Monday, April 4, 2011

The Flawed Theology of Miracle Max

Inigo Montoya: "He's dead. He can't talk."
Miracle Max: "Ooo, look who knows so much? It so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead...Now mostly dead is slightly alive. All dead, well with all dead, there's usually only one thing you can do."
Inigo Montoya: "What's that?"
Miracle Max: "Go through his clothes and look for loose change."

In this famous scene from The Princess Bride, we've got two basic belief systems pitted against one another in one hilarious sketch. While Inigo believes that dead men can't do anything--not even speak--Miracle Max believes that there is a state between life and death...mostly dead, he calls it, or slightly alive. Of course, the audience recognizes ridiculum when we see it. And we know that it is only biologically possible to be one or the other: alive or dead.

And it is precisely this fantastic assertion of Miracle Max that makes the scene so funny. Nevertheless, many of us seem far too willing to apply this same ridiculum to real life.

Consider what God says about being dead.
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked." (Ephesians 2:1-2)
"And you who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses..." (Colossians 2:13)

Now, consider how some Christians process that.
"Yes, I know that the Bible says we are dead in our sins. But I also know that it is my choice to respond or not to God's free gift of grace."
So you believe you are only mostly dead in your sins? But you are slightly alive enough to respond to the stimulus of grace?
So, when Miracle Max says it, it's ridiculous. But when you say it, it's suddenly theologically sound?
No. Dead is all dead. Or you are alive. There is no in-between state.

Newspaper columnist and pro-abortion feminist Anna Quindlen once defended her stance on abortion with a statement that went something like this: "There are some of us who believe that you can be a little bit alive." Of course, all of us who are pro-life immediately see the preposterousness of such logic. For if you are slightly alive, you are alive period. And that is what makes abortion and embryonic stem-cell research murder. If we believed with Quindlen that you can be slightly alive, then we'd all agree that abortion is no big deal.

Miracle Max's logic is ridiculous, and Quindlen's logic is not only lacking, but offensive. Nevertheless, while we can be acutely logical regarding abortion, many of us fail to apply the same logic to salvation.

Evolutionists deny the existence of God despite the evidence of intelligent design and a fundamental order in all of creation. They remain stubbornly in favor of evolution because to accept creationism is to accept a Creator. And, of course, that can't be true. So the evidence must be faulty. Uh...yeah...

But how the evidence makes us feel has nothing to do with its veracity. We all know that's bad science.

Likewise, those who oppose God's sovereignty in ALL things oppose it despite the evidence. For, if we believe that 'dead' really means 'dead', that means we have no ability to respond. And if we have no ability to respond, that means God has to make us alive first. And if God has to make us alive first, that means we are totally dependent on God for our salvation. And if the road to eternal life is narrow, that means He makes few alive. And we know that can't be true. Therefore, 'dead' must really mean...alive.

Yeah. That makes perfect sense...
For you and Miracle Max and Anna Quindlen, anyway.

Again, how the evidence makes us feel has nothing to do with its veracity. We all know that's bad theology.

"But...but... but I believe in the sovereignty of God," you say.
God's sovereignty, like life or death, has no in-between state. He is not sovereign in some things and not in others. Bible teacher Derek Prince once said of the sovereignty of God: "It means God can do what He wants, when He wants, to whom He wants, and He asks no one's permission." And long before that, theologian Abraham Kuyper said, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, 'Mine!'"

The nature of sovereignty in general and God's sovereignty in particular means you either must accept His sovereignty in ALL things...
...or deny He has sovereignty in ANYTHING.

Correct. It is not fair that I, whose heart is desperately wicked and whose righteousness is filthy rags, can live with a Holy God for all eternity. It is not fair at all. And that humbles me because it puts God's love in the right perspective. For it is the sheer magnitude of God's wrath towards sin and the sheer magnitude of God's sovereignty in all things that demonstrates the sheer magnitude of His great love towards us, the objects of His mercy.

It comes down to this. If you show me a dead man who can do one single thing in his own power, I will show you a man who cannot possibly be dead.

Miracle Max is seriously mistaken; I'm with Inigo Montoya.
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

1 comment:

  1. Mother Dear,
    Wow. You never cease to amaze me. Who knew Miracle Max held the inspiraton for a blog post? Even though the lovable character and I strongly disagree, he shall remain my Arminian friend.

    This was, by far, my favorite post.