Archive for October, 2006

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Totally Depraved . . . until . . . what?

October 31, 2006

It’s dark.  It’s really dark.  In fact, you don’t even know what light is.  So, this darkness is ok.   It’s familiar.  It’s comfortable.  It’s exactly what you think the world is like.   The room you are in has no windows, no doors, no vent, not even a nail-hole in the wall.  But the floor, now that is a little different.  The floor is full of holes that you keep falling in.  Some are deep, some wide, some hot, some cold, some filled with stuff that sucks you in and some that make you wonder if you are actually in a hole or not.  There is no way to avoid the holes.  They change all the time.  Not that it matters because you can’t see anyway.   It doesn’t help to just stay in one place.   The holes open up right under you with a sigh that reminds you of a giant’s sigh of satisfaction after eating a full dinner.   Yet, hungry for more.    Then, just as you find a hole that seems pleasant, (like so many before that ended up in pain) something happens.

What happens next is what has become the CYOA version of the Bible or the Choose Your Own Adventure version.  I’m sure there are many different roads that have been taken from this point when it comes to the deciphering of God’s word, but the two that I am going to focus on are the Reformed view, and the Javarmenian view.  I make no claims to represent the Armenian view because I honestly don’t know enough about it to know if I am representing it correctly.  I am giving my view which seems to coincide with the Armenian view more than any other.    As a second disclaimer, I would like to say that the above paragraph was not intended to directly represent our sinful nature other than to try to paint a picture of total depravity.  Anything else that someone may try to read into it is not intended.   

The Calvinist finds himself in that hole that he thinks he might stay in for a while and then  —  —   —– LIGHT —–  — —  brilliant, radiant,  overwhelming light that burns your eyes and makes you want to cry, but is filled with hope and love and kindness.   Then, there is God.  He pulls you out of the hole and lifts you to himself and as you look down, you see so many other people in that cold dark room staring as if blind.  Looking around as if there was no light.  How can they not see?  You yell.  They do not hear.  You wave your hands.  They do not see.  You turn and ask God why he doesn’t save them and he says, “I did not choose them.  I chose you.”

The Javarmenian finds himself in that hole that he thinks he might stay in for a while and then – a voice – “follow the light.”  But you don’t know what light is.  For that matter, you don’t even know how to follow.  The Voice – “Follow the light.”  Then you see it.  Something so different than anything you have known.  It is a light.   As it gets brighter, you can see the hole that just a minute ago felt comfortable.  Now you see that it is full of filth and mud and things not mentionable.  You climb out of the hole and start walking toward the light.   As you walk, you notice that no holes appear in the ground along the path of the light.  As long as you stay in the light, you won’t fall in any holes.  You start to see other people walking on the path as well.  Then you notice someone start to get out of his hole to join you on the path but then look back to his hole and climb back in to his muck with a look of contentment on his face.  You wonder. . . was it really that bad in my hole?  It was comfortable enough.  It was all you knew before the light.   The voice – “follow the light.”  You look back to your hole again.  “Follow the light,”  and you turn back around to the light and there is God, holding out his hand with tears in his eyes because he knows a child has come home.  You take his hand as he leads you through a door that you never knew existed before the light.   God puts his arm around you and turns you back around to face the door you just came through and says, “I need you to shine the light for others.  Be careful that you do not succumb to the lure of your hole.  Remember, I am here with you and there is nothing on the other side of that door that can pull you through if you keep your eyes on me.”

We are utterly helpless, utterly sinfull, hopelessly lost,  totally depraved . . . until . . . the light.  Calvinists tend to say we don’t take our sin as seriously as we should.  We don’t fully acknowledge our total depravity.  I am here to say that we do.  Without the light in both scenarios, the picture is exactly the same.  Without the Light, there is absolutely nothing we can do to get out of the dark room filled with holes.  NOTHING.  You can’t get any more depraved than that.  The difference is not where we start, it is our accountablility in reaching the light.  The Calvinist paints a pretty picture, but is that what the Bible teaches? 

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On your mark . . .

October 16, 2006

On your mark . . . get set . . . 

I am finally about ready to enter the first of my posts dealing with the Reformed vs. non-Reformed view.  Forgive me for being so slow