Mostly Dead vs. All Dead

This video clip from The Princess Bride is my favorite light-hearted illustration of the Arminian view of human depravity (an issue integrally related to prevenient grace):

This is the notable part of the exchange:

“Well it just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. . . . Now mostly dead is slightly alive. All dead—well, with all dead, there’s only usually one thing that you can do.”

“What’s that?”

“Go through his clothes and look for loose change.”

Another good illustration of the effectual call and regeneration:

Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

The dead man came out . . . . (John 11:43–44)

Recommended resources:

  1. William W. Combs, “Does the Bible Teach Prevenient Grace?Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 10 (2005): 3–18.
  2. John Piper, “Total Depravity,” in “TULIP” (a nine-part seminar available in audio and video), 2008.
  3. Thomas R. Schreiner, “Does Scripture Teach Prevenient Grace in the Wesleyan Sense?” in Still Sovereign: Contemporary Perspectives on Election, Foreknowledge, and Grace (ed. Thomas R. Schreiner and Bruce A. Ware; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), 229–46.


  1. Michael Bird says

    I’ve also mentioned this part of the movie in sermons. Brilliant minds must think alike.


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