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Thread: Cornelius and Total Depravity

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    tWebber
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    Cornelius and Total Depravity

    Some people say that before Cornelius became a Christian, he was a devout man and he feared God. They also say that God was pleased with prayers before he became a Christian. They would say that this disproves the total depravity of man. What do you think about this? Is Cornelius really a non-Christian in Acts 10:1-4? If he was a non-Christian, does the fact that he feared God disprove the total depravity of man?

    Acts 10:1-4 states:

    Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually. About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.

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    tWebber 37818's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornet View Post
    Some people say that before Cornelius became a Christian, he was a devout man and he feared God. They also say that God was pleased with prayers before he became a Christian. They would say that this disproves the total depravity of man. What do you think about this? Is Cornelius really a non-Christian in Acts 10:1-4? If he was a non-Christian, does the fact that he feared God disprove the total depravity of man?

    Acts 10:1-4 states:
    He was exsposed to the God of Israel through the Jewish people. This is not contrary to the Biblical depravity of men.
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Hornet, please provide your definition of what "the total depravity of man" is.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  4. Amen Sparko, DesertBerean, Christian3 amen'd this post.
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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Hornet, please provide your definition of what "the total depravity of man" is.
    ^That.

  6. Amen Cow Poke amen'd this post.
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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornet View Post
    Some people say that before Cornelius became a Christian, he was a devout man and he feared God. They also say that God was pleased with prayers before he became a Christian. They would say that this disproves the total depravity of man. What do you think about this? Is Cornelius really a non-Christian in Acts 10:1-4? If he was a non-Christian, does the fact that he feared God disprove the total depravity of man?
    I believe he was a believer, like Abraham, the example for us of saving faith. But he needed to put faith in Christ, just like the disciples of John the Baptist did. If they were truly believers, then they would take that step, I conclude.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber Faber's Avatar
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    I think of Cornelius as being like Lydia and Apollos, maybe add Simeon and Anna at the time of the infancy of Jesus: People who were saved by faith as was Abraham, but who have not yet heard of Jesus at the time. As soon as they heard of Jesus, they trusted in Him.

  9. Amen Cow Poke amen'd this post.
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    tWebber
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    I will contribute a point, a conclusion, I have about Roman 3, which may show that Romans 3 does not refer to the total depravity of man .

    The discussion in the Rom 3:10-18 is used by Paul to counter the sense that, in verse 9, Jews are better than "us" (this pronoun referring to the Gentile audience and, figuratively, Paul).

    Paul was countering the general principle, as held by Jews, that Jews were superior to Gentiles or that the law was a superior way of making one righteous; this was the background theory that caused a problem in Rome. Paul wrote verses 10-18 to counter non-Christians among the Jews who had said that works of the law was needed to make a person into a decent person.

    Verses 10-18 show that the law actually did not establish righteousness for those who sought to be justified by it. The law that Paul presented in these verses shows that the law testified to their unrighteousness. The situation was like being in a deep pit and trying to climb out on a ladder that was sinking into quicksand. The ladder won't get you out of the hole.

    The passage was not saying that Jews were further away from enjoying the benefits in Christ. However, the law did not give the Jews (or the Christian gentiles in Rome) an advantage.

    So, Romans 3:10-18, in my reading, was not Paul's view that all humanity was totally depraved. Instead, he was showing that the law was not contributing to Jews' righteousness and thus the Gentiles should not seek works of the law. Nor should the Gentiles feel inferior because they are not relying on works of the law.

    Note: It will take me a long time to get the background material docuemented to undergird this reading.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Hornet, please provide your definition of what "the total depravity of man" is.
    The total depravity of man consists of the following: 1. Human beings are sinful and sin has affected every part of their lives and 2. A person will not seek God unless God first draws him.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornet View Post
    The total depravity of man consists of the following: 1. Human beings are sinful and sin has affected every part of their lives and 2. A person will not seek God unless God first draws him.
    But doesn't God draw everyone?

    2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    and:

    Rev 3:20
    Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    But doesn't God draw everyone?

    2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    and:

    Rev 3:20
    Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
    We might also add John 12:32:

    "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

    But not all are drawn at once:

    "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." (John 6:44)

    So all who are drawn are raised, but not all are raised.

    A conundrum!

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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