When Donald Trump told the world he believed himself to be a conservative, we who understand the Constitution and general conservative values laughed. It was one thing for Mr Trump to have deceived himself - it became a travesty when so many joined him in his delusional tour de force. We could see there was no evidence to support Trump's claim. It was all subjective rhetoric and yet people gobbled it up and went along with it.
This is evidence of a reprobate mind.
We all struggle to think objectively. Few of us can always think clearly on every topic. Our emotions and experiences frequently interfere with our ability to weigh arguments fairly and deeply. Someone being sympathetic to Bruce Jenner or voting for Donald Trump doesn't mean, necessarily, that they have been totally given over to sin, are beyond the grace of God or simply not a Christian. Only God knows that. Paul, who wrote in Romans 1 about the reprobate mind, was a man so deeply opposed to God that most of us would have written him off. God's grace is certainly sufficient for any and all who put their faith and trust and hope in Him. But, but, but we don't look at such an inability to think clearly as evidence someone is saved.
This isn't about individual men and women, though. This is about the collective state of American intelligence. This is about how deeply sin corrupts our train of thought, how deeply it plagues our capacity for rational living, how deeply it infects our ability to come to reasonable conclusions and how utterly deficient are our efforts to be logically consistent when we're apart from the saving grace of Christ.
Perhaps you're familiar with a conflict of interest? When you excuse yourself from something because there's an inherent bias that you know you can't overcome. Imagine if you're a prosecuting attorney and your child is the defendant. Or maybe you're on a board that is deciding who to hire to do some repairs and your best friend has put in a bid. Or you're the judge in a baking contest and your grandma made one of the pies. This is what it's like to try to make sense of the world when you're not a believer.
Hold up. That's not a strong enough analogy. It's more like if you were a bitter and angry person and then someone you have hated your whole life is potentially going to get hired to be your boss at work and they asked you what you thought of this person and all you've ever done in your life is lie about this person and try to defame them and then you try to give an objective answer to the inquiry. That's kind of what it's like for a nonbeliever to make sense of God's universe.
Or consider this passage:
Christ Jesus and Paul both affirm that Gentiles (i.e. nonbelievers) walk around with futile minds! Their worldview is completely chaotic!
Why am I saying this? Where am I even going with this depressing writing?
I should not have been surprised that Donald Trump was the GOP nominee. But if I'm honest, I am pretty shocked. I've taught and written about total depravity and I've read a lot about it but I was still surprised that Donald Trump won the nomination.
I don't think I'm alone in this when I say that sin digs much deeper than I think. Like-minded folks whom I'd agree with politically on a lot of issues have been duped by Trump. Many of these folk are decent and moral people. And yet even the most decent and moral natural man is at enmity with God. Do we believe that?
At T4G this year John Piper made the shocking statement that your sweet ole grandma who bakes you pies but is not saved....she HATES God. She, that sweet ole granny, hates God.
Do you believe that? Do I? The Bible is pretty darn clear that all non-Christians hate God. Does this change how we look at politics? It should. I used to think primarily that pro-choice liberals were people to be won over for the Lord. If you're a Democrat, I'm assuming you're not a Christian (just being honest). Now? If you're a Republican, I'm not assuming anything at all. Sadly, why did I ever associate conservative politics with regenerated spirits?
I too often gave a pass to people who had the right political views.
Here's some insight into my mind: "Oh she's pro-life and for traditional marriage? I definitely don't need to share the power of God unto salvation with her!"
"Oh he understands the value of free markets and low taxes? Surely he knows the Son of God!"
Dangerous assumptions. For all I know those people are doing the right thing in an effort to earn salvation by their works and thus spitting on Christ's accomplished work! They certainly may have been saved and their politics were the logical out-flowing of the Christian worldview, but they also may not have been and I overlooked their greater need (right relationship with God) because I was satisfied with their understanding of what is good governance.
Where I conclude is an admonition to you, one of my 12 readers, to never underestimate the pervasiveness of sin. It affects the body and it really, really affects the mind. I confess that this post is quite scattered. It was my attempt to make sense of what just happened. The only thing that makes sense in this universe, as defined by God, is that sinners behaved in accordance with their sinful nature. What's surprising is just how true this verse is: