More Preaching Against Sin Needed

If I were a preacher, I would be hesitant to stand behind a pulpit and condeme some sin I knew folks in the pews were committing.  I would be especially hesitant if I, myself, were not all that sin free and the sin committed by my folks was done commonly.

Christians here say they seldom hear sermons about sin.  I was at a Christian service recently.  Sin was mentioned several times in the opening rituals, but was not the sermon topic.

It just could be preachers think sin is not a popular topic to preach about so they just leave sleeping dogs lie. That they leave sleeping dogs lie is the complaint of the link.

The link argues that preachers need to put the hammer down on sin.  It makes sense.  Every reader here knows the Christian faith teaches we are all born sinners.

The link’s author understands the problem of ignoring sin in sermons.  Without a clear statement calling out sin, there is no reason for the faith to exist.  Without sin there is nothing to forgive.  The church loses in power to “blackmail” by promising forgiveness.

Sin is the basis for the Christian concept of “love”.  Without sin, it would be impossible to say Jesus loved us so much he died on the cross to forgive your you-know-what.

So, preachers are caught in a dilemma.  Preach about sin and, perhaps, suffer consequences.  Ignore sin and undermine the entire ball of wax.

The Christian symbol, the cross, requires sin.

50 Responses

  1. entech

    They could learn from you Jon. One of the subjects that guarantees a bigger than average response is sin, or at least something that includes sin, especially sins of the flesh. 🙂

    1. entech 11:31 “One of the topics that guarantees a bigger than average response is sin, or at least something that includes sin.”

      That does seem to be the case. There is a certain denial that sin is central to everything the faith claims and folks come here to deny.

      My question is, if the cross is the symbol of the faith, and original sin is necessay for there to be a cross, how can sin be second to whatever else they claim the faith is about.

      The irony is, folks in the pews do not want to hear about it, preachers don’t want to preach about it, and, the entire concept was manufactured for the self serving purposes of ancient writers.

  2. Michael Ross

    Sin and condemnation is what Jon is all about. The Savior he rejects is about the opposite:

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

    “When a Christian people feel themselves to be overtaken by a great public calamity, it becomes them to humble themselves under the dispensation of Divine Providence”
    ~President John Tyler – born this day, March 29, 1790

    1. entech

      That is a fascinating excerpt Michael, raises a couple of questions:
      First sentence is a nice thought, a loving God that wants the best for us in an eternal bliss.
      The second gives me a little bit of a problem though:
      If God hadn’t already condemned the world this would not have been needed, an all loving and benevolent deity should not be so petty as to put conditions on being saved, after all there were no conditions under which we could have escaped condemnation, the act of Adam and Eve causing “The Fall” saw to that. So we have petty and (self confessed) jealous entity making himself into a human in order to be tortured and die so that we can be saved if we believe it. Hard to believe as one of the attributes that is common to all gods, part of the definition I would think, is immortality and yet we are supposed to believe that your god became mortal in order to die so that you would worship him as an immortal and join him in immortality when we in out turn die (hopefully peacefully in bed rather than in agony).

      Tell me again about how if I believe it first and read in light of that belief it will all become clear. This is where it starts to get a bit circular for me
      1. I find it difficult to understand.
      2. Believe and it will be understandable, clear and obvious.
      3. But I find it so hard to believe.
      4. Help me understand.
      5. If you really want help in understanding, go to 2.

      1. entech 1:20 “5. If you really want help in understanding, go to 2.”

        That is in a nutshell. Believe first, then understand.

        The faith would have something going for it if there was a way both believers and those who do not believe could agree on the basic premises. Like, whether there is a supernatural being, whether there is life after death, whether there is or ever was such a thing as sin and that someone had the power to issue a pass.

        1. entech

          Sounds rather like the “Ignostic” approach:
          1. first get an agreed definition of the terms being used.
          2. agree to stick by the definition.
          3. wonder at how much agreement is possible when we agree on what we are talking about.
          4. find how close we can come to agreement.

    2. Michael 12:50 “..but that the world might be saved.”

      You made my point. Saved from what??? The only answer is sin. There was nothing else to save the world from. Without sin, that passage is meaningless.

