Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sin Boldly

There is an argument in the Church today over what sin is and what sin is not. Both sides quote scripture. Both sides are sure they are right.
On one side are those who believe that sin is personal, the failure of an individual to keep rules set by God. O the other side are those who believe that sin is understood as an interlocking system of unjust relationships resulting from the disorder created by the Fall. You can find this position argued well on Dr. Kate’s blog.
If you hold the first position then you try to keep the rules. If you hold the second position you try to change the society.
The problem with both positions is that they place man at the center and God becomes either the rule giver or the one who calls us to be loving and thus fight to change society. This takes the central event of Christianity, the Cross, and pushes it into the background. If we are busy rule keeping or society changing then we don’t need the cross. It’s up to us to do it. Jesus is no longer Savior but instead He is at best cheerleader , urging us on to new holiness or to stand against the fallen society.
So on the one hand we have a group of people who alone are going to heaven because they are good rule keepers and on the other those who look down on them as they fight to bring heaven on earth. God isn’t needed and sometimes God isn’t even wanted.
This is Lent. A time when we remember the journey of a man named Jesus to the cross. There he died. But he didn’t stay dead. All of this happened because of sin. Human sin. Sin is a cancer that destroys a person and moves from the person into all of society. But God has acted. Let us never lose sight of the fact that God has acted.

@@@@ News from Pigeon Falls-The little town in my garage where the trains still run, boys talk to rocks, and basketball is king.– The New Potatoes won yesterday. No nonsense in this game. No strange basketball flights. They did everything well. They won by over twenty points. Now its on to lower Michigan. The first time ever for the consolidated school. The town could not be happier.
Pastor Moe preached his first sermon today. It was twice as long as any sermon Pastor Marvel ever gave. According to one member it was twice as boring . The only part that got people a bit excited was when he said that they needed to put God ahead of the basketball team. Pastor Marvel would never have said anything like that. Just as he left the pulpit , having finished the sermon , his manuscript suddenly blew out of the pulpit and all over the front of the church. It was like a sermon snowstorm. The acolytes, including Tommy UK, really seemed to enjoy that. At least they did until Pastor Moe had them pick them up. Where the wind came from to blow the papers is not at all clear. Nancy said it must be her poltergeist decided to go to church. That‘s as good an explanation as any. After the service, over coffee, Eino suggested to Pastor Moe that he go easy on the basketball stuff/ Pastor Moe said “ Sometime its necessary to speak a hard truth”. Eino said that that might be true but he should wait until people get to know him so they can hear what he is saying.
Tommy TW said that he is going to set his murder in his book on a day when people are coming back from the tournament in Marquette. It will just take a little rewriting and it gives some local color to the work. Nancy says that “ Murder in the Sauna” is going to be a best seller.

Today's Link-The World as Observed by Me-This was Ellie's wink yesterday. If you want to read a very sad love story here it is. Leave a Dr. John in the comment.
Went to church this morning.It was great. Then I started reading " The White Dragon" which is harder yo get into than the last two books. My daughter was out on call much of the day. When she was home we played canasta . She won. I visited most of my links. Now I will have a breathing treatment.


Blogger Janvangogh said...

We left a church after many years 'cause it stopped preaching the cross.

Pastor Moe and Potato rhyme -- I feel a cheer coming on.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Quilly said...

I run a children's ministry in an inner-city, gang infested neighborhood. Often chuch members come up to me and tell me how wonderful they think I am for "saving the children". My reply is always the same, "Only Jesus saves. I am just a road sign pointing the way to him." Almost always they replay, "Still you're earning your place in heaven." Then I reply, "That can't be earned. Jesus bought it for me on the cross." Then they usually shut up and glare at me. I have had a few say I am sacreligious and ungrateful.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Very well put and written! I'll have to borrow this next week for my God Box post. I think I have just the cartoon to go with it.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Well said. Sin is disobedience to God and the very first sin was pride as committed by Satan. Sin is personal but it affects the world around us. Jesus loved sinners (that's why He was willing to go to the cross and why He ate with tax collectors and prostitutes) but hated sin and the consequences of sin. He clearly taught us to serve those who were weak and marginalised and these are the results of sin in the world. Both sides should see that both views are correct but need to be viewed together.

9:58 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Hi Dr John, I'm gonna risk walking on egg shells here.

I understand I Am The Way to mean

that just as surely as there is a way to do something in windows, or an 'access condition' or 'entrance fee' to any Club or College ...

there is a way to Be or Become ...

Mind you in word there are usually three ways to do something, either by clicking on a drop down, or clicking on a task bar shortcut, or using a keyboard shortcut.
And there are many ways to skin a cat.

as for Christ and the cross, I can understand skepticism regarding the doctrine of 'dying' for our sins -

I understood the message of the Cross to mean, you can kill the flesh, but you cannot kill the Spirit. The flesh is no more than clothes - and what should not become overly attached to the flesh or clothes, else it clearly becomes harder (more painful) to let go.

But hey that is only my perception or understanding of events ... and no I am not going to answer the skeptics how Christ can be here, there and everywhere - or on which cross or which church he IS at - or why he does not 'appear' or reveal himself.

I'm thinking though, imagine if you are sitting there watching a film on tv - and all of the sudden the actor on screen looks at YOU, and says 'reveal' yourself to me.

Hope you are having a great Sunday

10:43 AM  
Blogger Alpha Dude 1.5 said...

Thanks, Dr. John.

I'm with you, I don't understand how people can argue what sin is and is not. It is clear and simple and is evident in the word itself.

sIn. Notice the "I" in the center? That is in itself, sIn. When we are in the center, and God is not. When God is not first in all that we do and all that we are, that is sIn.

Jesus went to the cross and paid the ultimate price for OUR sIn. How cool is that? Because of what Christ did for us, and because God the Father sent His one and only Son to do that for us, that is why Jesus is the only way to get to God. And like you said, when we put the "I" first, we shove all that into the background, and that, my dear friends, is sIn.

'nuff said.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Alastair said...

Amen Dr John! We preach Christ crucified, foolishness to the greeks! As you know, my obsession (theologically speaking) is with incarnational theology, and the witness of Scripture is quite clear, Jesus was real, solid humanity as well as real, solid divinity and the death of that humanity and the resurrection that followed Christ's obedience was the way in which God defeated the power of sin.

'scuse me, I'll just get down of me high horse.

Great post! Thanks, as always.

3:56 PM  
Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

I really am not a very avid church goer but I do believe in God. I try to follow his preachings. For me sin is something wrong that you do with your knowledge. Anything done without your knowledge may not be a sin.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

We have 10 commandments...sometimes following them is difficult for all of us. We have to do our best and have love in our hearts, just as God loves us. He knows we are not perfect, he knows we sin, but he also knows when we are trying to be pleasing to him. Its important that we forgive others and ourselves as God forgive us.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, some great thoughts and comments here! I agree with you on all points Dr. John. Another thing that has come to my attention is the songs we sing in worship. Many of the newer ones state I and me in the verses alot. It is about my feelings and emotions and not truly bringing worship to God. I had never thought about it, and our worship leaders are guilty of sometimes bringing that kind of song to the worship hour. Once you start to listen to the words as you are singing and think about this it becomes really easy to pick out songs that are true worship songs and ones that are "me minded". I wish I could remember who I heard talk about it. It was on Christian radio, but I can't remember who it was. I think the person wrote a book on this concept as well. Great post.

6:32 PM  

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