The New Christians

The New Christians


Original Sin: A Depraved Idea

posted by Tony Jones
The Original Sin Series
Intro-Intuition-Definition-Genesis-Jesus-Paul-Augustine-Calvin-Conclusion

sin.jpgWhen I was growing up in a moderate, centrist church — somewhere between mainline Christianity and evangelicalism — Original Sin was a given.  I first learned about it in youth group, and we regularly talked about it.  Actually, it’s more accurate to say that we talked about a life with Christ, and the notion of Original Sin was in the background.  It was assumed.  And I cannot remember that it was ever debated.

In other words, I assumed that the doctrine of Original Sin was a biblical notion, and that all Christians accepted it as gospel truth.  Of course, neither is true.

In college, Original Sin was also assumed by the Campus Crusaders and Navigators who ministered to me, as well as in the little bible church that I attended.  In fact, here’s a telling section from that church’s current web page on doctrine:

Man (Anthropology)

Man was created in the image of God to enjoy friendship with Him (
Genesis 1:26). Man sinned and his fellowship with God was broken (
Genesis 3). Man is now deceitful and desperately wicked (
Jeremiah 17:9).
He has the capacity for all sin and lives his life independent of his
Creator. In his natural rebellious state, his destiny is to spend
eternity totally separated from God in the lake of fire prepared for
the devil and his angels (
II Thessalonians 1:8;
Revelation 20:11-15).

But, while in college, I also took at class on the theology of Augustine from an eccentric professor, Charles Stinson, and therein I learned that the great father of Western theology was the author of the doctrine of Original Sin.  Of course, Augustine was not making it up ex novo, but was taking as his inspiration the account of creation in Genesis 3 and certain Pauline texts.

In seminary, I learned from John Thompson that John Calvin and his theological heirs reified the notion of Original Sin and that it hadn’t played much of a role in medieval and Scholastic theology.

And sometime later, I discovered that whole branches of the Christian family tree — most notably, the Orthodox Church — has never embraced Original Sin.

I have come to reject the notion of Original SinI consider it neither biblically, philosophically, nor scientifically tenable.  And I’m going to spend this week blogging about why I’ve rejected it.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts…

(HT: Richard Beck for inspiring me.)



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Virgil Vaduva

posted January 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm


Just when your blog tends to get a bit boring for me, you never fail to get my attention…go Tony go!! :)



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Liz

posted January 26, 2009 at 4:05 pm


I’ve been wondering about this myself since I am trying to examine all the “stuff” I have “believed” because “someone” told me it was “true”. I look forward to the conversation.



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Ray

posted January 26, 2009 at 4:08 pm


pelagians — unite!
Almost 1600 years later, Pelagius gets his day on twitted!



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Myles

posted January 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm


Hmmm…first, this isn’t unique to Augustine. Creation as imperfect, even if you’re looking at extra-biblical stuff, can be found in Irenaues, Origen, Athanasius, etc. ALL of whom predate Augustine. So, just on historical grounds, it’s fallacious to think that Augustine came up with it. It has a longer history than just the West. For the Eastern writers, ‘original sin’ is a condition that persists as part of humanity, that 1) we are less than God and fallible, wrought with passions that are easily turned away from God, and 2) God is the source of all truth and light and the only way of perfection of the natural state.
In other words, 1) there’s more to counter than Augustine in speaking of original sin, and 2) ‘original sin’ is the way to talk about the distinction between God and humanity, while still affirming creation as good and people as directed towards God in Christ. Pin this on the ‘moderates’ or ‘fundamentalists’ if you want, but that’s just a really truncated, ungenerous version of Christian history.



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Your Name

posted January 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm


This is great, but what about the long promised, much hyped Same Sex dialog. I really want in my heart to beleive in SSM adn look forwrad to your discussion. Has your dialog partner moved on or is there some otehr reason for the delay.



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Paul

posted January 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm


You have made a god out of how many biblical doctrines you can reject. All die in Adam just like the authoritative, inerrant Holy Scriptures teach.



