LAYING THE RIGHT FOUNDATION IN STUDYING GOD’S WORD
Compiled by Michael Jeshurun
The study of the doctrine of “Original Sin” is the proper foundation to be laid in the study of God’s Word!
As A.W. Pink once wrote to his friend Lowell Green – “They (Arminians) deny the total depravity of man, for they insist that he possesses a free will and can accept Christ and be saved by a decision of his own; thus directly repudiating God’s word, as found in John 1:13; 6;44; 8:36; Rom 9:16, and other passages. And where any teacher or preacher is unsound on these BASIC TRUTHS, no confidence must be placed on him on any other subject. IF HE IS ALL WRONG AT THE FOUNDATIONS, HIS SUPERSTRUCTURE IS BOUND TO BE FAULTY.” — A. W. Pink (1886–1952).
Henry Mahan said in one of his sermons – ““Sin and death came upon all men.” Is that what the Word teaches? Then, it is so! That is doctrine! That is original sin, and that is what man has to straighten out OR HE WILL BE MESSED UP ALL THE WAY THROUGH IN HIS DOCTRINE. What happened in the fall? What happened in the fall, determines what happened on the cross. What happened on the cross, determines what happens in a sinner when God saves him. What happens in a sinner when God saves him, determines where a man is going to spend eternity”.
“If you have never felt the weight of original sin, do not call yourselves Christians. I am verily persuaded that original sin is the greatest burden of a true convert; this ever grieves the regenerate soul, the sanctified soul. The indwelling sin in the heart is the burden of a converted person; it is the burden of the true Christian. He continually cries out, “Oh, who will deliver me from this body of death,” this indwelling corruption of my heart? This is that which disturbs a poor soul most. And therefore, if you never felt this inward corruption, if you never saw that God might justly curse you for it, indeed, my dear friends, you may speak peace to your hearts, but I fear, nay, I know, there is no peace”. – George Whitfield
“Though written many decades ago, the following quotation is an admirable expression of the continuing concern of Reformed thinkers for the doctrine of total depravity.
If the church and the ministry of the present day need any one thing more than another, it is profound views of sin; and if the current theology of the day is lacking in any one thing, it is in that thorough-going, that truly philosophic, and, at the same time, truly edifying theory of sin, which runs like a strong muscular cord through all the soundest theology of the church. ( William G. T. Shedd, Theological Essays)
John Gerstner expresses the same perennial Reformed interest epigrammatically when he says to the contemporary world,
One cannot think of God’s holy ways without thinking of our unholy ones. We cannot think of ourselves without thinking of our sin. Sin is the most important conviction any man can have. It is a bad theology which thinks man good. Any good theology must start with man as bad. (John Baillie, Our Knowledge of God (London: Oxford Press, 1939), p. 32.)
Gerstner and Shedd make remarkable assertions: “a good theology must start with man as bad”; the church needs a “truly edifying theory of sin.” Can any good thing come out of a consideration of sin? Reformed theology, going back through classical theology to the Scriptures, answers earnestly, “yes.” To be saved is to be saved from sin. If sin means total depravity, and if total depravity means hell, then salvation can really mean amazing grace.” – Thomas Gregory