Sin 6: False Views of Sin

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 22, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Wherever God goes to showcase the weight of sin and the price of sin, the enemy comes along to corrupt it and to diminish the weight and the severity of sin. In this post, I’m going to address several of the ways that the doctrine of sin is being diminished in our culture today.

The most common way I have seen sin being diminished in many evangelical churches is to not call “sin” to be rebellious treason against God, but merely “mistakes” or “imperfections.” This notion treats sin as an “oops,” not as treason against a thrice-holy God. This approach does not describe sin as what it is but rather treats it as, “We just aren’t perfect, but we mean well.” It’s a very common trend; the idea is to soften the sting so that people will receive the message without being so readily offended. But this is not the Gospel. Jesus did not come to die because some of us are “imperfect.” He died for something far more serious than that. I brought this up when Hugh Ross took this approach in his One-Minute Gospel presentation. A defender of Hugh Ross told me I was just being petty on definitions, though in another discussion, this same person said that definitions matter in defense of his position. I don’t care if you use the specific words I am using or not; I care about the image and message being given, because God does, too. If we are sloppy with our wording, we are being sloppy with our duty as God’s ambassadors here on earth and that is not something we want to be doing.

The Prosperity Gospel preachers rarely use the word “sin” in any of their messages. Joel Osteen is infamous for never preaching against sin, and he even boasts about not preaching against sin. But anytime he does mention sin, it is never in a Biblical context of violation of God’s commands. Rather, sin is viewed as a mere “blocking of your blessings” that God intends to give you. This is selfishness. It proclaims that God is merely a means to an end – an end to serving self. Sin does not “block you from your blessings” as a primary. That’s only a side effect. The primary issue is much deeper – it separates you from God.

The “Progressive Christian” movement has gone as far as describing the sinful nature as mere “misguidance” and that it may damage our relationship with God but doesn’t actually sever our relationship. Many of these speakers even go on to say that we have inherent “goodness” or “deity” within ourselves. This is a Gnostic teaching resurfacing that teaches that even though we are corrupted, we still have an inherent “divine spark” as part of our being. As a result, sin is reduced to mere moral deeds, but never vertical against God. This is blasphemy because it puts man on the level of God. It is the root of the “little gods” doctrine that we see very frequently among the Word of Faith teachings.

Matthew Vines, who I wrote about several years ago, and many LGBT+ “Christians” attempt to justify sexual sin (namely homosexuality) by making it part of their nature, that they were born that way. This again takes the responsibility off the person for their lusts and puts it on God for making them that way. The severity of this teaching is too much to unpack here, but to put it simply, they are accusing God of being an immoral monster Himself in an attempt to justify themselves. It is all about trying to justify sin while claiming a spot in the Christian community. Jude warns against such people as those who take the grace of God for a license to sin.

A cult name that I did not learn about until very recently is the Sandemanians. While the name will not be familiar to most, the teachings they give should be. When my pastor was alerted to them, he realized how dangerously close my church was to going in that direction. I, too, recognized the symptoms of these teachings in those around me and in myself. The Sandemanians completely disavowed any emotional connection to salvation and the Gospel, and they taught that the whole thing is only intellectual, giving little more than mental ascent. While there MUST be the intellectual aspect, there is a tendency to diminish the weight of sin because it’s merely treated as “theoretical” and “out there,” but when this line of thought is carried out, it diminishes our understanding of the weight of sin. We will not take the issue of sin seriously when it is just intellectual and hypothetical. There has to be an emotional component to this that will make us want to do something about it.

A final one I’ll deal with here is a total denial of sin. This is similar to the one the Progressive Christians used above. In the latter case, the Progressive Christians do acknowledge there is a thing called “sin” and that the world is actually broken. They diminish it, just call it “corruption” or “misguidance,” but they do acknowledge to some degree that it is there. But some people flat out teach that man is good and that people are not broken.

During spring break, I went to the Shepherds’ Conference. When we had time to kill the day we arrived, my group decided to visit the Walk of Hollywood. Unlike the videos I have seen of these very famous blocks, all I could see was total depravity. I saw the idolatry of man and even beyond that, I saw and smelled the decadence of drunkenness, drugs, and all sorts of stores you’d expect in a “red light district.” My spirit was provoked. But in our walk, we passed by two buildings of the Christian Scientologists (the cult that Tom Cruise is part of). A friend of mine began to witness to one of them as they passed out fliers. In the discussion, this young man, who was from Ukraine, shared how every road leads to God, there is no need for “salvation” because people are not broken, etc. His thinking was totally post-modernist. He couldn’t even process the Russian invasion of Ukraine as being evidence of the world being broken. He could not see his sin, let alone general sin.

Let me be clear: man in his sinful, unregenerate self loves sin and despises anyone pointing out that they are wrong. And even for those of who are saved, we all have some of the sinful, old self that simply isn’t dying away anytime soon. Some of you may say, “You don’t know my heart.” My response to that is: “Actually I do know your heart. It’s the same as mine: deceitful, wicked, and hopelessly perverted.” That’s not me speaking; that’s God through the prophet Jeremiah. It is so wicked that only God understands how utterly depraved it is. We don’t understand our own hearts. I don’t have any special insight; I’m only declaring what God said, and He DOES know your heart and it’s not a good report. So, no matter what circle you are in, no one is immune to attempting to diminish and marginalize the weight of sin. And when you mess with the nature of sin as the teachings I exposed here do, you mess with the consequences of sin, and that changes the solution to sin. We’ll explore that more next week.

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