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Doug Pagitt

posted January 26, 2009 at 4:53 pm


I know a book that is great on this subject – A Christianity Worth Believing



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Jeff Toobin

posted January 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm


The Wikipedia article has helpful info. Most people misunderstand what exactly Original Sin is and what it is not.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings. Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”. As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”). Catechism of the Catholic Church, 416-418
Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that in “yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state … original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed”—a state and not an act” (404). This “state of deprivation of the original holiness and justice … transmitted to the descendants of Adam along with human nature” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 76) involves no personal responsibility or personal guilt on their part (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 405).
Personal responsibility and guilt were Adam’s, who because of his sin, was unable to pass on to his descendants a human nature with the holiness with which it would otherwise have been endowed, in this way implicating them in his sin.
Though Adam’s sinful act is not the responsibility of his descendants, the state of human nature that has resulted from that sinful act has consequences that plague them: “Human nature, without being entirely corrupted, has been harmed in its natural powers, is subject to ignorance, suffering and the power of death, and has a tendency to sin. This tendency is called concupiscence” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 77), but is distinct from original sin itself, since it remains even when original sin is remitted.



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Makeesha

posted January 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm


lol @ doug.
I look forward to this Tony. I too have come to reject the “traditionally held” notion of original sin.



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Evan

posted January 26, 2009 at 5:45 pm


Tony,
I’m not sure I can go here with you, but I think you do make some good points. The only thing is that we often use church history to promote our purposes (perhaps such as this?), but we ignore it in other areas. It would be interesting to hear your take on how tradition interacts with Scripture and our personal beliefs.
I look forward to your future posts on the subject of “original sin.”



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david

posted January 26, 2009 at 5:53 pm


awesome stuff. i’ve often recently wondered why sin can’t exist without this thing called original sin.. which seems to only make sense in a literal reading of the creation poem.
looking forward to this.



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brian

posted January 26, 2009 at 6:07 pm


Tony you should make up your own religion, officially; since you hold zero esteem for the bible.
Cheers!



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Larry

posted January 26, 2009 at 6:35 pm


Brian, original sin isn’t in the Bible, it is a human concept that attempts to explain what the Bible teaches. This doesn’t mean that the idea is wrong, but it is a human interpretation, and subject to all that implies.



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Patrick Marshall

posted January 26, 2009 at 6:53 pm


It might be helpful to say that there is no DOCTRINE of original sin in scripture, just as there is no DOCTRINE of the Trinity there, either. From what I know of Paul, it seems that he definitely had a notion of original sin at work in the world. It should be noted, though, that Paul’s idea and the texts where he sets it forth are VASTLY different from Augustine’s (and others’) idea of it. I totally reject the notion of original sin as put forth by Augustine, particularly as he suggests that sin is passed down through the act of intercourse. Paul never suggested such a thing. It’s striking to me that, when you really get in and read his letters, Paul’s view of humanity is positive, while Augustine’s is overwhelmingly negative.
Just because we deny a classical, theological notion of “original sin” DOES NOT mean that we deny sin (or even that human beings are sinful). It just means (in my mind) that we deny sin as an “inherited condition” rather than a condition that results from words/thoughts/actions that get in the way of God’s intentions for us.
I’m looking forward to hearing more, Tony.



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Joel

posted January 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm


Some form of Original Sin is a Biblical concept though. What Roman Catholics, Calvinists, or Evangelicals teach about it is all different, but it all comes down to one basic premise: Humans are inherently sinful from conception. Now, how this concept of being inherently sinful works is up for debate, but the Bible is quite clear that none of us are born free from an inherent desire to sin (or without sin).
I agree with Brian on this one. Even the Eastern Orthodox view has a type of view of Original Sin (though they deny that a child is guilty of sin, they admit that a child is born with an “addiction” to sin and is inherently sinful). It seems with all that is being denied by the EC proponents, it might as well be a new religion.



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Patrick Marshall

posted January 26, 2009 at 6:56 pm


It might be helpful to say that there is no DOCTRINE of original sin in scripture, just as there is no DOCTRINE of the Trinity there, either. From what I know of Paul, it seems that he definitely had a notion of original sin at work in the world. It should be noted, though, that Paul’s idea and the texts where he sets it forth are VASTLY different from Augustine’s (and others’) idea of it. I totally reject the notion of original sin as put forth by Augustine, particularly as he suggests that sin is passed down through the act of intercourse. Paul never suggested such a thing. It’s striking to me that, when you really get in and read his letters, Paul’s view of humanity is positive, while Augustine’s is overwhelmingly negative.
Just because we deny a classical, theological notion of “original sin” DOES NOT mean that we deny sin (or even that human beings are sinful). It just means (in my mind) that we deny sin as an “inherited condition” rather than a condition that results from words/thoughts/actions that get in the way of God’s intentions for us.
I’m looking forward to hearing more, Tony.



