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Does Larry Taylor Deny Original Sin?


Larry Taylor was the former director of the Calvary Chapel Bible College. Larry Taylor is now pastor of Oasis Fellowship in Indiana which is not a Calvary Chapel but is clearly quite similar.


In Taylor's booklet on Calvinism vs. Arminianism, Taylor states that infants are innocent. This denies the fundamental Christian doctrine of Original Sin.


What is original sin and why is it important?


Original Sin is the doctrine that states we have Adam's sin imputed to us at our conception. It is part of our inheritance that we receive as descendants of Adam. Just as the sin of Adam is imputed to us, Christ's righteousness is also imputed to us. Denying one necessarily denies the other.

Where does Taylor deny original sin?


Taylor lays out his contrary teaching in two places in the short booklet titled "Calvinism vs. Arminianism, A Discussion of Doctrine". The first reference is near the end of the Section V, where Taylor says about Calvinism:


Such a belief makes God a monster who eternally tortures innocent children,


The second reference is in the same booklet in Section VI, midway down the next to last page, where Taylor states:


Innocent babies who die are safe in heaven.


What Scriptures teach Original Sin?


Original sin is taught in the book of Romans where it explains that even if we never had sinned, we would still have a sin nature as descendent of Adam. There are a number of verses that justify this view.


Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

15 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification.

17 For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.


Other Scriptures include:


Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.


Taylor's view explicitly denies the 1 Cor verse as unborn children are excluded from the all. We personally struggled with this doctrine for a few weeks when going through Romans with the Passantinos (a three year class). We fought hard to not believe it, but in the end the Scriptures were inescapable.

Is Taylor consistent with own writings?


Actually, this creates a contradiction for Taylor who claims to believe in Total Depravity in section III:


The idea of total depravity is consistent with Scripture (Ephesians 2:1, Romans 3:11),


A bigger contradiction can be found immediately before the second quote where Taylor wrote:


I am a free moral agent, responsible for my own sin, hopelessly lost... And yet I am still free to walk with Him or not to walk with Him. And what applies to me, applies to every human being.


For Taylor, this is apparently not true for unborn children that are always automatically saved. This is an obvious contradiction that defies any rational explanation.


What bad fruit does this cause?

Although Taylor's view may provide some comfort to parents who have lost a young or unborn child, his view could actually cause young girls that are pregnant to choose abortion over life. After all, if their unborn child will automatically go to heaven at death, then what's the problem with killing it? A young girl in a crisis pregnancy who accepted Taylor's teaching on this subject could rationalize her actions by reasoning that if her child is actually allowed to be born the child might later reject God and end up in hell. Thus, she could conclude that the baby itself would be better off dead and in heaven than alive and possibly damned. This is a case where the cure is worse than the illness.


Moreover, why shouldn't we just kill all babies before birth when they are still innocent so that they could all make it to heaven?

Well, then what about babies who die?


Some churches use an age of accountability to try to solve this question, but we do not find this taught in the Scriptures. We believe that this teaching also denies the fundamental teaching of original sin.


We do not believe that this leaves us with the conclusion that children who die are going to hell. We can find no Biblical justification for believing that God has some age of accountability and further believe that the justice of God can be satisfied without it.


We also do not believe in Total Depravity when it is further defined as Total Inability. This is done by the Calvinists to deny that man is able to respond to the Holy Spirit without first being regenerated. Instead, we believe that babies can actually have faith, even in the womb. This solves the apparent dilemma and has all men judged by the same standards.


If John the Baptist could leap for joy when Jesus (in-utero) came into the room, we think that there is Scriptural evidence for an unborn child to respond to God with saving faith.


Chuck Smith's Comments On Original Sin

To his credit Chuck Smith has several comments on Original Sin.


In Chuck Smith's own Statement of Faith, he writes:


We believe that all people are, by nature, separated from God and responsible for their own sin, but that salvation, redemption, and forgiveness are freely offered to all by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. When a person repents of sin and accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord, trusting Him to save, that person is immediately born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit, all his/her sins are forgiven, and that person becomes a child of God, destined to spend eternity with the Lord.


Further, Chuck Smith wrote:


Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so sin passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (5:12). The word "have" is added in the KJV; the original Greek reads, "...because all sinned." Paul is saying that when Adam sinned, he sinned for the whole human race. Just as Adam became a sinful creature, spiritually dead and separated from God, so did his children. Adam couldn't pass along any fellowship with God to his children, because he had lost it; and because he acted as our federal head, we came into this world separated from God.

The Gospel According to Grace, Chuck Smith, pp 43.44


In the Matthew Henry Commentary on the Calvary Chapel web site, it has:


If Adam had not sinned, he had not died; but a sentence of death was passed, as upon a criminal; it passed through all men, as an infectious disease that none escape. In proof of our union with Adam, and our part in his first transgression, observe, that sin prevailed in the world, for many ages before the giving of the law by Moses. And death reigned in that long time, not only over adults who wilfully sinned, but also over multitudes of infants, which shows that they had fallen in Adam under condemnation, and that the sin of Adam extended to all his posterity.


In Conclusion


The problem here are Taylor's statements:


* Unborn children are automatically innocent (no original sin)

* Unborn children automatically go to heaven.

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