In this episode, we discuss the darkness that resides in all of us. Should we be surprised when Christians sin–and sin heinously? What do we mean by total depravity? What do we do when we come face to face with the wickedness of our hearts?
FREE MEMBERS PODCAST: We wanted to give this episode away free for everyone to see what our Members Podcast is like. You can find it at theocast.org/memberspodcast or on our podcast feed.
Members Podcast topic: We talk about how it is possible to create a culture in the church where people are not shocked when others sin. We talk personally about the darkness of sin and give examples of what wouldn’t surprise us.
Justin Perdue: Hi, this is Justin. Today on Theocast, we’re going to be talking about the darkness and the evil that exists within all of us. The Christian life is often anything but clean. It’s messy. It’s hard. We’re not always on this nice, clean, upward trajectory of ongoing improvement. We’re going to talk honestly about that and talk honestly about the fact that it’s impossible to navigate the Christian life in this fallen world until we come to grips with who we really are. We’re excited to have this conversation, and we hope that it’s helpful to you. Stay tuned.
Justin Perdue: Welcome to Theocast, encouraging weary pilgrims to rest in Christ, conversations about the Christian life from a reformed perspective. Our hosts today are Jon Moffitt, pastor of Community Bible Church in Springhill, Tennessee. Jimmy Bueller, pastor of Christ Community Church in Willmar, Minnesota, and I’m Justin Perdue, pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina. Jimmy, you have the cultural update for today, man? What’s going on in your world?
Jimmy Buehler: Yes. So we are in the process of planting a church as the listener may remember from the interview that we did and just various outlets.
Jon Moffitt: And whoever’s listening, I mean this is like probably the easiest thing you’ve ever done, right?
Jimmy Buehler: Very easy. Planting a church is like planting a flower. It is. You got to pull a lot of weeds.
Jon Moffitt: I hope you’re not talking about church members.
Jimmy Buehler: No, no, no, no, no, no. So we are in what we’re calling the core family phase. And so essentially we’ve gathered nine core families,18 adults, that number plus of children. A lot of those are three to five.
Justin Perdue: That resonates with me.
Jimmy Buehler: It can be pretty crazy. So we’re getting, we’re getting to the phase also where we’re pretty antsy to launch because right now we’re meeting in homes.
Jon Moffitt: You’re like less than 60 days away, right?
Jimmy Buehler: Yeah. So around there, you know, we were using the language of, we’re on nobody’s timeline but our own, because we want to make sure that we have some bases covered, that we know what we’re walking into. So we’re excited. People are excited, people are beginning to ask about the church plant, and you know, can I come in and we kind of have this policy, you know, that the core family phase is not a revolving door because it can just really play with the dynamics of the team. The launch team, if you will, not to use that overly used language. So we’re, we’re excited. I’m getting antsy, and this might sound strange, but I think the thing that I’m most antsy for is just to, to preach and worship with people. Take the table with people, you know, because you miss those things, we’re ordinary means of grace guys, so we understand that. And so, yeah, we’re, we’re getting excited.
Jon Moffitt: I remember when I was there, man. I felt like it was six months of organizing and I, and I’m a very organized person in general, but the, the idea of ministering the gospel, loving on people and then just organization, like the details. You wish you could just like when you hire somebody to move you like you can hire a moving company. You just wish you could hire somebody to just do all the details for you and you could just worry about loving on people and shepherding them.
Justin Perdue: Yeah, those, those times I can remember them well too. They’re exciting, on the one hand, they’re very frustrating on the other, and yeah, there’s a lot of anticipation. Church planting is no joke.
Jimmy Buehler: It’s not a joke.
Justin Perdue: We’re talking about it before. I know that my wife and I have talked regularly about this, that the Lord has done a lot of good in the last four years and we’d never want to do these four years again. There you have that.
Justin Perdue: So, Jon, we’ll be talking about,?
Jon Moffitt: So all of that to say for those of you who are listening and care, please pray for Jimmy. He’s about to go through a very hard season of life. How old are your children again?
Jimmy Buehler: By the time that you hear this, they’ll be about seven, five, and two. So yeah, you can have that Christcommunitymn.org check us out.
Jon Moffitt: Hey, Give the poor man a donation.
Justin Perdue: They are taking seed gifts.
Jon Moffitt: And still looking for a location.