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Virgil Vaduva

posted January 26, 2009 at 7:23 pm


There is very little that is “traditional” about the doctrine of original sin, until we get to Augustine and his revivalist Calvin to promote the doctrine. Again, numbers do not necessarily bring validity and objectivity to an issue, in fact the opposite is probably true.
What if instead we consider the covenantal aspect of creation, and look at the imagery presented in the narrative? Order is created out of chaos, life out of death, purpose out of purposeless existence. The story is presenting Eden as the place where “God is” and the outside as the mythical place of chaos, danger, thorns and “no God.”
In this mythical covenantal context one would be hard pressed to show that something went physically wrong with the bodies of Adam and Eve when they sinned; can we justify this biblically?
Could the story of the fall be illustrative of life without God, which brings thorns, distress and pain to one’s life. The idea that the first (original) sin brought about physical pain, and thorns is simply unreasonable. Are we to understand that pre-sin Adam could have jumped off a cliff and not go splash when he hit the ground; or not even feel pain?



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Blake Huggins

posted January 26, 2009 at 8:27 pm


I’ll be looking forward to this too as I’ve recently come to reject the idea as well. First, I find out that the Eastern church, like you mention, as never signed on with it. Then, to top it off, I discover that John Wesley — the “founder” of my own tradition — took his cue almost predominately from those in the East, namely the Cappadocian Fathers, in this respect.
It was always tacit in the church I grew up in. And anytime it was questioned we were told that it was in the bible. Which is, of course, untrue.
Anyway, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
(Oh, and if Doug is “listening” — I read your book over the weekend. Good stuff. It resonated well with me.)



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Alan

posted January 26, 2009 at 9:37 pm


I’m a conservative, evangelical who believes in the inerrancy of the Bible, and I fully deny the western, Augustinian notion of Original Sin. But, there has been, in all orthodox understandings of Christianity, a belief in the fallenness of man.
For me, I couldn’t hold to the doctrine of Christ’s full humanity while affirming that all human beings inherit a guilty, sinful nature from Adam and Eve. If all humans inherit a guilty, sinful nature, and Christ was fully human, then Christ, too, must have a guilty, sinful nature. This, obviously, presents a problem when we speak of Christ’s sinlessness. Augustine posited that the virgin birth solves this problem, as the father passes on the sinful nature. But that still makes Christ’s humanity different than ours, and the notion is entirely unfounded biblically.
Secondly, another problem Augustine had to deal with in talking about inherited sinfulness and guilt, was what to do with infants and small children. He posited limbo or purgatory. Again, but unfounded biblically. Evangelicals put forth the notion of an “age of accountability.” Again, unfounded biblically. And, what kind of sense does it make that people are born sinful but saved, then God takes His grace away when you’re old enough to think for yourself, then gives it back if you say the magic prayer. Affirming fallenness and corruption means that we inherit a weak human nature, but it’s our own sins that condemn us and make us guilty.
The problem is trying to explain this to other people without being accused of being Pelagian. Dealing with the biblical texts is simple, but trying to help others understand why you’re not actually a heretic for believing Augustine might have been wrong, making the Reformers wrong when they bought his ideas (on grace) hook, line and sinker, and that evangelicals are wrong for receiving that tradition as well….well, that’s a little more complicated.



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priest

posted January 26, 2009 at 10:34 pm


Gotta say I love and appreciate Richard Beck’s work. While in seminary at Abilene Christianity University’s Grad School of Theology, I was getting some of the best theology from a psych prof who was blogging across campus!
Ah, when will we have an interdisciplinary model of theological training. Nah, let’s keep it tidy and compartmentalized. Thanks be to the ATS…
On a different note, i’m now engaged to that blonde-headed chic that sang harmony with us in Birmingham :)



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Dave

posted January 26, 2009 at 10:57 pm


Just a big thanks, Tony, for showing us the errant theology of the apostate last days church.



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Tony Hunt

posted January 26, 2009 at 11:14 pm


Is it just me or are there more conservatives here than there used to be? Ken Silva are you sending them all over here?



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John

posted January 26, 2009 at 11:21 pm


An old saying about not tearing down fences comes to mind…
So this is where the conversation is headed? Granted, the idea of Original Sin arose out of a particular historical context and is at odds with your reading of the Bible, philosophy, science, etc. I’ll even concede that you make a valid point. What I’m concerned with is your outright rejection of the idea — it simply doesn’t sound like generative friendship to me. Even those at the banqueting table who disagree with Original Sin (or any other doctrinal position for that matter) can do so without being disagreeable, and without injecting a fundamentalism that gets in the way of learning from our debate partners.
I know that this is generally how the pendulum swings: we cut down the limbs we once stood on to get a vantage point on reality. I can’t fault you for knocking down beehives: it makes for great comment threads. My only suggestion is that you would retain some of the epistemological generosity that drew so many into your readership in the first place.



