much as fumigating it! If you think I have overdrawn the picture, it is because you have not heard what I have heard.