The author observes the importance of the doctrine of total depravity, and thus the sinfulness of man in church history. In discussing man's depravity, the author appeals to such circles as philosophy and the general empirical observations of human conduct. References are made to such works as Calvin's Institutes and the Reformational creeds (e.g., the Westminster Confession).
A faulty doctrine of sin has serious consequences for the church and its teaching on salvation, but good theology must start with man as bad. This is where the Reformers and the Reformed confessions start—with total depravity. For them the doctrine of total depravity did not mean that man ceases to be man, but it meant that he ceases to be good. The article outlines all of this.