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Jeff Toobin

posted January 26, 2009 at 11:24 pm


Eastern and Western Catholics have the same doctrine, only using different words.
Before you all get your panties up in a wad, take a breath, and make sure you understand what Original Sin is and isn’t before you make up your minds.
Original Sin is simply a deprivation of a supernatural holiness and perfect grace which God intended humans to possess, and which was characteristic in the first humans. This perfect nature was something present in the beginning, but the willful disobedience of the first parents devolved or degraded the human race spiritually and intellectually away from natural godliness. The human condition as we know it today lacks an inborn natural godliness and holiness of inclination. We are all inclined to commit wrong acts that harm. Why should anyone have this inclination to evil at all, we might ask? And yet we all have it. The explanation for this real phenomenon is given under the doctrine, “Original Sin.” It is self-evident that this ungodly inclination exists in mankind. Basic reason leads us to see that sin has marred our nature as a race designed for perfect holiness and grace.



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Kenton

posted January 26, 2009 at 11:57 pm


Lots of good thoughts in the comments. I don’t know, but it seems to me that by bold facing your thesis statement that your more excited about picking the fight than you are about engaging in constructive dialog.
I guess I would reject the concept of Original Sin as VBC defines it there, but I would say it’s close: redact the last sentence, change a few words to soften the tone, and I probably can buy into it. Is that essentially what the Eastern church has done? (My knowledge of these things is shaky.) So we’re quibbling over some minor details. Frame it that way and we can disagree without (sorry I was about to contribute to the overuse of a cliche.)
So I’m sure you can anticipate the scriptures your critics are going to use as proof texts against you. Maybe you can share how you read them as you go along?



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Keith Willson

posted January 26, 2009 at 11:59 pm


I haven’t heard any arguments with authority so I would assume that biblical arguments are coming in future posts for your position.
Some questions:
So do you think that anyone died through Adam’s sin? How can anyone become alive in Christ?
How can the bible declare that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God if there is no original sin? Do people personally sin as soon as they are conceived.
If the wages of sin is death, why aren’t aborted babies (without original sin) resurrecting in the trash cans 3 days later?
If Christ is the second Adam and many are counted righteous because of His act of righteousness, then why aren’t many counted wicked by Adam’s sin?
If many die because of their own sins (as someone denying original sin would hold), then many must be made righteous by their own act of righteousness, see Romans 5. But this is not orthodox. We are justified by faith, and not by works, lest any man boast.
If you deny original sin and federal headship, I am afraid that you lose the gospel. I am not sure you want to lose the Good News, do you Tony? Prove me wrong using scripture and logic, and I will believe you. I don’t care what Augustine said.



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Jason

posted January 27, 2009 at 12:28 am


“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”–Abraham Lincoln



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brian

posted January 27, 2009 at 12:43 am


Keith?!?!?!
Your using “the bible” which emergent folks frown on. Come on now. Those questions won’t be answered.



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Scott M

posted January 27, 2009 at 5:41 am


Tony is correct here. Augustine mostly based the doctrine of original sin on the philosophical idea of ‘seminal reasons’. He actually used only five texts from Holy Scripture, two of which had been essentially mistranslated into the Latin text he read and the other had … questionable exegesis. He was also fairly unique in the first thousand years of Church history in this idea — never a good sign. The Orthodox view of ancestral sin is very different. They have no concept of inherited guilt.
I came into Christianity from a pretty different background and I never bought this idea of original sin. The arguments struck me as pretty obviously weak. And frankly I wasn’t interested in any doctrine that leads to a ‘problem’ about the state of infants who die. However, since it seemed like a pretty universal idea, I mostly kept my mouth shut. It was a tremendous relief to me to discover, after more than a decade as a Christian, that the whole idea is simply a Western rabbit trail that the entire Eastern Church never followed.
As far as what some did in the Reformation in the idea of ‘total depravity’? I’ve always been with C.S. Lewis on that one.



