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If you are already offended by the title, chances are good you’re not even reading this opening line. But if you make it this far, I hope you will consider sending this to your pastors and bible teachers because the state of our world has everything to do with this subject for which the world has lost its appetite.
It has become extremely clear since my post last week about Ravi Zacharias that the contemporary evangelical Christian has a profoundly stunted understanding of sin. As I read through the twitter-sphere and engaged with people on the subject, it is painfully obvious that the church has lost not only its will but its skill to teach the world about sin. Pastors and bible teachers are not entirely to blame here, for each and every person with an awakened heart and even a hint of self knowledge is responsible to mine their own depths and scour their own soul to unearth just how deep the cavity goes. Alas, mortification of sin is a lost art of the puritans. Postmodernism concluded that since everything bears the stain of sin, we may as well just focus on something more positive and up-lifting.
As our society pretends to be waking up and adopting spiritual reality as development tool for self-actualization, I am constantly amazed at how people think they can come to a greater knowledge of themselves apart from any knowledge of their indwelling sin. No person can side-step the issue of sin and then somehow magically, or psychologically, or spiritually arrive at a discovery of their true self: it’s fundamentally impossible. While I agree that we are ultimately neither the good things we accomplish, nor are we the bad things we do, our deepest ontological reality is by design a hybridization of our total depravity and our imago dei. Our true self, our ultimate reality, our authentic identity resides NOT in the continuum between the two, but in the full blown expression of both.
If your pastor or favorite bible teacher is not teaching you this, you need to fire him or her. The reason the church is recoiling after the Ravi Zacharias scandal, the reason people are shocked and dismayed, the reason the pointing fingers of blame are heading in only outward directions, is because the church has lost its understanding of sin. Any defect in ones self-knowledge of indwelling sin necessarily causes a corresponding defect in ones knowledge of God or ultimate Truth. It undermines the Gospel and it turns the work of Christ into a crime-scene clean up job. There is no such thing as an enlightened person who pays lip service to the gravitational power of sin, instead such a person is the very definition of self-deception. If the church has become self deluded, then how can it serve as a light in dark world, or salt to preserve a decaying society?
I did my PhD on the subject of sin and I spent over a year defending my thesis before the committee finally acquiesced to what I think are irrefutable conclusions which I had drawn from scripture. I’m going to test your stomach for a new kind of biblical revelation. Furthermore, as pop-psychology and New Age ideas have infiltrated the church, we have lost touch with not only what sin is, but it’s purpose, it’s function, and the beauty it reveals when strived with. In this series, I will share not only my own conclusions about sin and my recommendations for how the church must correct itself, but I will resurrect the formidable voice of John Owen so that our starving world can taste the layers within his recipes.
If we will give ourself to this study and recognize our internal dissonance and desire to squirm and be distracted, then this series will open our life faster and more accurately than years of therapy or life-coaching. Ask God for the grace to hear. Let’s become students (disciples) of our sin and the horror which lies just beyond everything and as we do, we will gain what Jesus said would be “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” and then, and only then, will radical transformation take place. My promise to you is that I will not be another voice of condemnation nor judgement. I don’t care what your sins are. You don’t have any secrets, behaviors, or malware scripts that will offend me, surprise me, or cause me to back away from loving you. You are not worse than me, the Apostle Paul, or Peter, and you are certainly not better. The proof that I have a heart to serve you from within our shared hell-hole of sin, is evidenced that I’m willing to teach all comers if they have the courage to walk with me. I’m not shying away. I don’t care if I get unsubscribes. I do not fear you, nor do I get my validation from you. I don’t care if this is unpopular or offensive. I’m here to speak the truth. Will you hear it?
This will not be a deluge into skullduggery, severity, and criticism, for those are already rampant in every corner of our foolish, deluded world. I will be your concierge in this dark shadowland and like the ferryman, I will take you to the other side if you will let me. While the journey may be unpleasant and the reading somewhat tedious, our healed soul, our true and integrated self, now a ready bride, will finally reunite with our Source, which we’ve always known was there, but we somehow lost the signal.
I hope you’ll join me.