Like much that I post, this will neither win me friends nor a large internet following, but as one shrouded by God in a prophet’s mantle, I’m constrained to cry out, knowing that my voice is, as prophets’ voices are ever-prone to be in this fallen world, one crying in the wilderness.
I heard an interview this morning on Fox and Friends with Dan Patrick, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas. Of course, Mr. Patrick was being questioned about the tragic shooting in El Paso yesterday; a shooting that left twenty people dead and twenty-six others injured.
Much of what the Lieutenant Governor was saying, I could say a hearty “Amen” to. For instance, he lamented the fact that in spite of half of our country getting ready to go to church this morning, tomorrow our children won’t be able to pray in our public schools. In light of this, and of yesterday’s tragic shooting in El Paso, Mr. Patrick then asked: “What do we expect, when we only praise God and look to Him on Sunday and kick Him out of the town square and our schools the other six days of the week?”
The Lieutenant Governor went on to speak of how our country, in this dark time, needs desperately to wake up and come to God. However, he then unfortunately undermined his impassioned appeal by asserting the inherent goodness of the American people. According to Mr. Patrick, “People are good; people are inherently good.” Although he admitted that there are a few people on the fringe who are hateful, such as the El Paso shooter, he went on to argue that we are not a hateful nation. We are good he said; insisting that he sees it and believes it.
Contrary to Lieutenant Governor Patrick, the Bible clearly teaches that there are none good, no not one (Romans 3:12). If fallen humanity is good, then we could save ourselves by our own goodness and create, all by ourselves, a good and paradisiacal utopia on this fallen planet. No man would need to come to God, since God is not needed by fallen man who is completely capable of being good apart from God. It is this diabolical deception—that neither fallen man nor this fallen world stand in need of redemption from corruption—that lies at the the core of all that is wrong in the world today.
That man is, as the Bible clearly teaches, inherently sinful, not inherently good, as Dan Patrick confidently asserts, is empirically proven by more than thirty-five hundred years of recorded human history. No matter how many times man, convinced of his own goodness, has set out to create his own heaven on earth, he has inevitably ended up creating his own hell on earth instead. Try as he may, he cannot do what is right, but inevitably does what is wrong, unquestionably proving his inherent sinfulness.
To believe in the goodness of fallen humanity, a erroneous belief not only espoused by the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, but also by the majority of present-day politicians and the modern-day masses, is to actually undermine the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to the Gospel, Jesus came into this world to save sinners, not good people. In fact, Christ not only had to die on the cross of Calvary to save us from our sin, but also to save us from our evil world and our selfish selves (Galatians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:15). If we’re all good instead of evil, however, Christ shouldn’t have bothered, since we’re all good enough to save ourselves and our world.
In 1961, Adolph Eichmann, known as the butcher of Auschwitz, was captured by Israeli agents and brought to Israel to stand trial. During the trial, survivors of Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi death camp, were brought in as witnesses against Eichmann. One of these witnesses, Yehiel Dinur, collapsed on the floor in uncontrollable weeping when he entered the courtroom and caught sight of Eichmann. Afterward, when asked to explain the reason for his collapse, Dinur offered a frightening observation.
Eichmann, Dinur explained, did not look like an evil monster, but like an ordinary person. He looked like everyone else. As a result, Dinur said he suddenly realized in that dreadful moment "that evil is endemic to the human condition and that any one of us could commit the same atrocities.” Dinur then added this spine-chilling conclusion: “Eichmann is in all of us!”
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is right, America desperately needs to wake up and come to God. However, it's not because we need Christ to save us from a few evil Eichmanns out on our fringes, but because we need Christ to save us from the Eichmann within us all.