Friday, November 26, 2010

Goodness separates many from God.

[This is a part repetition/part expansion of my previous post]

We have been led to believe that sin has separated mankind from God – but that is not always the case.
Man’s goodness can be a greater hindrance than his sin.

Acknowledgement of sin can lead to repentance and a desire for forgiveness, but a man’s good deeds often blind him to his need. Surely his good deeds will outweigh those times everyone goes through, where the rules are bent or where behaviour is known to fall short. A few sinful acts will be overlooked when more good deeds are done – won’t they?
Surely keeping more commandments than are broken would give a pass mark (6 out of the 10; or 307 out of the 613 of the Mosaic Law)?

One of the more widely held theological doctrines is that of man’s “Total Depravity” – describing the innate condition which separates man from God. It’s a term I don’t like because it conveys a false impression. The word “total” speaks of fullness, completion, an UTTER state that can't be increased. The term “total depravity”: therefore conveys and impression that ALL men are equally depraved to the full capacity: that ALL men could not be worse than they are.

That is clearly NOT the case. Some men ARE worse than others. Not all are Hitlers, Stalins or Pol Pots. To portray mankind as ALL being equally and fully depraved is a misrepresentation.
How would an unsaved person who is “good” in human terms respond to being putting in the same “TOTAL” category as Hitler? Could they accept that judgement?

NO, because they can see it is not true. Therefore, what is likely to be their response to the offer of cleansing and forgiveness through Jesus?
They won’t see the need!

The thing separating man from God is NOT “total depravity” – it is PARTIAL depravity or SUFFICIENT depravity. To a God who demands perfection, a person does not need to be TOTALLY depraved to miss the mark. The slightest blemish of character will be enough to spoil the perfection required. It doesn’t need the breaking of all commandments or even a majority of them for a person to fall short of God’s standard. Break one and you’ve broken the whole law.
ALL men are sufficiently sinful (depraved) to separate them from God.

There is NOTHING mankind can do to earn or deserve any favour from God. ALL of mankind has fallen short of His perfect standard, with the exception of one man – Jesus. And it is through HIM and HIS righteousness (not our own) through HIS fulfilment of the law (not our own) that relationship with God has been made possible.
It is through trusting HIM instead of ourselves, trusting what HE did instead of what we do, that we will be accepted by God

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Total Depravity?

to•tal   /ˈtoʊtl/

1. constituting or comprising the whole; entire; whole: the total expenditure.
2. of or pertaining to the whole of something: the total effect of a play.
3. complete in extent or degree; absolute; unqualified; utter: a total failure.
4. involving all aspects, elements, participants, resources, etc.; unqualified; all-out: total war.


I will always have a problem with the non-biblical terminology of "total depravity" because its theological application does not really mean TOTAL.

Total means there as absolutely no room for anything further to be added - it is complete and utter in its extent. Man's depravity is no where near "total", there is room for worse. Not everyone turns out to be a Hitler, a Stalin or a Pol Pot.

The problem with unsaved man's condition is not so much "depravity". A far greater problem is that area of "goodness" within and displayed by most of us that allows room for self-righteousness.

Having some good traits (NOT being totally depraved) obscures the destructiveness of the bad and allows us to feel justified within ourselves. To many people it is their “goodness” that keeps them separated them from God because they see no need for a saviour.

Reference to the “total depravity” of man is a stumbling block to the unsaved. Despite recognising and admitting their faults, most can also see that they are not as depraved in behaviour or attitude as they could be: that their depravity is not total and therefore such a claim is a lie.

Man’s unsaved state is NOT due to total depravity, it is due to PARTIAL depravity – when God requires absolute perfection, it only takes the smallest blemish for us to fail His standard.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oil Depletion, Israel and the Nations

The world will run out of oil around 100 years before replacement energy sources are available if oil use and development of new fuels continue at the current pace, a US study warns.

Full article here:
OIL Depletion

My comments:

What is partly HIDDEN in the article referenced above is the expected oil depletion date of 2054. Less than 44 years away.
And that year is stated to reflect a more “optimistic date” – which means oil is expected to run out well before then.

People are often most concerned about oil as a fuel and their immediate concerns are usually related to the COST of fuel.

But oil derivatives are essential components of modern food and material production. Our lives are dominated by products manufactured from oil. Many chemical based products rely on oil for components.

We should not live with the illusion that the end of oil production is a problem for the future, maybe beyond our lifetime. Reducing oil availability in the near future will cause greater problems than its eventual disappearance.

I guess we realise that the majority of oil comes from the Middle East – from countries that are strongly anti-Israel.
As the oil situation becomes increasingly dire, there will be more pressure placed on nations who have historically supported Israel. Oil supply will likely be affected depending on a country’s relationship with Israel.

Israel will increasingly be seen as a threat to world peace and security and will come under increasing pressure from the rest of the world to compromise on Arab demands. The nations of the world will be pressured into opposing Israel to maintain their supply of oil.

Ultimately the anti-Israel sentiment could lead to military threats from an oil hungry world. This is merely one scenario based on current world events and the status of world resources which has the potential to lead to the fulfilment of prophecy.

Is it coincidence that an anti-Israel, Arab world has most of the world’s oil resources? Is it coincidence that scripture lists these nations as a prominent part of an aggressive movement against Israel in the latter days? Is it likely that decreasing oil supply will give oil producing nations greater influence over the other nations of the world and their policies regarding Israel?

Auschwitz Album

Auschwitz Album


David Ryser

One of the most visited posts on this blog relates to an article by David Ryser . The article was sent to me through Andrew Strom’s email newsletter.

I have now been given a link to the source of the article on Dr Ryser’s own blog.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


At work we have an Occupational Health and Safety noticeboard where information about workplace safety can be posted. Occasionally there will be photos of actual cases of incredible carelessness (even stupidity) that put people’s lives at risk.

An example would be someone standing on a ladder balanced on a chair that they have placed on a table – all in the attempt to reach a height beyond the capability of the ladder.

This thoughtless approach and attitude brings to mind the way some people approach their relationship with Jesus.

The ladder in the above example lacks stability. It is not placed on the required foundation, and it is a danger to anyone who climbs it.

There are foundations to the Christian life. They are specifically mentioned together in Hebrews 6 and separately elsewhere. They provide the basics of Christian faith, a secure anchor point. Yet how often do arguments arise about their necessity?

Some people seem intent on seeing how few of the foundational things they need? Is baptism really necessary? What about repentance? Surely it’s enough to merely believe?

These people make me think of the man on that ladder: seeing how little contact he can have with a solid foundation without falling. Some even try to test things further, rocking the ladder to one side until it is balancing on one leg only.