Jimmy Buehler: We are, we are looking for a location. It’s not as easy as perhaps we thought in the first place.
Jon Moffitt: What is the population Willmar.
Jimmy Buehler: Wilmer itself is 20,000 I mean there’s other areas around us. I couldn’t give you an exact number because I don’t know how far you want that mile marker to go.
Justin Perdue: That search for space is real. We’re sort of outgrowing our space right now, and we’re looking for another place to meet and yeah, coming up empty at the present moment.
Jon Moffitt: Good problem.
Justin Perdue: It is a good problem. So we are going to try this again. Jon, what are we talking about a day, Bro?
Jon Moffitt: So I don’t want to scare everybody away. Today I think is going to be very beneficial. But if you, if you walk with us for at least 15 minutes and let us, and let us set the platform a little bit.
Justin Perdue: So you’re saying we’re coming out of the gates hot.
Jon Moffitt: We’re going to come out of the gates a little hot,
Jimmy Buehler: Hot and dark.
Jon Moffitt: But I would say with every man around this table, and, for a lot of the listeners who’ve walked with us for a long time, you’re going to appreciate this conversation.
Justin Perdue: I think so too.
Jon Moffitt: Christianity, in general, is a glorious movement, of course, started by our Savior, Jesus Christ. But there’s a confusion when it comes to this movement, and a lot of it is, you know, the precious moments movement where everything seems clean and, and bright and the status should be always moving up and forward. And it seems white and pure. And then those of us who are pastors who then go behind the door and close it and people then say, my life is not there. Many who listen and hopefully those of you who are new, you will begin to identify with what we are trying to present, which is a very old concept of very old theology. This is nothing new. None of the pastors around this table are going to say, you’re not going to believe what we have discovered.
Justin Perdue: That’s right.
Jon Moffitt: Unless we’ve been reading old books and it’s rediscovering. Today is more about, and just work with me as, as we unfold this today is more about the dark side of Christianity, the real side of Christianity,
Justin Perdue: The dark side of the Christian life. This is one of those moments where if I was preaching a sermon, I would be like, hey, before the parking lot empties, just hang with me for a minute. This conversation will be like that, maybe.
Jon Moffitt: Yeah. Grease stains are real.
Justin Perdue: They are.
Jon Moffitt: And, I would say this isn’t because I’ve experienced this as a pastor, which is true. You know, I grew up in a pastor’s home. I’ve been a pastor for, you know, well over going over 15 years. And from my own personal life, the Christian life is not bright, and it’s not clean, and it’s not pure. The hope is. The final state is absolutely,
Justin Perdue: and Christ is.
Jon Moffitt: And absolutely, and our joy, which is just placed in that. So today is more of, I would say, a reality check. Let’s if we’re all willing for everyone who’s listening to us in your car and your headphones, washing dishes, you know, walking, mowing the lawn, if you were to say and evaluate your life, you would say, okay, yes, if we’re going to be completely honest, and this isn’t going to be broadcast across social media, the Christian life is very much an uphill climb that is muddy, dirty, and grimy. And what do we do? I mean, how do you evaluate that from the sense of all of these promises being cleansed, being new. I think Paul sets us up for this concept of I hate what I do and the things that I want to do I’m not doing them, oh, wretched men than I am. And does Paul stop there? No, there is hope. And yet there is reality. So today’s podcast is how do you marry the two of those and then move forward.
Justin Perdue: And I mean, before we even jump into the messy piece again, the hope is what allows us to stare the reality in the face and call it what it is. And say, okay, yeah, we’re going to pull back the curtains of our lives, and we’re going to talk about it honestly. Because of Christ, we actually can have this conversation.
Jon Moffitt: I think it’s impossible. And that’s a that’s a very bold statement. I understand that.
Justin Perdue: it’s a strong word.
Jon Moffitt: I think it’s almost impossible to move forward and truly experience rest until you are willing to admit the actual state that you’re in.
Justin Perdue: Could not agree more. Right.
Jimmy Buehler: Yeah. So I don’t know if you guys have ever like shared bad news with somebody. I’m sure you have. But the idea of, you wouldn’t believe what just happened. I just want you to know right away that everybody’s okay. But, and then you go on to share about, you know, some tragic thing or whatever. And, and really that’s what we’re trying to talk about today is we want to talk about the dark side of the Christian life and the Christian heart.
