In an earlier post I wrote concerning John Calvin’s character with regards to his dealings with Servetus, a Calvinist commenter admitted that what Calvin did was wrong and said it wasn’t a problem since Calvinists would just chalk it up to his total depravity. I then asked him if he was affirming that Calvin was both regenerate and totally depraved at the same time. He responded that this was indeed what he was suggesting. I mentioned that I understood the idea that we still have a sinful nature that must be overcome by yielding to the Spirit, but to say that one can be totally depraved and regenerate at the same time seems very problematic, especially considering the way that Calvinists explain total depravity as a state of being like a lifeless corpse, unable to respond to God. We didn’t pursue the issue any further, but I wanted to bring it up again and get some opinions.
Do you think that many Calvinists would put the matter as that commenter did, that Calvin was totally depraved while also being regenerate? I can’t imagine that many Calvinist would agree, but maybe I am wrong. If it is the case that Calvinists believe that one can be dead in sin while regenerate, then how would they address the apparent problems such a position would seem to imply? For example: How can one be dead in sin and dead to sin at the same time? How can one be dead in sin and enjoy the life of Christ at the same time. How can we call a believer who is being sanctified by the indwelling Holy Spirit “totally depraved” in the Calvinist sense?