      1. entech

        Not only that the sin sin is inescapable, you are born in sin it is original sin from which we are to be saved. Someone else’s sin, not even our own.
        “Curiouser and curiouser”, said Alice.

        1. Henry

          entech:“Not only that the sin sin is inescapable….”

          And that is your problem of your own making. Not inescapable at all for the Christian.

          1. entech

            Not exactly my own making, but there again you do love your own interpretations, almost as much as you hate “Atheists” and gays.
            If it was a problem of my making it would not have been imposed on me simply by being born, aren’t we all born in sin and intrinsically evil.

            The part that is of my own making is that I cannot believe:
            A. that such an entity exists.
            B. given the assumed attributes of the assumed entity, benevolence , love and justice and so on. That if you also assume the possibility, it would certainly not be the one with your given attributes.
            C. that love and respect can be demanded, especially not with an or else clause.
            D. that it is simply unbelievable and unproved.
            E. that as the rules and definitions change with each objection, it is impossible to disprove and cannot even be questioned.
            F. that Carl Sagans Dragon says it all, is just as believable and is actually intended to show the foolishness of the notion.

          2. Henry

            Then you are imprisoned. I can’t help. I also can’t help you in your projection of hate of the Christian.

          3. entech

            The only thing I hate about “The Christian” not the average, not most but “The” as epitomised by you and FJ, possibly best described as “The Professional Christian”, is the consistent prattling on about “Hate”.
            This what can be thought of as a self fulfilling prophecy, like being prodded with a sharp stick and being told “don’t be angry”, “i am not”, prod “yes you are”, “not really”, poke “yes you are”. Even the most mild mannered wimp will get upset over time.

          4. Henry

            entech:“The only thing I hate about “The Christian” not the average, not most but “The” as epitomised by you and FJ, possibly best described as “The Professional Christian”, is the consistent prattling on about “Hate”.”

            Sorry, I do not have a profession in Christianity. I was an ironworker, a certified welder.

        2. StanB

          Entech, never cheated on a test. Never bring office supplies home from work? Never hurt someone with nasty gossip? There is more then one sin.

          1. entech

            Maybe some others but not the three you mention.
            I was thinking of the “original sin” the one that I was gifted with simply by being born.

            Your friend Fr, J said I could not help myself, I had no morals, and so much more.

          2. entech

            Look up “The way of the Master’ lots of it about on You Tube, Sometimes known as the banana man. Another one of those New Zealand and Austrian fundamentalist that got laughed off thew stage and had to go to America to make a good living.

            See also _ Ken Ham.

  3. entech

    Jon so much together in so short a time 🙂
    What is they say about wise men always agreeing?
    The corollary to that is, of course, and fools never differ.

    Never mind been a pleasant Sunday morning here, lots of back reading and posting. But now the sun has come out and it is time for lunch.

    1. entech 2:39 “But now the sun has come out and its time for lunch.”

      Those who do not believe need a good scary threat, like Christians have. If only we could say, “Believe what we believe or you will be boiled in oil,” our numbers would be bigger.

      But, instead, our hero, entech, just says it’s a sunny day, and he’s going to lunch. Be thinking, my friend, about something bad that will happen to those who do not agree with us. We need numbers.

        1. entech

          Jesus in the aspect of being his own father, or however that works, condemns people of original sin just by being born, and, as the old saying goes,”you better believe it, baby”.

        2. candyman 3:22 “Let me ask you Jon? What condemns people…their sin or Jesus?”

          Neither. Sin was a concept made up by wealthy goat herders and Jesus died a couple thousand years ago. That’s about it.

          1. Henry

            Jon:“Sin was a concept made up by wealthy goat herders and Jesus died a couple thousand years ago. That’s about it.”

            I love it when Jon attributes goat herders, used as a pejorative, as bringing us the Bible (Law and Gospel). It reinforces the concept of God doing the work, God bringing us the Law, God bringing us the Gospel, and God bringing us the Atonement for our sins, Jesus Christ. He uses common people who are sinners as means to dispense his grace.