Justin Perdue: and the Christian experience.
Jon Moffitt: But most people don’t want to talk about.
Jimmy Buehler: No, but we’re doing it against the backdrop of the hope of the gospel where it’s like, no, the good news is here. Right? Everybody, you’re okay. Everybody’s okay. You know, to go on that analogy, but, here’s some tragic reality.
Justin Perdue: So I’m going to do this at the risk of sounding shameless. The tagline for our church Covenant Baptist Church in Asheville is imperfect people, perfect savior. And so what we’re talking about right now is that reality that we are far from perfect. And we’re going to be talking about that, and we can talk about it because we are all looking to, and pointing one another to, the perfect One, who is our righteousness, who is the ground of our assurance. And so now let’s be real.
Jon Moffitt: So I would say in the podcast, we try and ground ourselves. And reading through a confession. For instance, a lot of, some of you that may be drawn to the Westminster Confession around this table, our churches confess the 1689 London Baptist Confession. And in those confessions, you are faced with some hard realities.
Justin Perdue: Yeah, you are.
Jon Moffitt: And the realities in that is that even though Jesus Christ has washed your sins, he’s cleansed you, he has come to live within you. You have been grafted into Christ, right? This is the glorious, the truth of our baptism. We’re grafted into Christ. He has given us a new heart, a new desire.
Justin Perdue: And a new identity.
Jon Moffitt: And then you wake up the next morning and say, why am I still angry?
Jimmy Buehler: Why do I still feel like this?
Jon Moffitt: Right? Why am I still sad? Why am I mad?
Jimmy Buehler: Why do I yell at my kid?
Jon Moffitt: And so what happens is that leads you to great despair. So we evaluate our life and say, I should be this way and I’m not. Something’s either, I’m not saved, or something’s broken.
Justin Perdue: That’s right.
Jon Moffitt: I don’t know what your guys’ experience is, but many, many years of my life, I woke up and went, I have to continue to fake because I am not like everybody else I see at church. I’m not like them. I’m broken because they show up as if everything is fine. I show up and go, nothing is fine. Everything is wrong. Has that been your experience?
Jimmy Buehler: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I remember having conversations with people and thinking they’re talking like this and they are, they’re praying this way, and they appear this way on the outside, but something within me feels very off-center. Like, I’m not feeling the way that they’re feeling by what they’re saying.
Justin Perdue: But what is said not by their actions.
Jimmy Buehler: That’s right. I mean still to this day, you know, when I see somebody, and I mean, here’s just a glimpse into the wickedness of my own heart, when I see somebody, doing a pious act, if you will, my first thought is not to rejoice and that the spirit of God is moving within them. My first thought is, why don’t I do that, man, I should. And, and you know, to use that word, you know, you said it, I think Justin, you said it earlier, the “should” word, this “should” word can be so dangerous in the Christian life.
Jon Moffitt: So there’s, there’s a darkness. I appreciate men like Luther, and even Calvin, who understand the darkness of the heart. I’ve been around enough, you know, I grew up in a pastor’s home, my wife grew up in a pastor’s home. Unfortunately, we have seen men who are faithful and men who are not. We’ve, we’ve seen a lot of pain. And I remember the first time I read the London Baptist Confession, chapter 5.5. It made my heart feel so safe because I understood there wasn’t something wrong with me; there was something wrong with this world that Christ would make right. Let me just read this real quick. I think it’s helpful. “The most wise, righteous and gracious God does not often, oh, sorry, does oftentimes leave for a season his own children.” Please note he is speaking of regenerate…
Justin Perdue: speaking of believers
Jon Moffitt: people who belonged to HIm.
Justin Perdue: Who have been adopted by God.
Jon Moffitt: Christians, the Spirit lives within them. Okay. So we’re talking about a new creation, people. “His own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts to chastise them for their former sins or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their own hearts that they may be humbled and raised to them a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Him.” I could not; I exploded with joy to know that my gracious Father, at times exposes to me the absolute frailty and deceitfulness of my own flesh. So that I will turn in desperation saying, Father, if without you, I would be, I would be, I would be deserving and am deserving of hell. So those of you who say, and wake up and say, I don’t deserve God’s love, I’m like, yes, you’re right. It’s true.
Justin Perdue: And it’s actually worse than you ever imagined.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. The mirror is foggy at the moment.
