total depravity
   The doctrine of total depravity is a perspective within Protestantism about the consequences of humanity's fall into sin. All Christians believe that humans are fallen, but they disagree over the nature and extent of the state. Within the Calvinist tradition, the prevailing view is that humanity has been so corrupted that individuals cannot of themselves make any decision or do any act that would lead them to believe the Gospel and manifest faith in Christ. God has chosen to save some individuals and offers his grace to them. That grace, being irresistible, leads to faith and response in those who receive it.
   From the viewpoint of total depravity, the image of God, in which humans were created (Genesis 1:26), has almost completely disappeared and needs total regeneration. Other Christian viewpoints maintain that the image of God still remains to some degree; while humans need God's assistance to believe, that assistance is available to all.
   The doctrine of total depravity enabled Calvinism to maintain its Reformation faith that salvation was the work of God, not of humanity. Not even faith itself, or any human response to the message of salvation, could be seen as a human contribution to God's saving work.
   Total depravity is part of a complex of doctrines affirmed by Calvinists, including unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints, that are collectively known as the five points of Calvinism.
   Further reading:
   ■ A. W. Pink, Gleanings from the Scriptures, Man's Total Depravity (Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1969)
   ■ David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas, The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian & Reformed Press, 1963).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Total depravity — (also called total inability and total corruption) is a theological doctrine that derives from the Augustinian concepts of original sin. It is also advocated by many Protestant confessions of faith and catechisms, including those of Lutheranism,… …   Wikipedia

  • Total depravity — Depravity De*prav i*ty, n. [From {Deprave}: cf. L. pravitas crookedness, perverseness.] The state of being depraved or corrupted; a vitiated state of moral character; general badness of character; wickedness of mind or heart; absence of religious …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Total depravity — Total To tal, a. [F., fr. LL. totalis, fr. L. tolus all,whole. Cf. {Factotum}, {Surtout}, {Teetotum}.] Whole; not divided; entire; full; complete; absolute; as, a total departure from the evidence; a total loss. Total darkness. To undergo myself… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • total depravity — n. in Calvinism, the utter depravity of humankind due to original sin and persisting until regeneration through the Spirit of God …   English World dictionary

  • total depravity — Original O*rig i*nal, a. [F. original, L. originalis.] [1913 Webster] 1. Pertaining to the origin or beginning; preceding all others; first in order; primitive; primary; pristine; as, the original state of man; the original laws of a country; the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • total depravity — noun Date: 1794 a state of corruption due to original sin held in Calvinism to infect every part of man s nature and to make the natural man unable to know or obey God …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • total depravity — the Calvinist doctrine that humankind s entire nature, including its reason, is corrupt or sinful as a result of the Fall and that people are therefore completely dependent on God for regeneration. [1785 95] * * * …   Universalium

  • total depravity — noun Calvinist doctrine that all human action is tainted by original sin …   Wiktionary

  • TOTAL DEPRAVITY —    a commonly misunderstood CHRISTIAN doctrine taught by LUTHER and CALVIN but first formulated at the SYNOD OF DORT which teaches that humans are unable by their own efforts to please GOD and therefore entirely rely on His GRACE for SALVATION.… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • total depravity —  Тотальная порочность …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

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