What Is Our Responsibility To Sin, Or The People With Warm Blankets

I had to head to bed early last night as this is my first day at my new job! Therefore I didn’t get to finish commenting on yesterday’s blog – thanks for all your input I’ll try to catch up soon!

Christians have earned through hard knocks the distinct honor of being the fierce watchdogs of our society – barking, loudly, at any sign of sin or brokenness in the world. The church I grew up in featured weekly in-depth descriptions of all the bad things going on in the world, and lists were given of what (and who) was to be avoided. In his quest to avoid sin, it seems, the pastor dove head first into uncovering every single place it hid in our town, country and culture.

But I have to wonder – what is a Christian’s responsibility to sin? Is it our responsibility to call it out and make it known what it is? Is this what Jesus commissioned us to do?

If you’ve ever seen any rallies in support of homosexuals you’ve likely seen the group of Christians who believe it is their responsibility to tell the group of attendees that they are sinning. Though that’s on the more extreme side, it still tells us what we think our duty is – to call out sins of people who aren’t even Christians. To make them well aware that our God (and therefore by default, us as well) condemns what they do.

Is it our responsibility to call out sin, or is it for us to be there with open arms and warm blankets when sin has run it’s course?

This is nothing revolutionary – I think we have less a responsibility to condemn sin and more of an opportunity to offer rescue. Instead of being the grumpy, irritable people who always have an updated hit list we could be known for calling out the goodness and beauty we see in the world. We could be known for being the ones who are there to lift people from darkness to light. Unfortunately that’s not our reputation these days*.

It’s worth noting I’m not saying Christian never ever call sin a sin, butI  do think we could be a bit more selective. I also think it’s worth calling out injustices, but even then we call them out so that there can be redemption and restoration.

What do you think a Christian’s responsibility to sin is? Have you seen people take it upon themselves to condemn everything and anything (and anyone)?

*By no means should we do something simply for our reputation, however our reputation is very telling and it showcases how well we’re embodying Jesus in this world.

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6 Responses to What Is Our Responsibility To Sin, Or The People With Warm Blankets

  1. A lot of Christians feel the need to “stand up for God”.

    I don’t think that’s the need at all. God’s pretty darn capable of taking care of himself; he even gives us instruction to not stand up for ourselves, but that vengeance is “his”. (Kind of the Karmic approach to Christianity…)

    We are called to go and make disciples. As I mentioned on Brett’s blog yesterday – many people confuse “preaching” with Old Testament “prophets” and since they believe that God never changes (and He doesn’t) they assume that the things that the prophets of the OT did are things that Christians of the NT are still commanded to do. You know, warning the nation of sin, calling the nation to repent, etc.

    I genuinely don’t know how to respond to street preachers at gay pride parades. I deeply feel their desire to “do what’s right”. I know how the inside of that culture feels. They genuinely feel that they are doing the will of God, and who am I to challenge that? It’s a very personal thing, I think we all must admit. I am no more right to condemn them for what they do than I believe that they are to condemn the non-Christian homosexual for what he does. Interestingly enough, the simple fact that we’re “sitting here” discussing the actions of other Christians in the same “manner” that they discuss the actions of the abortionists and homosexuals is perhaps just as “wrong” as what the street preachers do.

    Or is it wrong at all? Is “calling out sin” really wrong, or does it just embarrass us? I’ll admit a strong tendency to be embarrassed by the street preachers. Most of them are clearly fundamentalists, and come from a culture of preaching “hellfire and brimstone”. They honestly believe that they can “undo” someones gayness by telling them that it will send them to hell. Most of these folk are thoroughly convinced that a simple trip to the altar and a dunking in the booth guarantees that Jesus will remove all temptation to ever sin in this fashion again, period. (While that’s severely mistaken theology and conviction, I always hesitate to attack deeply held convictions and beliefs, because I am, if nothing else, VERY sensitive to deeply held convictions and beliefs.)