Jimmy Buehler: I believe John Newton who said, you know, I’m a mystery unto myself. A heap of inconsistency. Because I don’t know about you, but I can go through particular weeks. You feel pretty good. You know you feel pretty good. Like, Hey, I’m, and I’m using air quotes. My sin doesn’t feel that bad. And so you can get really confident in yourself and then all of a sudden, that can change on a dime. I mean, that can change in a moment.
Jon Moffitt: when someone doesn’t use a blinker.
Jimmy Buehler: Right. You’re exactly right. Yeah. And it just, we as people are so inconsistent. I’ve always loved the word fickle. We are like the fickleness of the human heart. You know, I was talking about this the other day with somebody where the language of, it’s okay, God, God knows your heart. God knows your heart. God knows your heart in that. And I’m like, yeah, that’s what terrifies me. That’s what terrifies me is that God knows my heart because I just have a little glimpse of my heart, and I can see the wickedness there. God sees all the way to the bottom.
Jon Moffitt: Yeah. Now let’s call your wife.
Jimmy Buehler: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There you go. Let’s get her on.
Justin Perdue: That’s right. Well, not only do we love to ground ourselves in the confessions, obviously, we’d love to ground ourselves in scripture. So to talk about, like you just alluded to, Jimmy, God sees down to the bottom. Well, what does God say about our hearts? I mean, think about Genesis chapter six where God saw that the thoughts and the inclinations of man’s heart was only evil continually. That describes all of us,
Jimmy Buehler: Put that on a Coffee Cup,
Justin Perdue: Right? That’s not going to be slapped up on the refrigerator.
Jon Moffitt: Just read Noah’s life.
Justin Perdue: and there are no precious moments figurines with those verses on them.
Jon Moffitt: Hahaha. Absolutely not.
Jimmy Buehler: Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is desperately sick. Who can understand it? Answer. No one. Romans 3:9-20 I think it’s probably familiar to many where Paul sites, the Psalms and Isaiah, and just to make the point that there is no one who does good. There’s no one who’s righteous. No one who seeks after God, right? No, not even one, like not even one Paul? No Bro.
Jon Moffitt: And even James is talking to the believer. And whose he warning against, he’s warning against Satan who can come in and absolutely deceive you because you’re that vulnerable.
Justin Perdue: You are that vulnerable.
Jon Moffitt: You’re that you’re that easy to deceive.
Justin Perdue: Absolutely. And then, of course, it’s already been referenced once today. Romans Chapter Seven, Galatians chapter five where we are told by the Apostle Paul that the internal war between the Spirit, our inner man, and the flesh is real to where we find ourselves not doing the things we want to do, and then doing the things that we don’t want to do, which as you already said, Jon, it leads him to scream out, to cry out wretched man that I am, who’s going to rescue me? And thanks be to God, for Jesus Christ. But I know that we’re three pastors sitting around this table right now. And as we’ve spent time together recently, I mean we’re, we’re talking about things that we’ve seen in the church.
Jon Moffitt: Which led to this podcast.
Justin Perdue: Exactly. It led to this podcast. We’ve talked about even our own, our own hearts. My goodness, you know, one of the things that I think we’re all very convicted about is never just as pastors, it’s like less anybody ever misunderstand. I mean, we do not have it all together. You know, there are many guys, sadly in ministry that have built their ministry on a public persona of having it all together.
Jimmy Buehler: Strength.
Justin Perdue: Strengths. Oh yeah. Like, the pastor’s marriage is always doing well that he’s not having a, a rough season. If I ask him how he’s doing…
Jon Moffitt: He supposed to be on top top of his game.
Justin Perdue: He’s not stumbling, he’s not struggling. He’s certainly not questioning anything. His affections are where they need to be and whatever.
Jimmy Buehler: I remember watching, I think it was some sort of documentary on a large megachurch pastor. It was from a secular worldview. You know, they were, they were fascinated by the success and the growth of this church and the size of this church. And that’s neither here nor there. That’s not the point. But the pastor was speaking to the reporter and one of the things that he said, dare I say, haunts me to this day because he says, I know that I’m not allowed to have an off day spiritually. I remember watching that as a young pastor and that it was crushing because I’m like, well, I’ve, I had one yesterday or today and I know I’m going to have one next week.