  4. Candyman

    Jon you don’t believe in the concept of sin, do you? or the deity of Christ. So, Jon, why preach repentance from sin? What is sin, Jon? in the context you are describing it? I don’t believe you know… More importantly, how does “sin” affect a Christian’s relationship with God? You still haven’t shared with us the definition of “religion” and Christianity is from your previous blog. I so want to hear you respond…this is going to be interesting!

    1. entech

      on March 29, 2014 at 8:49 am
      I asked if you could illuminate the ignorance of we unbelievers on religion and Christianity, you have declined so why would you expect Jon to accept your demand.

      The question of sin does not arise for the atheist when it is defined as diverging from the path laid down by God or something similar. Thinking that the God in this definition is an entity that is itself not defined to general acceptance makes the question meaningless just as the question do you believe in God is meaningless without an accepted meaning.
      Until everyone is talking about the same thing any conversation is meaningless in the sense that we may “mean” different things by the same words and expressions.

      1. Candyman

        Jon won’t reply because he knows not. Too bad, I was looking forward to it. He’s way too engrossed in the distribution of his scarcity. It’s gotta be emotionally frustrating for absolute atheist nowadays when confronted with simple definitions being spiritually discerned…

        1. Candyman 3:31 “Jon won’t reply because he knows not…when confronted with simple definitions being spiritually discerned.”

          You are correct. I don’t know what you are talking about.

          At various times, folks come on our site and play, “Guess what I’m thinking.” It is always in the form of either an insider term not commonly known, or, a definition of a widely used term with a different usage. You are now playing “Guess what I’m thinking.”

          You are welcome on this site to express whatever your views are, what is on mind or what you do not like about my blogs or comments.

          I apologize for not having time to play, “What am I thinking.”

  5. Fish

    I really enjoy reading this blog. My faith journey has been enhanced by the writings of Jon and his followers.

    1. entech

      I enjoy writing on it, it has enhanced my own journey. But I think mine is in a different direction than yours. If we both keep traveling perhaps we will come to truth as the final destination, could just as well be either of us that gets there first.

  6. Paul Overby

    A preacher friend of mine once shared: “Honesty without love is brutality; love without honesty is hypocrisy.” The challenge for a Christian preacher is balancing those two out. I won’t try to convince an atheist to believe in God, that’s not my job. But too many Christians have taken to reducing God to a god in their image, ignoring the concept of the “holiness” of God, where sin is incompatible. That is, if we believe that God created the universe, how could we as mere mortals ever expect to be in the presence of a being so powerful? Yet, the story “before the fall” has man in relationship with God. It is man’s self-will, with our desire to make our own decisions apart from considering our Creator first, that is considered sin. Even if it looks like a “good thing” to the world! And that is consistent with the Biblical story. Unfortunately, Christians, like the Pharisees, turned sin into a set of rules with microscopic jots and titles and “thou shalt nots” that get in the way of understanding our relationship with God. That was as true for the Jew as it is for the Christian. So Jesus taught them to look at the truth behind the concept — calling someone a fool is like murder — because of the state of the heart in doing so. We ignore, in that case, that the person is loved of God equally as we are, and put ourselves in the position of God in declaring him to be a fool. And that is sin.

    But, of course, first you have to believe in God! Without that, it doesn’t matter, other than giving some good material for a Sunday blog. : )

    1. Adam Heckathorn

      Here is My problem with the concept of sin as defined by some ancient God. I believe it is wrong to selfishly trample on the rights or interests of others. You’d think that Christians believing in the concept of sin would result in Them having more respect for other people such as non Christians or People of other denominations but instead it becomes Yes I’m a Sinner but I’ve been justified You on the other hand haven’t been Justified therefore I have the right to Dehumanize You and treat You as the dirt You are.

    2. Adam Heckathorn

      Paul I appreciate Your post although I disagree with some of Your post I am interested in Your opinion of My reply.

      1. Paul Overby

        Hi Adam, I’ll give it a whirl. My comments follow yours:

        “defined by some ancient God.” I believe he is a living God, same today as in ancient times. So doing our own self-will today is as much an affront as it ever has been.

