You’re So Depraved, You Probably Think This Church Is About You: How Total Depravity Upends Attractionalism

You’re So Depraved, You Probably Think This Church Is About You: How Total Depravity Upends Attractionalism

The last time I wept during a church service I wasn’t even there. I was watching online.

One Sunday night while scrolling through Facebook, I stumbled across an invitation to a church’s live-stream. I’d often wondered, Hm, what do they do on Sundays? And so, sufficiently curious, I clicked and tuned in.

Thirty minutes later, I sat on my couch, weeping.

If this were a movie, the director would insert a *record-scratch* at this moment, and the protagonist would look into the camera and say something like, I bet you’re wondering how I got here.

Well, let me explain.


This particular Sunday was Father’s Day, and a father-and-son duo preached a big-hearted sermon that exhorted dads to a higher standard.

As the service concluded, the church sought to honor several dads in the congregation who had witnessed the Lord redeem irredeemable situations. To do this, they ushered a train of families across the stage. Once they arrived center-stage, each member stopped and stared into the camera as one person—sometimes a child, sometimes a father—held up a poster-board that briefly described the background of brokennessI was asleep at the wheel as a dad; our dad grew up in a home of abuse and divorce; I never had a spiritual conversation with my dad.

For a few lingering seconds, everyone’s eyes were riveted to the camera. Then, at precisely the right moment, the poster-board would flip around and the brokenness would yield to wholeness: I finally woke up and was baptized a few years ago; by adopting us through foster care, God has shown our dad how to be a father to the fatherless; I finally called to talk to my dad about Jesus…when he died a few months later, I know he went to heaven.

Story after story after story, this string of saints retold triumphs of God’s grace. I thought of David’s words in Psalm 30:

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

And so I sat there—on my couch, watching the service on Facebook—and I was weeping.


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Alex Duke lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife Melanie. He is a student at Southern Seminary and a member of Hunsinger Lane Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter at @evanalexduke.