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Omitting the “sin” word

August 8, 2000

Ted Schulz, guest columnist


The culture in Western nations is changing. It just isn’t politically correct to call sin “a sin” anymore. In fact, most people today have no idea what sin means. In the last few months, there have been several eye-opening articles in our [Louisville, Kentucky] newspaper, and I would like to summarize some of them with you.

A commentary by nationally syndicated U.S. columnist Mona Charen [in the Louisville Courier-Journal] reported that 90% of Americans believe in God; 58% say that religion is very important to them; 43% attend weekly services. Columnist Mona Charen asks the question: In a society that “enshrines tolerance and reluctance to make moral judgments as to the highest virtues, what can they be hearing at those weekly services?” What does all this really mean?

Charen concludes that the secular worldview is influencing the churches far more than the churches are influencing society. After examining the moral education curricula at churches and synagogues around the nation, she reports that sin, repentance, and redemption are “out”, and self help, self esteem, and self love are “in”.

Charen cites a devout religious educator/radio broadcaster who is against premarital sex and does not slight the traditional Christian teachings on marriage, fidelity, honesty, etc. Yet the first reason this educator gives for refraining from premarital sex is the risk of venereal disease. She reports that another evangelical writer is even more in sync with popular psychology by emphasizing self esteem and understanding the so-called “inner child.” But the problem of sin is absent in their teachings.

The mainline [generally liberal] churches go even further. Here are some quotes from leaders at some of these churches: “Loving myself is the heart of living,” “To love oneself is holy,” “Handing out absolutes is a disservice to youths,” “Sin isn’t one of our issues,” “Oh no, that kind of language (sin) would not relate to them anyway, our young people would not respond to that.” Charen concludes that “Building self-esteem has become a substitute for moral reasoning and self-examination,” and that the national response both secular and religious is to “call in the shrinks.”

A “sin” to take a stand against same-sex marriages?

Another recent article in my local paper was on how reformed Jewish leaders voted to allow same-sex marriages. “It is not sinful to be a gay and lesbian,” said Rabbi Paul Menitoff. “It is sinful to have these prejudices and act out on them.” Presbyterian, United Methodist, and the Episcopal church leaders are expected to take up the issue later this year. The state of Vermont (USA) has now approved same-sex unions and extends legal rights of marriage to same sex couples.

Another article reported that in a recent poll, evangelicals are softening towards homosexuality. It says that the evangelicals polled viewed education, health care, and the environment as more important issues, and that they see the religious community as “coming to terms” with our diverse and pluralistic society. The writer says that this “breakthrough” will profoundly effect the next generation. Unfortunately, I have to agree with her.

The Christian ethic is collapsing in America! There is no longer an absolute standard of right and wrong. Human reason has replaced God’s Word as the ultimate authority in Western (and most other) nations. We need to take a stand for the Word of God and help people see that our only hope is in Jesus Christ, the Creator and Redeemer of the universe. God is Creator and He set the rules—it is really that simple. Let’s influence the world for Jesus Christ instead of letting them influence us.

It looks to me as if the church would be the good place to start! (What a sad indictment on our churches and religious leaders.) How are we going to lead people to the Lord when we eliminate sin from the vocabulary? How can a person be saved if he doesn’t know what sin is? Sin is the problem, and it’s been the problem from the beginning (Genesis 3).

Besides evangelizing the lost and edifying the saved, shouldn’t the church also be the conscience for the community? But how can the church be a conscience for the community when its methods, values, and standards are no different from secular society? Let’s show people that the biblical worldview—not evolutionary humanism—does indeed explain the world we live in. Let’s share the Gospel from Genesis to Revelation and give people an understanding of what life is really all about.

People need answers—starting in Genesis. They will not find them in the psycho-babble and the false science of evolution the world has to offer. We need to “tell it like it is!” Sin is sin!


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