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phil_style

posted January 27, 2009 at 6:05 am


My main problem with the “Original Sin” (in the Augustinian sense), “original sin” in the Genesis/Paul sense or even the “sin of origin” (ala Murphy) is the Pauline argument that prior to this “sin” no humans had ever experienced physical death.
This is a massively tough one to swallow. Paul really does seem to think (Romans) that death in humans is solely the result of the sin of the very first two persons. This means that historical death in our species didn’t exist at a time in history, and then, after a specific event it did exist. This seems to fly in the face of all the human and primate skeletal remains that can be found all over the planet. Although I’m not sure that Paul’s treatment of the Genesis account is particularly accurate – he seems to insist that Adam, not Eve was first to sin.
I think there’s so much linguistic baggage associated with the word “sin” that I’ve always had trouble trying to work out what Genesis was saying, and then Paul in Romans. Is sin equated with moral failing? What moral standard applied to Adam and Eve then? As far as I can tell they had been given no moral law, only 2 commands regarding their diet.
Is sin then relative to knowledge? We cannot sin without knowledge (tree of knowledge?)…
Or is knowledge and responsibility tied together. i.e. the more knowledge we gain, the more we are held to account. This eating from the “tree of knowledge” makes us culpable for our actions?
Is sin equated with disobedience, simply deciding to act against divine command? Doesn’t this put us in the position of Euthyphro?
Is “sin” held against who is one under the law or does the law get held against one who is ignorant of the law? (once again, Paul’s arguments in Romans confuse me on this issue. He seems to insist that death is the result of sin, and that without the law there is no sin, yet he still says that death reigned when there was no law. . . is this because of Adam’s (Eve’s) sin?)
The problem with this whole doctrine for me is the role of death. Orthodox historical Christianity seem to me (correct me if I am wrong) that death (at least in humans) is only a result of humans own actions. I pin most of the responsibility on this “doctrine of death” on Paul, in Romans. So much so, that I might (shock, horror) say I disagree with Paul on this issue. Without the “doctrine of death” does the whole house fall over? . .. . .



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Aaron

posted January 27, 2009 at 8:10 am


Mr.Jones if you dont believe in Original Sin look at The Bible start with The Book of Romans. The Bible clearelly teachs Orginal sin look at Ephesians 2:1-3, Job 15:14,
Jeremiah 17:9,Ecclesiastes 9:3, Psalm 51:5, Genesis 8:21, and Proverbs 22:15. Also death is a proof for Orginal sin everbody is going to die this is another proof of Orginal sin in cocnlsoun repnt of your heresy and trust in the real Jesus not the one ypou havce created.



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phil_style

posted January 27, 2009 at 8:15 am


Aaron, death is not “proof” of Original Sin. Death is proof of death.



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Jeff Toobin

posted January 27, 2009 at 8:31 am


Scott M,
The doctrine of Original Sin doesn’t involve “inherited guilt,” so you’re arguing against a straw man. The Catholic Catechism says that the state of deprivation of the original holiness and justice transmitted to the descendants of Adam along with human nature involves no personal responsibility or personal guilt on their part.
You’re arguing against nothing but your own misconceptions. As I have said, the Eastern Orthodox Catholics and the Western Catholics have the same doctrine, but they are described using different terms.
Personal responsibility and guilt were Adam’s, who because of his sin, was unable to pass on to his descendants a human nature with the holiness with which it would otherwise have been endowed, in this way implicating them in his sin.
Though Adam’s sinful act is not the responsibility of his descendants, the state of human nature that has resulted from that sinful act has consequences that plague them: “Human nature, without being entirely corrupted, has been harmed in its natural powers, is subject to ignorance, suffering and the power of death, and has a tendency to sin. This tendency is called concupiscence” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 77)



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Scott M

posted January 27, 2009 at 9:16 am


Jeff, I’ve read the Roman Catholic Catechism (and have a number of Roman Catholic family members). I also have a few Orthodox friends and have read extensively over the last few years what the Orthodox say.
You’re wrong.
That’s really all I can say. You do not correctly characterize the perspective of the Orthodox the way they characterize it.



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Jeff Toobin

posted January 27, 2009 at 9:56 am


Scott M,
You are wrong about “inherited guilt.” Humans are not born with the guilt of Adam’s sin, according to the doctrine of Original Sin.
Rather, Adam’s fault had the consequence of devolving the race in a way that human nature is now altered from its original design and thus needs to receive grace again through Christ to be restored. This altered human nature is expressed via its inclination towards moral weakness and the tendency to sin against God and men–i.e., concupiscence. This weakened condition leads to the real and personal sins we later commit as soon as we have faculties of will and action, and no human since Adam has escaped this weakened human nature.
In practical terms, Adam altered the perfect holiness of humankind that must be restored via the infusion of Christ’s grace back into us.
“Original Sin” does not teach that any baby is guilty of active sins or even Adam’s disobedient act in the garden.
Please do not argue straw men.



