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Can a Totally Depraved Man Test Himself?

Can a Totally Depraved Man Test Himself?


"Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not know your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are reprobates?" (2 Corinthians 13:5).


In this passage, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to examine themselves, to test themselves to see if they are really and truly in Christ. He reminds them that Christ is indeed in them, unless of course some of these people fail this test and find themselves to be reprobates.

Calvinists do not realize it, but this passage puts them into a very, very serious dilemma. The Calvinist believes two things which do not fit with this passage. First, he believes that he has complete assurance that he is in the faith and will forever be in the faith. Since he believes he has this complete assurance of his postion in Christ, there is no need to check and see if he is a reprobate or not since he claims that he already knows that he is not a reprobate and henceforth can never be a reprobate. Secondly, the Calvinist quoting 1 Corinthians 2:14, believes that it is absolutely impossible for a reprobate (unregenerate person) to even perform this examination because he is not able to discern such spiritual matters. The Calvinist does not believe the Totally Depraved man is even able to make such discernments because he is in fact Totally Depraved. So now we come to the obvious question, "Why would Paul ask anyone to perform such an examination upon himself?"

Let us think about this carefully. How many regenerate Calvinists think that they need to check to see if they are reprobates since they already believe they are not? Moreover, according to Calvinism, they can only test themselves to see if they are reprobates if they are first regenerated which enables them to perform such an examination into these spiritual matters. But if they are regenerate they are not then reprobates in the first place and cannot find themselves to be! So then why bother to check? But if a person is not regenerate, the Calvinist claims a person is not able to examine themselves in the first place because they are unable to do so due to their unregenerate spiritual condition. So then how could Paul expect such persons to perform the check? How can a regenerate person, according to Calvinism, fail the test and how could a non-regenerate person perform it? In Calvinism, both are impossible.

The truth is that Paul is telling people in the Corinthian church that they have the ability to determine whether or not Christ is in them and whether they are really in the faith whether or not Christ is in them. And Paul expects that it is quite possible that after such a self-examination that some of them might find they are not in the faith, Christ is not in them, and they will find themselves to be reprobates - something a Totally Depraved person could not do according to Calvinism and something a born again person with full assurance of salvation would not need to do according to Calvinism.

Paul is not asking people to remind themselves they are true Christians. He is asking them to check and see whether they are really true Christians or not. According to the Calvinist, only a true Christian has the ability to check to see if he is a non-Christian which would be a rather pointless exericise. And according to the Calvinist, a non-Christian does not have the ability to check either way. Therefore, no one could possibly ever examine himself and be found a reprobate according to Calvinism. The reprobate does not have the ability, and the non-reprobate cannot find himself to be reprobate. Hence, Calvinism implicitly nullifies this passage for the sake of their traditions.

Thus, the Calvinist doctrine of "Total Depravity" is again shown to be a false doctrine.