Sin as we view it

Has the 'notion of sin' been lost?


Take it from the Rev. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, who doesn't give a jelly bean for the modern version of Easter.

"All the Easter eggs and the Easter bunny are even more extraneous to the purpose of Easter than Santa is to Christmas," Mohler says. "At least Santa Claus was based on a saint. I wonder whether even some Christian churches are making the connection between Christ's death and resurrection and victory over sin — the linchpin doctrine of Christianity."
A new survey by Ellison Research in Phoenix finds 87% of U.S. adults believe in the existence of sin, which is defined as "something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective."

Topping the list are adultery (81%) and racism (74%).

But other sins no longer draw majority condemnation. Premarital sex? Only 45% call it sin. Gambling? Just 30% say it's sinful.

"A lot of this is relative. We tend to view sin not as God views it, but how we view it," says Ellison president Ron Sellers.

Comment: It is a grievous, self-deluding mistake to discount our sinfulness!

More from Albert Mohler: Sin by Survey? Americans Say What they Think

For Christians, a few observations are in order.

First, we do not find out what acts are sinful by asking our neighbors. Christians believe that God alone has the right to determine sin, and that the ultimate authority for determining sin is the Bible -- not a poll.

Second, these data seem to indicate that Americans think of sin only in terms of what we do, not in terms of who we are. The Bible reveals sin to be what we are as fallen humanity, not merely the acts we commit or fail to commit.

Third, Christians understand that sin is, most importantly, an act of rebellion and disobedience against God himself. Surveys like this point to the fact that most Americans think of sin as acts against other humans or acts against the self (as in gluttony). When sin is seen only in this perspective, all that remains is a negotiable social etiquette.

Fourth, this report reminds us of the evangelistic challenge we now face. The loss of a deeper sense of sin means that many (if not most) Americans see themselves in no need of salvation. As a previous generation of Christians knew so well, we have to communicate the "sin word" before we can explain the "grace word" in evangelism.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article. Sin is totally gone from our culture, as an admission. Thanks in large part to psychology (no, I don't think all psychology is bad), no one does anything wrong anymore; man is basically good. Look at all the tv shows and just take a look at the news. They all try to profile the psychological makeup of a serial killer. They try to figure out "what in their brain went wrong." It amazes me that even when people do horrendous things such as commit mass murder, the media and people in general are very reticient to even call that evil! We just don't want to even use that word. Everything can be attributed to a "disorder" of some sort and nothing is ever deemed evil. It amazes me.


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