Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sin obsessed. . .

In my cursory perusing of some blogs, I came across one where the complaint was made against proponents of the Latin Mass that, among other things, they are sin-obsessed.  Curious.  That is certainly not something that would be said about the typical Novus Ordo.  It seems, if not in words then in practice, to be obsessed with making common what is extraordinary and rendering casual what is solemn and formal.  The reality is that there is really very little talk about sin anywhere anymore -- not in Roman parishes, certainly not in Anglican ones, and hardly at all in Protestant Churches.  In fact, you just might have to visit a congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod to hear some sin-obsessed talk from the pulpit.  Indeed, that is often the complaint I get from those visitors who come from liberal and progressive congregations (whatever stripe they might be).  There is too much talk about sin and forgiveness.  Oh, well.

It would seem that you could turn the Scriptures into a small pocket booklet simply by removing all references to sin and forgiveness.  You may or may not be happy with the content you had left after such a editorial task but it is clear God would not be happy.  He was the One who put all that talk about sin and forgiveness into His Word -- unless you subscribe to the notion that the holy men of God wrote their own material, from their own perspectives, and did not write any Spirit breathed content into the Scriptures.  Some do, oddly enough.  But if you are going to ignore all the talk about sin and forgiveness in the Scriptures, you may just as well remove all that talk about inspiration as well.

The strange thing is not that Scripture speaks so often about sin and forgiveness or that the only way the cross is anything but a tragedy of an innocent dying for no reason is sin and forgiveness -- the strange thing is that it is so easy for some to overlook, skip over, edit out, and silence.  How odd that we would spend so much energy and time into editing out what God has written so clearly!  But that is what we do.  The Christian uncomfortable with all that the Bible says about sin and forgiveness will certainly be just as unhappy with the classic mass or Divine Service.  It begins with sin and forgiveness and the only reason it has anything to offer is because the gift of the Word and the Body and Blood is sin forgiven.  

No, if it offends your sensibilities to talk about sin and forgiveness (except corporate sin or the sin of failing to be true to self), then Christianity has little to offer.  It positively stinks as a self-help religion of how to be good.  That pesky law keeps pointing out flaws in our character and failings in our discipline until either the law goes or we do.  It seems that for most, the law has disappeared and with it all that cranky old content about original and actual sin and personal accountability and culpability and the God who became His people's Savior -- even at the cost of His own body in suffering on the cross and laying dead in the tomb.  No, try as you like, it is a religious failure to try and carve out a Christianity without the cross, without sin, and without forgiveness.  But that's okay, you can keep trying.  I wish I could say God is laughing but He has no sense of humor when it comes to sin and its consequences.

1 comment:

Janis Williams said...

We are missing the point. Obsessing about sin removes the focus on forgiveness. Feeling bad about our sins is right, but stopping there without realizing forgiveness, life and salvation are offered upon our confession/repentance hamstrings the Gospel.