MY EMAIL RESPONSE TO THE ARTICLE RE "SIN"
(See Prior Post)
I stumbled onto your article about what Americans call "sin", and I have posted it (with attribution) to my Stumbleupon blog site:
Since I am the second-ranked (or maybe third-ranked) stumbler in terms of number of "fans" out of over 5 million in the world, your insightful message will be read by numerous people.
Please let me share some thoughts. Years ago as a teenager in rural Arkansas I listened to Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong on the radio. I listened not because I agreed with their theology (I did not---it was not Scriptural) but because I found it to be an interesting and eclectic blend of many religious streams. Also, I found their thinking and presentation intellectually challenging. I ordered their free books and subscribed to Plain Truth Magazine.
In the early 1990's I had a three-month trial (a sex discrimination case for a woman against Texaco) in downtown Los Angeles (We won nearly $20 million, but that is another story), and I read the L.A. Times daily. The article about the Worldwide Church of God and its transformation after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong fascinated me. Your going to Fuller Theological Seminary and morphing into a "mainstream" evangelical church is, I dare say, without precedent in American---or even world---religious history.
Your article re sin exemplifies your metamorphosis. More than this, however, it demonstrates that you have not "tossed out the baby with the bathwater"---you have retained the Armstrongs' emphasis on stimulating intellectual content. Later today I intend to peruse your other articles.
A lawyer without a caveat is not much of a lawyer---so I beg you to forgive my quibbling re "sin". First, your article did not attach much significance to the "Thou Shalts" as opposed to "Thou Shalt Nots". Jesus the Christ, methinks, was much more concerned about the "Thou Shalts." As the attorney for the Arkansas District (and I have represented other districts from Alaska to Florida) of the Assemblies of God (my religious background), I have vigorously argued with each new superintendent that the church should delete two conditions of membership: no drinking of alcohol and no tobacco use.
Alternatively, I have offered to provide my clients with a comprehensive list of "sins", including both the "Thou Shalts" and the "Thou Shalt Nots". After all, who better to compile such a list than the "Devil's Advocate", right? We could, I tell them, start with gossip and gluttony (when did you last hear a sermon re gluttony, especially from a porky preacher?) and end up with slaying one's grandmother with a chopping axe! I ask them to consider how full (or empty) the pews would be if we denigrate grace by conditioning church membership on this host of sins.
My point is simple (as is most truth): Grace is unmerited favor from God. It is free and not for "sale" by requiring folks to jump through whatever hoops religious folks want to require. God's grace is not vitiated by my sinning---whether acts of commission or omission. His grace is sufficient for my past, present, and future sins, and nothing I can do (or not do) however "sinful" or reprehensible or heinous can or will separate me from the unconditional love of God. His love is boundless; so is His mercy. Otherwise, we would all perish.
The bottom line is this: "Sin" is simply willful rebellion and separation from God. It is nothing more than self-deification in which we in our hearts and minds deify Self as the "lord" of our lives. The essence of this self-deification and separation is hubris, the very "sin" for which Lucifer was (in the Biblical account) cast out of heaven.
Thank you for permitting me to share!