Brokenhearted Theology, California, Contemp Culture, Global, Meaning, Ministry, Ramblings, Teaching

Should Christians Stop Talking About Sin?

When I was visiting family over Thanksgiving, I had a conversation with some Southern Baptist family members who speak often of a friend of theirs who they care much about. They said this friend is very curious about Christianity and Jesus but always gets hung up “on the sin thing.”

You hear all the time that many people love the idea of Jesus but they hate the church that represents him. Or that Christians are hypocrites because they always talk about sin in the world, sin in people’s lives, etc. while turning a blind eye to their own shortcomings. Christians try to solve the problems of the church by rallying around the idea of “hate the sin, love the sinner” but the North American culture finds Christians increasingly annoying and irrelevant. (A personal aside: people hate when you say “hate the sin, love the sinner” and it’s a personal pet peeve to trivialize deeply significant issues with such a trite phrase.)

As a word, sin has lost its meaning and theological gravity. In our culture’s vernacular, we talk about chocolate cake being sinfully good. We call one of our favorite getaways Sin City.

Sin has ceased to be a serious word in the North American culture. Outside of the narrow Christian world, any sense of sin as a serious category for behavior or explaining the world has been lost. Sin is a once weighty but now vacuous term, something we use to talk about chocolate-covered strawberries and slot machines rather than the condition of our hearts and communities.

What do you think?

If people are intrigued by Jesus but “get hung up on the sin thing,” does it make sense to jettison sin and find new ways to talk about the problems we face?

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2 thoughts on “Should Christians Stop Talking About Sin?

  1. TG says:

    Obviously, it is not the words we use that matter most- though the do play import — but rather the manner of our lives and the motivation of our words. “Speaking the truth in love”
    The truth is that God Is and Is who He Is, that we have been separated from God by sin, that since God is who He is, He has provided away to eradicate sin in Christ etc. etc…So, sin is important enough to doom us to hell and compel Christ to the cross….Hypocrisy is a sin not an excuse to no longer deal with it….God’s Word, truth is always important, always relevant and never goes out void…my 2 cents

    Like

    • Tom, as always, grateful for your comment. Definitely agree with the heart of what you’re saying – words do play an important role, for sure. And I don’t think it’s healthy or wise to jettison any words that are difficult for our culture to swallow.

      I do wonder, though, if it’s possible to replace the word “sin” in what you wrote with other words, images, and concepts without losing the theological and salvific implications for a world in need of good news. I don’t think that’s just a bait-and-switch attempt to make Christianity easier or more palatable, but a recognition that some of the words we use don’t make any sense, not because people haven’t studied enough or encountered the words but because culturally they’ve come to mean something so very different.

      Anyway, I always appreciate your shared wisdom and insight. Grateful!

      Like

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