Justin Perdue: Well, I know I’ve had because we all can buy into the lie. And this is true for the Christian, this is true for the pastor, that we should have it all together. That we should be better by now. So there, I can’t tell you, there have been a number of Sunday mornings in the last several years as I’ve been the lead pastor of CBC where my sin and my frailty becomes incredibly apparent on Sunday morning, and I’m wrestling with my own frame, and I’m wrestling with the wickedness and the corruption that still is in me and the enemy immediately just jumps all over me. It’s like, how in the world are you fit to now go and preach God’s word and Shepherd God’s people when you are such a train wreck?
Jon Moffitt: I had that. I’ve been preaching for a long time in a very different context and I would say in the last two years, why no, even maybe in the last five years in a church where we do take communion every week, there’s a side of me that the only reason I can climb into the pulpit is knowing that the Gospel truth of the table will be ministered to me, so I come to the pulpit as a congregant knowing that at the end we will be feasting on Christ and trusting in that means. And that isn’t to say that I don’t get into the pulpit prepared. But there is never a moment that the more I look at Christ and the more the gospel becomes a mirror to my own life, and I look into that mirror, and I am so horrified by my sin that I come in, and I look down upon those who are sitting down in a chair. I look at them and go, do we not need Christ?
Jimmy Buehler: Do we? We, we have come in desperate need of what only Jesus can provide. All of us.
Jon Moffitt: We’re excited to announce that we have a new free ebook available at our website called faith versus faithfulness, a primer unrest, and we the host put this together to explain the difference between emphasizing one’s faith in Christ versus emphasizing one’s faithfulness to Christ and how one leads to rest and how the other often to a lack of assurance. And you can get this at Theocast.org/primer, and if you’ve been encouraged by what you’ve been hearing at Theocast, we’d ask you to help partner with us. You can do that by joining our total access membership. That’s our monthly membership that gives you access to all of our material that we’ve produced over the last four years, or simply by donating to our ministry and you can do that by going to our website, Theocast.org. We hope that you enjoy the rest of the conversation.
Jimmy Buehler: I think a lot of what we said, most people are going to be able to recognize that. Relate to that. They see that they struggle with sin. They see the, you know, the wickedness of their own heart and in many respects some more, some less. But I guess I’m curious, how do you think the average Christian, what are some ways that you think the average Christian seeks to deal with this?
Jon Moffitt: Yeah, this is tough. I, if you’re new to Theocast, if this might be episode one. You’re going, first of all, this is too heavy. Guys, relax, and I agree. I mean if you could go have lunch with us, you would laugh. We have laughed so hard today, and there’s this side of it where, because the three of us understand our reality, we don’t take ourselves seriously. You can’t take yourself too seriously. No, you can’t. It’s almost like when you’re playing a junkyard ball, right? You’re playing junk or basketball, and a pro shows up, you’re like, I’m not going to even. I mean, we’re going to just laugh and have a good time.
Justin Perdue: Sometimes over nineties R. And B.
Jimmy Buehler: That’s right. Absolutely.
Justin Perdue: You’ve got to give the people what they want.
Jimmy Buehler: Should be our new intro music.
Jon Moffitt: I like our intro music, man. To your question, Jimmy, I would say the hardest part of this whole conversation is you have to admit you’re not who you think you are. You’re not who you’re presenting yourself to be. You know who you are. I’ll take that back. You know who you are, you’re just not who you present yourself to be, and especially not on Instagram or Facebook.
Justin Perdue: And you’ve gotta be willing to talk in public like you think in private.
Jon Moffitt: Like, what’s, what’s the borderline of dirty laundry?
Jimmy Buehler: That’s true. I mean, we’re not saying throw discretion and discernment out the window and just like relationally throw up all over people. That’s not what we’re saying.
Jon Moffitt: Is it more a posture than a conversation?
Justin Perdue: A posture, than a conversation? I think so. I think that’s fair. Like I, I’m wanting to process that on the fly, but I think that’s a fair way to put it.
