Monday, December 1, 2008

Dumbing Down Sin

Spencer Burke, author of the aptly titled "A Heretic's Guide to Eternity" writes in characteristic post-modern fashion:

"Although the link between grace and sin has driven Christianity for centuries, it just doesn’t resonate in our culture anymore. It repulses rather than attracts. People are becoming much less inclined to acknowledge themselves as ‘sinners in need of a Savior.’ It’s not that people view themselves as perfect; it’s that the language they use to describe themselves has changed. “Broken,” “fragmented,” and “lacking wholeness”—these are some of the new ways people describe their spiritual need. What resonates is a sense of disconnection."

Burke is not interested in what is true or biblical but in what "attracts" or "resonate[s] in our culture." In this way the typical pomo/emergent types are no different from the mega-church marketers that they criticize.

Notice the difference between Burke and his pomo/emergent fellows and the words of J. Gresham Machen, the great champion of evangelicalism in the early 20th century:
“If sin is so trifling a matter as the liberal Church supposes, then indeed the curse of God’s law can be taken very lightly, and God can easily let by-gones be by-gones.” But “If a man has once come under a true conviction of sin, he will have little difficulty with the doctrine of the Cross.”


toothdoc said...

I think I have placed a "3 strikes your out" rule on God's grace. I have no problem seeing that I am a sinner; however, I struggle accepting that time-after-time, this all-powerful, holy, sovereign God of scripture will continue to forgive. How many chances do I really have? As odd as it sounds, I don't currently feel the weight of sin, I feel the weight of forgiveness. Maybe I am falling, again, into a "worm-theology" but I am so tired of asking forgiveness that I just don't want to do it anymore. Why would God want to be burdened with my constant recidivism. Sin I accept, Grace I accept the constant returning seeking forgiveness I am really struggling with. I can see the attraction that pomo/emergent churches have because if you de-emphasize the sin, you eliminate the guilt associated with seeking forgiveness time-after-time.Why can't salvation come with a sin-control panel that reduces my desire to sin rather than simply increasing my guilt about sin? Unlike Paul, I don't have a "thorn in my side", I am the "thorn in my side" and oftentimes feel as if I am a "thorn" in God's side.

Todd Pruitt said...


I think what you are feeling is not necessarily a bad thing insofar as it brings us low.

However, while we struggle with the reality of being saved SINNERS let us take a higher level of joyful gratitude from the reality that we are SAVED sinners.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

I do like the "sin-control panel" idea.