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Jeff Toobin

posted January 27, 2009 at 10:14 am


Catholic Encyclopedia:
It is not true that the doctrine of original sin does not appear in the works of the pre-Augustinian Fathers. On the contrary, their testimony is found in special works on the subject. Nor can it be said, as Harnack maintains, that St. Augustine himself acknowledges the absence of this doctrine in the writings of the Fathers. St. Augustine invokes the testimony of eleven Fathers, Greek as well as Latin (Contra Jul., II, x, 33). Baseless also is the assertion that before St. Augustine this doctrine was unknown to the Jews and to the Christians; as we have already shown, it was taught by St. Paul. It is found in the fourth Book of Esdras, a work written by a Jew in the first century after Christ and widely read by the Christians. This book represents Adam as the author of the fall of the human race (vii, 48), as having transmitted to all his posterity the permanent infirmity, the malignity, the bad seed of sin (iii, 21, 22; iv, 30). Protestants themselves admit the doctrine of original sin in this book and others of the same period (see Sanday, “The International Critical Commentary: Romans”, 134, 137; Hastings, “A Dictionary of the Bible”, I, 841). It is therefore impossible to make St. Augustine, who is of a much later date, the inventor of original sin.



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Scott M

posted January 27, 2009 at 10:14 am


There are many ways in which this peculiarly Western variation of Christian belief distorts the faith. I mentioned one, the fate of infants who die, because that’s something I immediately noticed when I began turning to Christianity. It’s something that matters deeply to me. While the Roman Catholic Church has moved away from limbo, this is still a theological issue. That is also true in most forms of Protestantism. Each tradition may have its own way of ‘dealing’ with this problem (the SBC, for instance, simply declares it not to be a problem out of the blue), but it is a problem. That is not the case and has never been the case in Orthodoxy.
But it strikes much deeper, into the nature of the Incarnation itself. And you see this borne out in Western theology. You see, if we all have and are guilty through this inherited nature, how was it Jesus didn’t inherit this ‘sin nature’? Roman Catholics take it back a generation and came up with the Immaculate Conception of Mary. God shielded Mary from inheriting this nature so she could provide the perfect womb for Christ. Some strains of Protestantism stick more closely to a more literal ‘seminal reasons’ line of thought and tie it to the semen of the father. They all are trying to address a problem the Orthodox have never had.
Further, it’s a ‘problem’ that strikes to the heart of our salvation. For if I have this inherited ‘sin nature’ and Jesus did not, then he and I are not of the same nature. It renders moot the promise of Scripture that Jesus fully experienced all that I experience, was tempted in every way, yet did not sin. Moreover, as Athanasius aptly put it, that which is not assumed is not healed. If Jesus was of a different nature than me, I’m still right where I was.
Fortunately, that is not what Holy Scripture and the Church teach. Rather, Jesus was fully human in every way that we are human, he inherited all the forces that inevitably lead us to sin, yet did not sin. In him, fully human in every way and fully divine, we have true hope. He is not someone behind whom we hide from God. Rather, we follow him and through his grace and the power of the Spirit, we are able to become like him. We are truly saved in the deepest sense of the word. But for that to be true, it is critical that Jesus’ human nature truly be the same nature with which we are born — not something different.
And this continues to play out in the way we then view God, especially in our eschatology. Here, I deeply appreciate the exchange N.T. Wright describes have with an Orthodox Archimandrite in the Sistene Chapel. The Orthodox priest pointed to the scenes on the left depicting aspects of Jesus life and said, “These I understand.” Then he pointed to the scenes on the right depicting Moses and the Law and said, “These I also understand.” Then he pointed to the judgment scene behind the altar and said, “This I do not understand.”
The distorted way the doctrine of ‘original sin’ has led many to view the human being has in turn distorted the way they view God, the way they understand the problem, and the ultimate destination toward which we are all journeying. It’s a fundamental Western distortion that sends threads in many different directions.
For those who want to understand the Orthodox perspective, I believe there is a lot online if you search for “ancestral sin” or “ancestral sin vs. original sin”. Obviously, don’t take everything you run across as ‘gospel’ truth. ;) For an Orthodox perspective in general, Father Stephen Freeman’s “Glory to God in All Things” blog is excellent. For philosophical/theological questions like this, I like Matthew Gallatin’s “Pilgrims from Paradise” podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.
You may or may not find that you agree with the Orthodox perspective. For me, it was not a question of finding new ideas. Rather, again and again I find the things I have believed, at least dimly or in part, ever since I stumbled into Christianity. However, it is a very different perspective to the Western perspective.



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phil_style

posted January 27, 2009 at 10:30 am


OT: Has anyone besides me noticed, over the past few years, an increased tendancy for people to name logical fallacies when they see them?
the wikipedia page on fallacies must be taking a hammering . .. .



