I used to go to these basement meetings. It was a beautiful, middle-America basement with a home theater, kitchen, table tennis, and it opened to a patio that looked out to a golf course in the distance. The middle-Americans holding the meetings would invite an old man from out of town to come and talk about The Sovereign God. The old man was a physicist and had very solid arguments for how The Sovereign God enforces His Sovereignty.
I was in my early twenties then and didn’t know anything. People thought I had wisdom because I didn’t say much and when I did say something, it was witty. Looking back, it’s remarkable how many people thought I was smart. And they still do. I sat at the old man’s feet, rapt as the Rapture. I couldn’t wait for him to abandon his topic and get to The Sovereignty of The Sovereign God. He always did.
We were The Chosen, he would say. The Sheep. The Children of The Sovereign God. And anyone that wasn’t us was a Child of The Devil. The Goats. The Chosen for Damnation. This stuff made us all feel good about ourselves.
He would point out that in Holy Scripture, we’re commanded to thank The Sovereign God for everything that happens. “A man came into my office and told me his daughter had been killed in a car accident,” he said. “So I asked him, ‘Did you thank God?’” We all laughed at the stupid father. He told this story a lot.
“Some missionaries came to me and told me they were on a break to visit family, and I said ‘How can you take a break? People are going to Hell right now without your work! You can’t be taking a break! You can’t even sleep!’ The missionaries just stood there.” We all shook our heads at those missionaries out there spinning their wheels.
“There are Sheep and there are Goats. There are Goats who believe they’re Sheep and there are Sheep who don’t know they’re Goats. You’ll know you’re a Sheep if you love The Sovereign God. If you don’t have that Testimony, then you have my sympathy.”
I was driving late one night a few months later thinking about what the old man said and trying to figure out which animal I was and I got real depressed. I thought I loved a girl once, but turns out I didn’t. Then there was one I really loved but she didn’t love me. See, if a person can be wrong like that, then there’s no way to know one way or the other. I’ve also done some bad things in my life and some good things. Then I started to wonder about thanking The Sovereign God for the rapes and the genocides because the old man said there’s a line in The Book of Amos saying if there’s evil in the city, The Sovereign God’s done it. I got really depressed after that.
I read a line in Holy Scripture about being wary of false teachers that come dressed as Sheep but inside are hungry Wolves. The old man didn’t say anything about Wolves. Seems like a wolf doesn’t care if you’re a sheep or a goat if he’s hungry. A wolf doesn’t even know he’s doing anything wrong. A wolf just does what a wolf does.
Maybe I’m a wolf for even saying this. That old man really fucked me up.