        “I believe it is wrong” Sin comes from the concept that there is a “right” and a “wrong.” I believe that comes from God. Interestingly, the people who lived in Noah’s time were described as ‘every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil’ and this was before the 10 Commandments. If there is no God, where do you get your concept of what is “wrong?”

        “result in Them having more respect for other people such as non Christians or People of other denominations” Yes, I agree they should. Jesus told the story of a king who forgave a man for a large sum of money he was owed. The man went out and had another fellow who owed him a small sum thrown in debtors prison. Jesus said the king was furious and had the man thrown into prison to be tortured until he could repay his debt. Impossible while you are in prison, right?! Christians who behave as you describe should take warning!

        “Yes I’m a Sinner but I’ve been justified” Which is supposed to be a statement of incredible humility, not of pride. Pride, ironically, is one of the “seven deadly sins!”

        “You as the dirt You are” You aren’t dirt! God made you, God loves you, just as he loves those Christians. Same way. Same love. Same opportunity for forgiveness. Now we are back to Jon’s point. Except the cross doesn’t depend on sin, it was caused by sin. And there is a difference!

        1. Adam Heckathorn

          Paul I appreciate Your well thought out post. I have to disagree with a couple of points.I don’t believe it’s reasonable to believe in a living God so I don’t believe I need to worry about offending Him. I have a conscience in which I weigh things out as to right and wrong. I try to think in terms of cause and effect so as to make decisions not for My immediate gratification but for the long term good of My family, My neighbors, My descendants, (I do what I can to mitigate global warming) This nation, and all People throughout The earth. I agree with many of the teachings of Jesus not because He’s divine but because of the practical nature of some of His teachings. I’m against slavery, incest,genocide, and other things mentioned but not necessarily condemned in the Bible. If I reject that love and opportunity for forgiveness am I not dirt? Paul I appreciate that You value humility I think it is an attractive quality. Again I appreciate Your post.

          1. H.P.D.

            good reply, practical actions, are solutions to everyday problems. Religion plays no part, some talk the talk, but do not walk the walk

          2. Paul Overby

            I understand where you are coming from. The challenge is in restraint. Many of the things you mentioned are supported by a larger “social agreement.” But, that works as long as you hang with people who agree with you. If there is a different social group that has a different set of morals, and they all agree, who is to determine that they also do not have the right to assert their beliefs as “right?” That is, your moral code is based on a long-term perspective. But is that “right?” In your mind yes, and probably superior. But if a group of people who grew up differently have a different code and they say “live for today, for tomorrow we die” is right, then who is right? Only time, or power, will tell. Such was the case with Nazi Germany. Many of them were well convinced they were right. In your construct, time and power established that they were “wrong.” In other words, if right and wrong are simply the construct of one’s conscience, then the competing senses of right and wrong in the world are neither right nor wrong, as they are only dependent on the conscience of the practitioner and the group they affiliate with.

          3. Paul Overby

            “am I not dirt?” I can only say “no” because of my acceptance as true because of God’s relationship to mankind revealed even before the Bible came to be. However, if I were to only depend on my conscience, then perhaps I could truthfully say “it depends!” 🙂

          4. Adam Heckathorn

            Paul again I appreciate Your post and I’ll admit it’s got Me thinking and I’m going to think some more yet. as a Child I remember thinking “everyone I know is either divorced or they should be.”I eventually got a more sophisticated view and would marry My wife again if I had it to do over. I also made other observations. better to learn from some one else’s school of hard knocks than Your own. We can learn from experience We don’t have to reinvent the Wheel every time We have a decision to make. There is pretty universal acceptance of what should constitute basic Human Rights.