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Scott M

posted January 27, 2009 at 10:46 am


As I’ve reflected on it, I believe I misremembered Bishop Tom’s story. It’s been at least weeks, if not months, since I heard it. I believe the Archimandrite said, “This I know. … This I know. … That I do not know.” A subtle, but possibly important difference. I’m going to have to go back through my audio files of his recent lectures to see if I can find the story again.
Sorry if I mangled the story.



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Larry

posted January 27, 2009 at 11:00 am


One troubling aspect of Beck’s post is the consequence of believing that sin is inherently extrinsic to man rather than being, at least in good part, intrinsic. If sin is a creation of our environment, then can we not manipulate our environment to eliminate sin? But that way lays the madness of utopianism and all the murder and bloodshed that utopianism seems to inevitably entail. Is it possible to view sin as being intrinsic to us, at least in part, without original sin?
Tony, I would suggest you start the discussion with a definition of what you mean by original sin, there seems to be good deal of variance in people’s definitions and understanding.



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Larry

posted January 27, 2009 at 11:05 am


One troubling aspect of Beck’s post, if sin is truly extrinsic to us rather than being, at least in part, intrinsic, is that this opens the door to utopianism. If sin is completely extrinsic to us, a product of our environment, then we should be able to eliminate sin, to perfect humanity and society, by suitable manipulations of our environment. But attempts to create utopia in the past, admittedly not by Christians, have always resulted in mass slaughter of those who won’t or can’t go along with the program. Is it possible to have sin be intrinsic without original sin?
Tony, might I suggest you start the discussion with what your understanding of original sin is, there seems to be a quite a bit of variance in exactly what the definition is, and it is resulting in a lot of mis-communication.



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Jeff Toobin

posted January 27, 2009 at 11:23 am


Scott M,
You are totally misrepresenting Original Sin and falsely supposing that the Orthodox Catholic version of the topic contradicts the Western Catholic version. They do not contradict each other, though they are explained using different frameworks. For sure, they address the same phenomenon: namely, that Adam’s act has negatively harmed and altered human nature for all in a way that *requires* a remedy through Christ.
Next, the Eastern Orthodox believe that the Virgin Mary was from her conception filled with every grace of the Holy Spirit, in view of her calling as the Mother of God, and they say she was “all holy” and that she never committed a personal sin during her lifetime. Western Catholics have a name for this teaching: “The Immaculate Conception.” While the Eastern Catholics do not label it “The Immaculate Conception,” they have the same teaching with the same articles.
So again, the Eastern Orthodox share the same teachings, but they often do not label the teaching the same way or describe it using the same lingo. Please get this straight.



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Scott M

posted January 27, 2009 at 11:44 am


Jeff, Everything I’ve said comes straight from what the Orthodox themselves say, from multiple sources. You are the one who is attempting to reframe what they believe to bring it into conformance with what you would like it to be.
Please get that straight, sir.



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Scott M

posted January 27, 2009 at 12:07 pm


I’ll point out that I’m also directing people to Orthodox sources to decide for themselves what the Orthodox do or do not believe. Matthew Gallatin recently completed a 20 some-odd part series that began as an exploration of the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura and morphed into a series on the way Western Christianity became deeply affected by Platonism.
Matthew Gallatin and Fr. Freeman are Orthodox converts. Also converts and with a more ‘apologetic’ style that is not my preferred tone, but which others may like, are Kevin Allen of the Illumined Heart program and the ‘Our Life in Christ’ program which began many years ago on radio and has moved to the Internet more recently.
Or, if you prefer the cradle Orthodox voice, I definitely recommend Father Thomas Hopko, Presvytera and Dr. Jeannie Constantinou (Search the Scriptures), and Dr. Brad Nassif.
However, you will hear the same thing from all of them. I know. I’ve read and listened extensively to all of the above and more. Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are more like each other today than either is like Orthodoxy. But it does not seem to be Orthodoxy which has changed.
Once again, I would hardly dream of asking anyone to take my word for any of this. I couldn’t even really say what I am. I seem to have developed largely Orthodox beliefs before I even knew that Orthodoxy existed. I have a great deal of empathy with Roman Catholicism and the things they do and with some of their authors. I love the recent encyclicals on love and hope. Yet, for the fifteen years I’ve been ‘Christian’ I’ve been a member of a single Protestant church. So I guess I’m protestant. Just a strange sort of protestant.
Taste and see. It’s not hard these days to find out what the Orthodox do or don’t believe. Nobody need take my word for it nor any other outsider’s word. Discover it for yourself.



