Monday, October 18, 2010
I do so because Craig holds a misunderstanding of my positions and so, this is my attempt to clarify. These comments were generally on the topic of grace and when ought we be more confronting of Christians with whom we disagree and when we should "live and let live" on disagreements.
This is not the first time I have seen Dan play the "what if someone doesn't know something is a sin" card.
No "card" intended to be played. Just a reasonable question. The question (in my understanding) is "What if we have researched a behavior, we've prayerfully and carefully sought God's will, reading the Bible, taking into consideration others' view points and tradition and being open to the leading of God, and, at the end of that, we have decided that this behavior is NOT sinful?
What, then, if we discover upon "Judgment Day" that this action actually WAS a sin? Are we doomed because we were sincerely mistaken on a sin?"
My position has been that we are saved by God's grace. If, therefore, we are mistaken on a point, then we are STILL saved by God's grace. If we "lose" our salvation by being mistaken about a sin, then it is not grace which saves us, but works.
So it seems to me to be an entirely reasonable question and, further, I believe I come down on the side of Christian orthodoxy. I don't believe you, Craig, come down against grace on this point, do you?
Well, one of the scriptures for this morning was from Ecclesiastes 12, where we find this.
"...Fear God and keep His commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man. "
My question is this, why would the prophet (who is presumably speaking for God) command people to do something that (if we accept Dan's premise) is impossible?
We OUGHT to strive to keep God's commandments, as best we understand them. BUT, we won't always perfectly understand everything.
Do you think, Craig, that the Bible teaches we will and do have a "perfect understanding" on each and every action/potential sin? That would seem to be an extraordinary position to hold.
How can we "keep His commandments", if there is doubt or ambiguity aver what those commandments are?
As best we can, by God's grace, right?
It does seem that God has made His commands pretty clear, and that we are called to obey them. I guess where it gets cloudy is when we interpose our interpretation (think Jewish law) over God's commands. I still don't think God would command us to do obey a command that cannot be discerned as in Dan's example.
We all do. Those things that we think we understand about God, we think are pretty clear. But from one person to the next, in the details, we don't always agree.
Dan has argued in the past that simply not knowing whether something is a sin is sufficient for one to not be accountable for the sin. I think most of the rest of us would disagree...
Dan has argued that when, due to our own human shortcomings, we don't always know the "sin nature" of each and every action and we sin unaware, that God's grace covers our lack of perfect understanding.
Is it the case that you think we will have perfect understanding?
Do you not think that God's grace covers our lack of perfect understanding?
Craig quoted me and continued...
"That's my point - we ALL have many many opinions about what is and isn't greedy, what is and isn't sexually appropriate, what is and isn't sin."
This isn't the best example of Dan's contention, but it makes my point. As long as our opinion of what is sin is the controlling factor then one can do what one wishes. Even if one has arrived at that position by study of scripture and prayer. My counter to that would be God defines sin, and God will judge us based on His definition, not ours. So even if we "don't know" that lying is a sin, we still sin when we lie.
1. ? Our opinion of what is sin IS the controlling factor (for us) in what we do. IF we study, pray and contemplate over an action and prayerfully/carefully reach the conclusion that X is a sin, that dictates to us (in our better moments) how we should behave.
If our opinion isn't the controlling factor in how you behave, what is?
2. Before you say, "The Bible," first acknowledge that if you read a passage and reach THE OPINION that it condemns behavior X, you are still talking about your opinion of biblical teaching. Yes, yes, God is who we believers look to in order to try to find God's will, but we ultimately are relying upon our opinions, our thoughts about what is and isn't right.
3. I don't know that that's the best way to put it, "God defines sin." Sin is. It's that which breaks relationships, it's the missing of the mark, it's the rejection of God's way in favor of our way. But perhaps that's just semantics.
4. Yes, yes, of course if we lie without knowing that lying is a sin, it remains a sin. I never said otherwise.
All I have said is that IF we sin in ignorance, then God's grace covers our ignorance.
Do you disagree?