Culture & Society · Doctrines of the Bible

Ferguson, Missouri and the Biblical Doctrine of Total Depravity

The rioting that took place in Ferguson, Missouri reveals clearly the biblical doctrine of Total Depravity. For those who are not familiar with Biblical concepts or Christian theology, the Bible reveals the extreme and desperate condition of all humanity. Individuals—because of the Fall—are in a terrible state of bondage to sin.

By nature, men are dead in trespasses and sin. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).

The eyes of the natural man are blinded to the truth, so that he cannot “see” spiritual truth. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Rom. 11:7).

The will of the natural man is enslaved to a harsh taskmaster. Satan takes men captive at his will. (2 Tim. 2:26) Therefore, Jesus was right when he looked at a group of religious leaders one day and pronounced judgment upon them saying, “And you will not come to me that ye might have life” (John 5:40). Those who do come to Christ realize that they did not come because of their will but because of Sovereign grace. John speaks of those who are born, “Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

The heart of the unregenerate is as hard as stone. “Yea, they have made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets; therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 7:12).

The thoughts of the ungodly are evil continually. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5; cf. Rom. 1:21).

The emotions are depraved. “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet” (Rom. 1:26-27).

Every inclination of the unrighteous is away from God. “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11).

When the men and women and young people were rioting in Ferguson, Missouri they were manifesting the natural depravity of their hearts. Their wills are enslaved to sin. Their hearts are as hard as stone. They are without mercy to those whom they rob and the property they destroy. They have no thoughts but for their own perverse pleasure. Every inclination of their hearts is towards lawlessness.

No amount of political coverage by President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, or a liberal-biased news media can justify what the rioters did in Ferguson. No amount of racial agitation by Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson can make right the wrong that was done. Evil is evil, and rioters are intrinsically evil people living an existential life.

The evidence for an existential lifestyle was reflected when it was pointed out that just ten to fifteen minutes prior to the encounter with the police the so-called “Gentle Giant,” as Michael Brown is euphemistically referred to, was strong arming his way in a store to rob the owner of some cigars. But what did that matter to the rioters, for one moment has no connection to the last moment. That is existentialism. When it was pointed out that Dorian Johnson, the young man who allegedly witnessed the incident between Michael Brown and the police, is a known liar and thief, and has been charged with filing a false police report, the response was, “What difference does it make?” One moment has no connection with the next. And so it is that evil prevails. Nevertheless, let God be true and every man a liar. There is a natural depravity of the human heart and it is being manifested by the rioters in Ferguson, Missouri. Unless they become ashamed, unless they repent, the madness will continue, and serve as a mirror to the natural depravity of every human heart apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to save souls from themselves.

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