Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

In The News: Is It a Sin or is It Just Stupid?

inthenewsOn April 1, 2008, an article was posted to the website of Plain Truth Ministries. (To read the article, click here). The article was written by Monte Wolverton. It is titled, “Is It a Sin or is It Just Stupid?”

The article quotes a survey study by Ellison Research, which it states is a “Christian research firm” located in Phoenix, AZ. The survey sampled over 1000 adults, and came to the conclusion that most Americans believe in sin.

However, Americans vary widely in what they believe to be sin. Consider the following:

  • 81% believe adultery is sin.
  • 74% believe that racism is sin.
  • 65% believe using hard drugs is sin.
  • 41% believe that smoking marijuana is sin.
  • 41% believe getting drunk is sin.
  • 14% believe drinking alcohol is sin.
  • 56% believe having an abortion is sin.
  • 52% homosexuality is sin.
  • 30% believe gambling is sin.
  • 4% believe that dancing is sin.

Additionally, according to the survey, 94% percent of Americans who attend church believe in sin, while only 80% of those who do not regularly attend believe in it. Politically, 94% of conservatives believe in sin, but only 77% of liberals do.

Such surveys do not surprise us. Men often seek to establish their own standards rather than submitting to God’s standard, the Bible. The results indicate a subjective approach to the subject rather than an appeal to God’s word as the final authority.

What was novel was the author’s take on the survey. He acknowledged that “evangelicals” make their appeal to scripture, but found such to be problematic for two reasons:

“1) While Christians obsess over sin, they have never been able to agree entirely on what the Bible defines as sin. … 2) The New Testament seems a bit fuzzy on defining sin the way we would like.”

His suggestion in solving this problem is as follows:

“Here’s a thought (for Christians): Stop worrying about and obsessing over sin — whether it be your own or someone else’s. It’s all been taken care of. Just live life in Christ. Chill out with the religious stuff. Stop taking religion so seriously. Conversely, make sure that God’s grace is your anchor and firm foundation.”

I suppose you can expect nothing less from an organization that as its slogan “Christianity Without Religion”, and established an “internet” church so people could stay at home and worship in their easy chair.

The problem is the two reasons given by Wolverton are invalid. The inability of Christians to agree on what the Bible defines as sin is a sympton of self-will, not a flaw in the text of scripture itself. And, when those who are “untaught and unstable” twist what the scriptures teach, they do so “to their own destruction” (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). They could define sin correctly, if they were willing to!

Finally, compare the apostle Paul’s attitude regarding the significance of grace with that final quote from Wolverton. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).