Southern Baptists, at least according to the Baptist Faith and Message, don’t believe in Sin. At least they don’t believe in the devastating event that destroyed our relationship with God. We have a long tradition of preaching against sin, fighting against sinful activities and have even been active in government to support legislation against activities which we consider to be particularly malignant. And yet could it be that we don’t actually believe that the things against which we have taken up arms are all that bad? If we haven’t been preaching against sin what exactly have we been getting all worked up about?
I asked a similar question to part of my home church once, including the pastor. It was a simple question. What’s the difference between Sin and sin? I wrote it on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper eight times, photocopied it a few times, and cut up the slips of paper. That gave me ~32 chances, more or less, to get a decent answer from my Adult Sunday School Class. Adults now, not kids, grownup people raising children and working and voting. Here’s the profile: married, a few elementary school aged kids, some older some younger, middle class, several had been in church their entire lives, one or two were deacons, one Sunday school teacher. What I got, if memory serves, was more or less as follows:
~5 slips found on the floor
15 blank stares
5 “Well, sin is you know, a sin. Like something you do that’s wrong, you know?
1 “Sin” would be like original sin right? Like we’re all sinners?
1 We don’t really have time to get into that but yeah original sin, yeah…
I was pretty speechless too.
The point is that its pretty obvious that, a. a great number of members of our churches don’t have the faintest idea what they are talking about when it comes to the idea of sin and b. because of this they aren’t getting ticked off about a broken relationship they’re upset about some sort of moral decay based upon man’s ability to choose. This error works its way into everything we do and say as Southern Baptists. Some of the problems that could be related to this are:
Lack of a pursuit of personal sanctification
Acceptance of backsliding/carnality
Lack of Church discipline
Moral outrage and the 2005 alcohol resolution (and Condi at the convention)
More Baptisms not accountability in the area of church membership
Emotion driven worship
Other errors and poor doctrinal choices
Wide open backdoor
And probably some others that I haven’t been able to see clearly enough through the dogma haze to write down.
If you’re reading this and you’re a Southern Baptist you may not agree with this. In fact it may just plain tick you off. The truth of the matter is that I’m not too happy about it either. I’ve been a Southern Baptist since before I knew there was any other thing to be. It’s hard for me to think around these things at all because they are all so deeply ingrained.
That’s fine. Be angry, but don’t sin…put that anger to good use. Start studying and see if this is right. Correct me and we’ll both be better off for it.