    I feel sad for the pro-homosexual rallyists who see the street preacher as a sideshow, or even as an enemy, and I feel sad for the preacher who so badly wants these folk to come to Christ and see it his way. They genuinely mean no harm – some of them honestly care for the folk they preach to. What the rallyist doesn’t understand is that the preachers often speak to their own church and their own family – that they genuinely love very much – in the exact same fashion. They don’t understand the culture of “preaching” and they assume that the forceful delivery and loud voice equates to hate and anger, when that is genuinely not the case at all. The preacher believes that in order to obey God’s call on his life to “preach”, he must use that type of delivery, because he is, after all, a “preacher”. That means that God has given him a command and permission to shout loudly, with force, and to call out sin. That, to them, is “preaching the Gospel.” It’s a terrible misunderstanding, in my opinion, but can God still “do something with it”? I believe so, but that doesn’t mean it’s the approach I personally would use.

    To actually get around to answering your question, I believe that our responsibility to loudly and publicly “call out sin” is almost non-existent. Being strong in our convictions and ready to talk about them on a one to one basis, or in a teaching environment, to me, is the bigger part of “preaching the Gospel.” I despise the trickery of using sports, muscleman acts, rock and roll, or anything else, basically, to trick people into being a captive audience and then guilt tripping them into becoming Christians on your terms. I’ve been part of such, and may be again sometime – often we have to pick our battles with the people we associate with – but that doesn’t mean that I truly support the idea. However, I also admit that God can use a lot of things that I personally might not be happy with.

    • having troubles writing a blog? you could easily turn this comment into one! tons of great thoughts in here. I was struck that by questioning our responsibility to calling out sin I may have been, well, calling out sin. D’oh! I definitely appreciate your sensitivity to critiquing deeply held beliefs – we could all benefit from a healthy dose of such.

  2. David says:

    We don’t have too many sermons in the Bible (there is some teaching of Jesus) to look at, but there are a few. The best known one is Peter in Acts 2; he proclaims the Good News (v21). It had an impact (v37) and in the end he proclaimed that it was “a corrupt generation.” (v40)

    Paul preached a lot of sermons – we don’t have that many on record, but we can assume that they included topics from his letters to the churches. It didn’t always agree with people. Acts 17:13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up.

    I think the difference here is that the word of God was followed by power, and Paul went where God told him too. We can’t just set up shop and preach our pet theologies, but when God tells us to, we simply need to be obedient. Paul taught quite a bit about sin. Try on Galatians 5 for example.

    There is no boiler plate responsibility regarding sin. If God is having us preach like Peter, that is what we do regardless of the personal consequences. Other times he has us do stuff like feed the 5000. It is God’s call, and we need to be obedient.

    Without the power to back it up, not many are convinced.

    • “that is what we do regardless of the personal consequences” – such a huge point David. Truth be told much of what we do is out of extreme concern of the consequences – mostly personal ones. Though I’d say its worth trying to figure out the consequence, sometimes it’s just simply following faith that it’ll work or even less than that simply doing it.

  3. Larry Hughes says:

    Charlie: What do you think a Christian’s responsibility to sin is? Have you seen people take it upon themselves to condemn everything and anything (and anyone)?

    I think it is a Christian’s responsibilitiy to call out sin. However, I do think proper protocol is more effective rather than a hell fire and damnation sermon denouncing one that sins. I do see a lot of so called spiritual led Christians that go off on triages denouncing other as sinner not worthy of God’s grace. I call those people overtly judgemental,White washed tombs and hypocrites.NO wonder we get such a black eye in trying to bring others into the faith.

  4. I think how we call it out is just as important as anything. If you think we should call out sin that’s fine, I can understand your reasoning, I just think it needs to be done cautiously and as you say without hints of judgment. It needs to be done out of concern and with a hope and a hand offered, not simply a blanket declaration of guilt.

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