Jimmy Buehler: You don’t, you don’t jump into a conversation, hey, I’m Jimmy. What’s your name? What’s your worst sin when you’re going to stop? You don’t jump into that. However, I think a lot of times I, myself, I operate in almost this cognitive dissonance where I have this; I know who I am. I know what I’m presenting to you. I’m wondering what your perception of me is, and particularly, and my wife may giggle at this if she, dares to listen, that when she’s there, and you know, I’m meeting somebody, it’s always, well, I know who I am, I know I’m presenting, my wife really knows who I am. You know? So there’s this constant dissonance, and I know that as Christians, a lot of times we try to mask that. We try to cover that up. Or what we try to do is we try to discipline ourselves out of it. And so what we say is, okay, I sinned in this way. I sinned x, y, z today, but tomorrow I’m going to do ABC of the Christian life, and that’s going to be a little bit of offset to silence that inner voice. You know the law working on me.
Justin Perdue: I recently walked into a movie theater with my children to watch a new Marvel movie. What fascinated me about the experience, I sat back for a moment cause we got the early enough, what fascinated me is no one there postures themselves as somebody. Like we’re, we’re all there to receive new information and an experience as recipients. So I never, there was never like at the person next to me in front of me or behind me, I never felt like I needed to do anything or to prove to them or to lobby. We were there to all receive what we had paid for. But when you walk into the church, that is not the case. There is posturing, there is lobbying, there is a presentation, positioning. You have to position yourself as acceptable and what the gospel does, and if you continue to listen to Theocast, what the gospel does, the law absolutely says stop posturing.
Jimmy Buehler: Cause it crushes you.
Jon Moffitt: You are here to observe that you are unworthy. That’s right. You are here to observe that there is one who is perfect. There’s One who obeyed. There was one who is worthy, and you are not that one.
Jimmy Buehler: Go ask Isaiah how posturing in Isaiah six went.
Justin Perdue: Put the coal on my lips. That’s right.
Jimmy Buehler: Woe is me. Woe is me.
Justin Perdue: And then when, when you, when you truly hear the Law of God read over you, you sit properly, by the way.
Jon Moffitt: You would never try to achieve it properly.
Justin Perdue: No, it’d be, it’d be insane. But honestly, we’re not talking, again, this goes to my comment earlier, well, God knows your heart.
Jimmy Buehler: Exactly. That’s the problem.
Justin Perdue: The law confronts that. It does that. I do know your heart, and I mean that’s the sermon on the mount. You know, you have heard it said, you know, do not do not murder and almost everybody, if not everybody listening to this podcast can say, yeah, good. I didn’t do that.
Jon Moffitt: If you’ve ever been angry at anyone, that is equated to murder. Whether you accept it or not, that’s reality.
Justin Perdue: And all Christ is doing is, we’re all saying in that moment is he is preaching and applying the law to the heart as it was always intended to be. Preached and applied.
Jon Moffitt: I think that’s the weight that Christians feel that is often I think shifted or moved. I think it needs to remain. Otherwise, the gospel doesn’t make any sense. Like when you walk in, and you go, I am an epic failure. Everything I think I should be, I am not. And I want to say, Yes, Agree. So am I right? This is why Jesus says that he is absolutely the only way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to him except through what? No one can come to the Father except through him.
Jimmy Buehler: Exactly. That’s right.
Justin Perdue: And I couldn’t agree more about the law. The problem in many cases is that the law has been so relativized and dumbed down that we have diluted ourselves into thinking that we can keep it. And I agree that that first use of the law if we’re talking about how it’s been understood historically theologically, that first use of the law, which is to show us our sin and drive us to the savior, that needs to be heralded to the redeemed every single Lord’s Day. So that we do feel the weight of the law and we do understand like, yeah, I’ve got no shot. Like I am absolutely wrecked, ruined, and bankrupt before a holy God as I look at his requirements and as I assess my life, thank God for Jesus. And then, of course, we can talk about how we live as believers, Third use of the Law. And I think a lot of times that confusion about, you know, between the Law and the gospel certainly, but even that first and that third use, it presents all kinds of bad things in the church and in the life of the Christian.
Jon Moffitt: I think this is why even if you had a congregant or a friend come to you and say, and I’ve been reading Deuteronomy, and it’s rough, very rough. I don’t understand blood and this and that. And there’s a side of me that goes, are you feeling it’s kind of difficult or like, yeah, there’s so much. Right, right. And that’s not even a fraction of what God requires. Yeah. Like I would say that’s entry-level and they would go, that’s insane. Alright. You need to understand what God requires. Not One human has come one step close to it, and then Christ comes on the scene. And it wasn’t even a thought. It’s like, no, I obey the father. That’s what I, that’s what I do.
