life, Light

Totally Depraved?

Your idea of Saturday morning fun may not include reading up on total depravity, but that’s what I did this snowy April morn. (By “reading up” I mean I read the Wikipedia entry.)

Why on earth?

Because I got up at 5 am, fed my friends and then headed to leaders meeting where leader after leader affirmed the doctrine of the total depravity of man. One wonderful leader, a friend, supposed that even during the 1,000 year reign of Jesus (Revelation 20), even with Satan’s lying lips silenced, the behavior of people will spiral out of control.

But where in Scripture does it say that?

When God created mankind, He declared His work, “very good.”

Adam and Eve showed no signs of depravity until the deceiver showed up and, well, deceived them.

There is no mention in Scripture of any sort of rebellion during the 1,000 year reign of Christ. It isn’t until the serpent is released from the Abyss and starts deceiving people again that an army forms and marches against God. I agree that sin is present in every man, but in the beginning (Genesis 3) and in the end (Revelation 20) rebellion needed to be coaxed by deception.

Rebellions need a leader. An instigator.

That’s why who your child hangs out with is important.

That’s why who you listen to is important.

That’s why most – probably all – people have to be radicalized before they commit terrorist atrocities.

I know Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure,” (17:9) but back up your Bible reading bus and look what he said just before that: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man…” (v. 5) “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord…” (v. 7)

So here’s what I want us Christians to do: Check the Scriptures before we promulgate a man made doctrine. See if it’s written in red by Jesus, or in stone by the prophets.

Maybe even check Wikipedia to see where it originated.

And speaking of Saint Augustine, I cannot read or hear his name without being warmed by the memories of my many visits to St. George Street, Flagler College, Castillo de San Marcos, the Alligator Farm and even Fort Matanzas. I’m way past due for a return trip.


St. George St., Saint Augustine, FL photo credit: Evangelio Gonzalez, Creative Commons

Bottom line:  If the doctrine you hold so dear originated with man, take it with a grain of salt. air.

Ahhhh, salt air.