  7. H.P.D.

    This believe first then understand is a crock of crap. This is what Christianity is built on, buy in, pay your money, believe, then they will give you the answers, Anybody with common sense can see right through this, imagination is a great tool, it has helped invent many an item based on need. You get into trouble when you try to use imagination when try to help your self with your emotional needs. Big difference between emotional intelligence and reason using critical thinking. I can see that there are minds on this blog that are developing critical thinking skills. This makes me happy, some people are benefiting from partaking in the conversation. Other like H J are memorizing material and just spiting it right back (no thinking involved in this process) annoying yes, in the scheme of things, their words wander in wind to contribute to back ground noise. It’s a good thing to have examples of BS constantly available, supplied by a very few on this blog really. Always happy to see the ridiculous stand out so clearly, Especially when they concentrate on the guy who is good enough to take the time for the rest of us to get our opinions out. But its okay our host has thick skin (intellectually anyway and probably gets several good laughs everyday for the stupid things some people say). It good to have Entech, Realist, Wolfy, Jinx, Adam, Fargo Bob, Michael, Mac, Sea of fishes, Grandma, and others that stop in to add something to the conversation (excuse me if I missed your name) on a regular bases. Christians have no monopoly on morals or ethical behavior and feeling superior because you are a Christian is actually a bad joke. I read recently on the web there are over four thousand religions, if you think your religion or franchise makes you a superior human being think again. The world is in the dark ages intellectually, the non believers, with open minds, with good morals and ethical behavior will inherit the earth, it’s just a matter of time.


  8. Fr. James

    Jon, wow. Just when I think you have proven your ignorance sufficiently you outdo yourself. Sin is a reality. Read the newspapers. We mention it in every Mass and I have preached on it myself. You commit many sins. Ask others who will be honest with you and they will tell you. There is no “blackmail” here, but rather an offer for forgiveness. This forgiveness was won on that cross.

    You seem to have no problem preaching to others about “sin.” Usually that means disagreeing with you. You condemn others, often unjustly, all the time right here on this blog.

    1. Fr. James 4:02 “There is no ‘blackmail’ here, but rather….forgiveness. This forgiveness was won on that cross.”

      You seem to refer to this as a historical fact rather than what it is, a theological belief. There is absolutely no proof Jesus died for sins. There was not even sin until Christians made it up.

      1. Wolfy32

        I know, I think the biggest, the largest issue for me to believe Christianity, is quite simply, Christianity hasn’t existed forever.

        What happened to all the people that have never and continue to never have the opportunity to know Jesus or God of Abraham and Elijah. (I’m not sure what other choices for Gods there were….)

        Regardless there was the Greek mythology where people believe devoutly in Zeus and other mythological heros and Gods. Beautiful temples were built in honor of each of them.

        It was a nationwide belief system no different than christianity today.

        There continues to be many other prominent religions, denominations, etc. Billions of people have lived and died without ever hearing or reading a single word of the bible. There’s been blind and deaf people that have never seen or heard the bible, mentally challenged, brain damaged, physically disabled and diseased people over thousands of years that have never heard of christianity or the bible.

        And in the bible’s view, those people are condemned to hell unless they believed in Jesus (period!!! Exclamation point. Period!)

        That seems like a very cruel God to offer an elite few something that makes those elite few better than everyone else, but not universally give that grace to everyone on the planet.

        I know someone will say that yes, God has made his grace available to anyone. Anyone that is capable of hearing or reading, or being around it and only the currently living, and and and…


        1. entech

          You are right Wolfy, it is all there and it is all free, all you need to do is believe, if you don’t believe you go to hell. One of the divine mysteries is that this is not blackmail.
          You are not quite right about all the early people going to hell, apparently the answer to that is – only those that have heard the word and reject it. The answers keep appearing to each objection – explain everything and you end up explaining nothing.

        2. Fr. James

          God’s plan of salvation was worked out in time and over time. We teach that those who were righteous and who died before Christ were in the limbo of the Fathers. They were then taken to heaven. They did not go to hell. No one is denied the necessary graces for heaven. They only go there by choice. The gates of hell are locked on the inside. So you are simply wrong. You believe a false straw man argument against Christianity without finding out what we really teach.

      2. Fr. James

        Jews talked about sin before Jesus’ time. Sin is a reality. We didn’t make it up. That is ridiculous. As I said, it is not blackmail. You may deny that Jesus died on the cross for sins, but you can’t say that we teach blackmail. Calumny is a sin.

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