Justin Perdue: Yes. So where we’ve gotten is to the place of, we’re talking about the the the total depravity of man. We’re not talking about the utter depravity, and this is important. This is very, very important. It’s an important distinction where the utter depravity of man would say, you know, it’s just completely lawless. It’s anarchy.
Jimmy Buehler: We’re as bad as we could ever be. That’s not what we’re saying.
Justin Perdue: That is not, don’t, don’t hear what we’re not saying. What we’re talking about total depravity, you know, the theological term noetic effects of sin. It’s woven throughout all of your soul, all of your mind, all of your personhood. But again, to get to that question, the idea of what do we do? How do we, how have Christians today, think of just the modern church scene today, and we’ll speak to the American church because that’s where we are. The ways that we’ve tried to combat that. And so Luther, you know, he talked about the idea of, you know, I went to the monastery. You know, I’m, I’m, I’m extremely paraphrasing here. I went to the monastery, but that old rascal speaking of himself came with me. And so no Protestant today is begging to go to the monastery. But I think what we do is we build these kinds of spiritual monasteries. And the way we do that is we try to spiritually discipline ourselves out. And it’s like, it’s not that we do that apart from Christ, but what I think happens is that Christ is in the background. You know, Christ becomes the taskmaster of, complete these disciplines, do these tasks and you will have, you know, kind of the Christian life that I designed you to have.
Jon Moffitt: This is Galatians three when Paul says, wait, wait, wait a minute. How did you begin by the spirit was it works for the flesh because no, it’s, it was by preaching of the gospel that brings forth faith by the spirit. It’s by the work of the spirit. And then later on in Colossians, he says, you’re doing all of these works by the flesh to try and control the flesh, and they’re not working right now listen to be fair, and to be clear, we’re not throwing out common sense. We’re also not throwing out, Listen, be wise. But it’s very clear in Paul and in Christ that there are means by which God uses to grow and strengthen us and to protect us. And unfortunately, we have transitioned those, as Jimmy said, into disciplines. If I am quiet, if I do this, if I eat this way, sleep this way, journal this way, read this way. Therefore I’ll be a better Christian.
Justin Perdue: That’s right. And I mean, I even think to use the language of new creation. Oftentimes we think about being a new creation, meaning that I’m doing all of that stuff. Like, oh, I’m a new creation. Therefore that means that my life looks like a, B, c, d, e. Progression, progression. It’s that continual upward trajectory. It’s ongoing improvement, all of that kind of stuff. It’s linear, it’s nice, it’s clean, it’s tidy. Because I’m a new creation in Christ Jesus, and that is not the presentation of the New Testament. Another disclaimer that I think we can make as we’ve talked about this, you know, we’re not excusing sin, we’re not excusing ridiculous behavior in all of this. And even with respect to pastors, I mean, we’ve talked about our in hearts, you know, as we’ve sat around this table, there are such things as elder qualifications, we’re not disputing any of them.
Jon Moffitt: And every, everyone around the mic, the moment I feel like one of you or are in myself and disqualified, we should call it out.
Justin Perdue: Absolutely. We should. So don’t, don’t misunderstand us in anything that we’re saying. And at the same time we’re talking about the fact that the human heart is desperately sick and that we, as we’ve just talked about with total depravity, every aspect, our person has been corrupted and tainted by sin.
Jimmy Buehler: And I would add to that, that we’re not, we’re not seeking to excuse sin at all. No, no, nobody’s, nobody’s saying that. But what we are saying is, but we’re not surprised by it. Not at all. No. So when I have someone before me confessing something, I mean, I remember confessing sin to somebody, and I just said, I just, I feel like this is weird. And that person just looked at me and just said, well, sin is weird. It just kind of brought that weight of lightness. Where I mean we were talking about this earlier on John’s porch of you go in the Old Testament man, there’s some weird stuff. Stuff on Noah. It’s some rough reading.
Jon Moffitt: Okay. The fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Just go read their history. You’re going to walk away with, you’re gonna need a drink of water.
Justin Perdue: How many people do you know, that are like, Hey, I just sold off my wife.
Jimmy Buehler: Well, I know. It’s like, oh, we all just want to be like father Abraham, and this is not the slam Abraham, but it’s like, man, I know many people in my church who have done better than Abraham when it comes to their marriage or whatever.
Jon Moffitt: I’ve never cheated on my wife to be clear.
