“When people have trouble with election – and many do – their real problem is not with the doctrine of election, although they think it is, but with the doctrine of depravity that makes election necessary.”
“The question to settle is: How far did the human race fall when it fell? Did man fall upward? That is the view of secular evolutionists…. Did man fall part way but not the whole way, so that he is damaged by sin but not ruined? That is the view of Pelagians or Arminians. It affirms that we are affected by sin but insists that we nevertheless possess the ability to turn from it and believe in Christ when the gospel is offered – by our own power. Or did man fall the whole way so that he is no longer capable of making even the smallest movement back toward God unless God first reaches down and performs the miracle of the new birth in him? That is the view of Scripture.”
“The Bible says that we are ‘dead in…transgressions and sins’ (Eph. 2:11). It says, ‘There is no one…who seeks God’ (Rom. 3:11). Jesus declared, ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him’ (John 6:44). It is written in Genesis: ‘The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time’ (Gen. 6:5).”
“What good could God possibly foresee in hearts that are dead in transgressions and sins and inclined only to evil all the time? What good could God anticipate in people who cannot come to him and do not even seek him unless he first draws them to himself. If that is the situation, as the Bible says it is, then the only way any man or woman can be saved is by the sovereign election of God by which he first chooses some for salvation and then leads them to faith” (p. 16-17).
James Montgomery Boice, Ephesians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997).
Note: Arminians may object to the statement that they affirm fallen human beings are "affected by sin but insist that we nevertheless possess the ability to turn from it and believe in Christ when the gospel is offered – by our own power." The Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace indeed tacitly acknowledges total depravity but effectively no one is influenced by it... still leaving room for boasting because it does not answer why one person responds positively to the gospel and not his neighbor (when both are under preveneint grace). Why did God give one man a positive inclination to the gospel and not the other when he created him. It was not grace that makes these two human beings to differ (since both had grace) but something else, a positive inner virture that one has that inclines him to believe the truth of the gospel that the other does not. The Bible teaches that grace is not a reward for faith but the cause of it. Jesus Christ providedes EVERYTHING we need for salvation, including a nw heart to believe.
Next, while I agree with what Boice declares here overall, it would appear to me that election and total depravity are both offensive to human beings because both point to the utter impotence of man to help himself and the necessity of a supernatual intervention of God if any man is to be saved.