20060727

the problems with the standard evangelical doctrine of "sin."

from my understanding the evangelical doctrine of sin is:

all sin leads to death
it is our nature to sin
we will continue to sin no matter what
we can not stop our sin nature.

so, no matter what we sin - and we keep sinning according to the evangelical doctrine - but, what do we do with things like this:

1 john 5:16-17 "If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death."

1 john 1:6-7 "If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teethÂ?we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin."

1 john 5:18-20 "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is trueÂ?even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life"

if we read the scripture above we see that not all sin leads to death. so, the idea that we are "dead in sin" seems to go against what john is saying in his writing. we also read that if we are truly born of God we can not continue to sin, it is impossible. if we do, if we keep sinning we are not truly of God and we are lying through our teeth.

how do we read these scriptures in light of the idea that scripture is "infalliblele, inspireded and innerant?" how do we see these scripture in light of the evangelical of sin? what, if anything, should we rethink and consider different? how are we changed when we enter into a relationship with christ? how do we allow God to change us? if we are claiming to be christian can we honestly treat people poorly and simply put it off to a "sinful nature?" when we do, are we simply making excuses for our bad actions and misguided theology?


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8 comments:

Kyle said...

I think there's a difference between the overarching theological definition of sin that has certain boxes it has to fit into because of other aspects of our theology (if you're going to have a universal savior, you doggone better have a universal problem) and how we experience reality.

I understand I am sinful. I would agree with the Psalmist, surely I have been sinful since birth. But hear that as poetry and hyperbole, right? I don't think I had a sinful instinct or action as my mother held me for the first time.

Somehow, to talk about this, I want to seperate apart my sinful situation from my rotten decisions. If I treat the waitress badly because she was slow, rude or just there its not just because I'm sinful - its also because I don't embody the teaching and transforming presence of Christ.

Seems as if as a disciple I'm called to hold my seperated status from God in one hand - and a very real promise for transformation in the other and somehow walk the tightrope of my everyday life like that.

friend said...

All sin leads to death - good point.

it is our nature to sin - our fleshly nature before Christ - obviously - this is backed up in scripture. But when we are in Christ this is not so. We have been set free and can be free of sin.

We will continue to sin no matter what - I think this is true - because we will notg be perfected - Even Paul says why do I do what I do not want to do. Still, I have seen plenty of areas where I no longer sin - where God has redeemed me - so I find more and more Christ glorified - but the not yet of the kingdom coming in my life pretty much guarantees that there will still be areas where I sin and need to let Christ overcome these areas.

We can not stop our sin nature - we can not, this much is true. But God can, and will, and has in areas of my life and others - but God is faithful and just and will complete the good work he has begun- it just won't be completed perhaps in our life - I have met many old and amazing saints who still recognize their own sin nature that is dying and yea dead - but still fighting futily against the redemption that Christ has already won.

friend said...

I meant good point about using scripture - to refute that first point.

wiredjesus said...

coming out of the lutheran tribe, i resonate with luther's perspective of being sinner and saint simultaneously. A paradox that the Orthodox enjoy but that drives black and white evangelicals nuts.

We cannot constantly maintain a right relationship with anyone, God included, but the Spirit continues to work through us. Bad theology takes into the calvinist/flip wilson realm of "the devil made me do it" therefore I am not responsible to even try to live as if Jesus makes a difference to me. Even the evangelical slant with infallibility not only gives you scriptural contridictions, it puts you in real life contridictions - if I "fall", am I no longer "saved"; is my "sin" a test from god to see if I am faithful; etc...

My take is we need to hang up the desire to make god make sense and look to see how god is making sense of us as disciples of Jesus and as very human beings.

Jeffrey said...

perhaps the problem at hand lies in our traditional misconception of what "sin" actually is.

Kal-el said...

Nearly every decision we approach (at least the ones that matter) leaves us the opportunity to choose a path towards sin or not. Will you choose a physical pleasure over maintaining integrity? Will you choose generosity over selfishness? We are not defined by our individual choices, but a pattern of positive choices leads us towards a Jesus-like path. Likewise, each sin makes the next easier to justify. We will not choose righteousness at every opportunity, and that does not jeopardize our souls, but how many poor choices can you make and truly continue to believe?

Vynette said...

Jeffrey said: "perhaps the problem at hand lies in our traditional misconception of what "sin" actually is"

The New Testament defines those sins which caused the fall as:

exchanging the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25)
worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25)
disobedience to the commands of the Creator - "as through one man's disobedience, the many became sinners" (Romans 5:19).

These sins are active not passive. They are individual acts of the will. It follows from this that they cannot be inherited.

But, in any case, there is no scriptural validity for the doctrine of 'original sin' because the sin of the 'first' Adam automatically ceased with the 'last Adam'.

Pastor Sean said...

Friend said there are many sins that God has helped him overcome and there are others that still need work. I can totally agree with that. If you are "In Christ" have you given everything over to him or are you holding something back. There are addictions that I have given up when I finally gave myself to him.
As for 'original sin' and someone else making the comment about a newborn baby...is 'selfishness' a sin?? If you don't think a baby is selfish, you have not had children yet. :o)