Jimmy Buehler: God be praised.
Jon Moffitt: I’ve never lied about my wife, and no one is ever going to call me the father of the faith. Which should be a glory to God and not to Abraham. I think there there’s a side of it to be clear, and in the past, Theocast has been accused of being antinomian. For those of you who don’t know, that word means anti-law, we’re against holiness or against the laws of God. And I want, I want to explain something to you. There’s a difference between acknowledging the frailty of man. I will tell you this, if tomorrow I could love my wife, love God and love my neighbor with all of my heart without fail, I promise you my life would be better if I didn’t do that.
Justin Perdue: That sounds amazing.
Jon Moffitt: So please know that that is not a reality that I am trying to get out of. I do not want to hate my wife or hate my neighbor or hate God. I don’t want to run headlong into God. And here’s why. Because Jesus is that much more beautiful than sin. So this is where I think if we’re going to wind the conversation down, this is where I think this just has to go in, that it all comes down to motivation. I, in reality, oftentimes, fight the desire to obey Satan, to obey my desire, which is ultimately my flesh. The temptations to I’m going to satisfy myself in greed, in lust, in fame, in pride, and the gospel and the church is designed to say, no, no, no. Jesus is more beautiful, more glorious, more desirable. And I would say, you know, we had this conversation between the difference Jimmy, and I were joking about the difference between a battle and a war. The war will not be won until you die. But the battle. It is a battle. Every single day you wake up, you will battle to say, I’m either going to pursue the glory and trust in Jesus in the midst of my frailty, or I’m going to give in. Then I will warn you if you try and do that on your own outside the church, more than likely you’re going to fail.
Justin Perdue: Apart from the means that God has given. I know I was having a conversation with some people after church this past Sunday and thinking about just some of the things that we’ve brought up, the reality of sin and just how people have been burned by the church. And uh, a lot of that has to do with things we’re talking about here. And I, I made the statement,
Jon Moffitt: the lack of frailty,
Justin Perdue: the lack of frailty, a lack of honesty.
Jon Moffitt: You can’t be frail.
Justin Perdue: A lack of an understanding of the fallen human condition and the miseries associated with it. And this kind of facade, you know, that everybody constructs and all the things we’ve talked about.
Jimmy Buehler: You can struggle with respectable sins.
Justin Perdue: Sure. So we were just talking about these things being burned by the church. We’re talking about our church and our hopes for it. And I was making a statement that because of this, this understanding of the human heart and the fallen human condition and all these things that I am not surprised, like you said just a moment ago, Jimmy, I’m not surprised when people come to me and confess sins. Even, even some things that are pretty heinous.
Jon Moffitt: Like we’ve had multiple pastors publicly who have been even recently.
Justin Perdue: Yeah, that’s true. And I mean we all as pastors in our respective churches have dealt with things that are heartbreaking. But my sincerely, just because of this theological framework, in those moments when I’m sitting across the table from somebody, and I can see them squirming in their seat, they won’t make eye contact with me and they are convinced that what they are about to say to me is going to absolutely just like burn the village down. In that moment, this kind of theological framework allows me to lean into that person and just say like, brother, sister, I’m sorry. Like this is terrible. This is hard. And sin is real, and yeah, I’m here, we can talk like Christ is your righteousness and instead of …
Jon Moffitt: the line is long.
Justin Perdue: Yeah, exactly. We say this all the time like you’re talking about like if you only knew how bad I am, we say, look, with all due respect, take a number and get in line. You are just like the rest of us, and so we’re not. Our posture in that moment is not to like recoil and push away from the table in horror. It’s to lean in and love and come alongside and have that honest conversation.
Jon Moffitt: And not excusing.
Justin Perdue: Not excusing it at all. And honestly, in that moment, that person does not need me or you guys to come in from the top turnbuckle and pile it on. They know it’s terrible, they know it’s wrong. Well guys, obviously we’re not done here. There’s a lot more that we can say in this conversation and so we’re going to do that now. We’re going to move over to the members’ podcasts. And so if you’re interested in participating in that conversation and listening in, we would encourage you to go over to Theocast.org where you can look into becoming a total access member, where you’ll be able to partake of all of the content that we have there for our members. And we look forward to seeing you over there.
Justin Perdue: Thank you for listening to Theocast. If you’d like to contact us or find out additional information about our membership, you can do so at Theocast.org.