Got Sin?

How have God’s people handled sin in the past and present. I see at least eight views... [MORE]


Pastor Rod said...


I find it helpful to think of sin in relational terms. All the models you listed seem to be set in a legal framework.

There certainly is a legal aspect to sin, but the relational part seems to be more at issue in the life of believers.

Numbers 2, 5, 6, 8 & 9 all seem to be variations of the same attitude (from the perspective of a believer).


Chris said...

Well, I would have to say that I subscribe fairly wholeheartedly to number 6... in theory. I'm not sure that my behavior is always in line with my theory, though, so my actual "belief" might lie elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Very thought provoking. I hear less and less about "sin" in general when it comes to the church at large.

I've even noticed this trend in many holiness circles, and I wonder if our theology has not predisposed us to this gross negligence... i.e. because we "rarely sin" after conversion it has become solely and "evangelism issue" and has little relevance to "discipleship" and the Christian life.

While I subscribe to a "holiness" view on sin; I'd dare say that after nearly 10 years of full-time ministry I've seen just as much sin in the church as I have in the world... just comes in different shapes and sizes.

JohnLDrury said...

Thinking-in-Ohio makes a very important point by noting that View #6 is suseptible to slipping into Views #8/9. Of course, Views 5 & 7 can slip this way too, although for different reasons. Perhaps Christian talk of salvation is always in danger of downplaying sin. How to re-emphasize sin without downplaying salvation is the crux of the matter.

I also find this column interesting because it is not only a typology of fundamental alternatives but also a history of views in a roughly sequential order. If so, then it seems like we are regressing in the most recent views (#8/9).

If there is a narrative aspect to this typology, may I humbly offer three historical notes:

View #5 may conflate reformation views and later baptistic views. Both see forgiveness as a finished actuality in Christ, the former tend to time this back to the cross (and even back to predestination) whereas the latter tend to identify justification with the moment of conversion.

View #7 (Spiritual Breathing) is rooted in the Keswick movement, members of which were involved in starting the parachurch organizations you mentioned.

Views #8 & #9 may have roots in Socinus and then in later Enlightenment views. So perhaps not all that new.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

May I suggest that identifying a "theology of sin" really negates the dynamic of relationship....

Many of us struggle to understand what healthy relationships are all about...and yes, that is due to upbringing, self-image, and communal acts toward another. Understanding the capacity of another's relational "self" is pivotal in "helping" the other toward wholeness (this is why the teaching of "understanding ourself in Christ" or understanding and focusing on God's love is healing,), IF that other one wants to see, look, struggle, confess, pray, etc. toward that end...

We all "need" different "stuff" to understand "love"...(love languages)...and we must learn to recognize those distintives and defer, commit, to those differences. Committing to another's wholeness is also not neglecting, dismissing, or overlooking another's "damage"..

Universalizing a human being is not only arrogant, but damaging. Humans are contextually bound and must be understood within their own contexts..Damage "happens" to the children whose parents apply the same stategy to every child ...know the child...and love that child in their particular way...We so need a break-through when it comes to loving....