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Scott M

posted January 27, 2009 at 12:11 pm


But most notably, Jeff, I’ve not encountered a single Orthodox voice who would agree with your contention that the Orthodox and Roman Catholics (or Protestants) believe essentially the same thing. You are making a claim about the Orthodox which is different from what they say about themselves. I really don’t believe that they all ‘misunderstand’ the Western perspective. If they understand it and say that is not what they believe, then I’m really more inclined to believe what they say about themselves than what you or someone else outside might want to believe about them.



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Jeff Toobin

posted January 27, 2009 at 12:38 pm


“Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are more like each other today than either is like Orthodoxy” — Scott M.
Holy smokes, Scott M, do protestants teach that Mary was “ever Virgin,” that she was from her conception filled with every grace of the Holy Spirit, that she never committed a personal sin during her lifetime, and that she was “all holy”??? Friend, that’s what Orthodox doctrine says, and it is in perfect agreement with Roman Catholic teaching.
Do protestants have all seven sacraments? No, but the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics do.
Do protestants have apostolic succession of bishops, who trace their ordination in an unbroken chain going all the way back to the apostles? No, but the the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics do.
Do protestants share the doctrinal statements of the first Seven Ecumenical councils? No, but the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics do.



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Matt Kelley

posted January 27, 2009 at 12:39 pm


My understanding of Eastern Orthodox theology (via Bishop Kalistos Ware) is that they have a concept of Original Sin, but instead of being an individual issues it is a communal, systemic issue where Sin taints the society we live in and creates an environment where going against God’s will seems to be a better idea than following it. This is how the Orthodox would explain an economic culture where it was better to sell financial products backed by money that didn’t exist than to be honest with one’s customers.
Perhaps we Western Christians can learn a thing or two from our Eastern brethren.



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted January 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm


It seems to me that all of the opposition towards the Doctrine of Original Sin is not being based on scripture. The supporters of the Doctrine have provided you with scripture, and in response you have provided NO SUBSTANTIAL argument. Logic and philosophy hold no sway over Scripture, so an argument without it, is no argument at all.
A denial of Original Sin is simply a stepping stone in the Emergent movement’s agenda to create a man centered Christianity, that holds no offense to a dying world, but in reality will cease to remain Christian.
Show your scriptural support, stop arguing semantics.
Perhaps I’m only adding insult to injury here, but oh well…
2nd Timothy commands us to contend earnestly for the faith, and that is what we are doing by protecting the Doctrine of Original Sin.
Rom. 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…
John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and
the father of lies.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
(3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
(4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
This Tony Jones, is just a prime example of you as a teacher, scratching the itching ears of people who are turning away from sound doctrine. I will continue to pray for your eyes to be opened.



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Scott M

posted January 27, 2009 at 1:12 pm


Jeff, I was actually paraphrasing something I have heard more than one Orthodox speaker say. The more common way of putting it is (from Orthodox eyes): Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are flip sides of the same coin. If you’re shocked, once again you are shocked by something the Orthodox actually say rather than your imagination about what they say.



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emergent pillage

posted January 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm


…The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They begain with the fact of sin–a fact as practical as potatoes. whether or not man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not merely materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proven…The strongest saints and the strongest skeptics alike took positive evil as the starting-point of their argument. If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all athiests do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.
Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p. 11



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Teresa

posted January 27, 2009 at 2:20 pm


This Tony Jones fellow makes me sick. How can he deny that we have original sin. Every day that goes by, we sin by thought, word and deed! How can he says there is not scientific backing to that? We can’t get through one single day that we don’t see the headlines chalked full of sin, crimes, disturbing sexual acts done against just about anyone. There are murdered done all the time over the stupidest of
reasons”. There is evidence everywhere we look. But these Emergent heretics know that in order to eventually say that we are all just one, one with God, and the planet and each other, that he/ they must attack this doctrine. They are nothing more than heretics who want to link up with the rest of humanity that is damned; you can see the punishment of the religious body left on earth that worship a fake impostor Christ, and practice witchcraft and make creation God, and refuse the true and only God, who will not allow that to go unpunished. Tony Jones and all the rest of his Emergent/Progressive/ Red letter Christian nuts, can easily know that their Christ-rejecting, scrambling of the bible, will not benefit them anything in the end. Sure they get some money in their pocket for the mindless masses that buy their crap, but in the end, this will be a shirt ride and eventually on to the Great White Throne Judgement, which they probably don’t believe in either, but so what! I read the book of Jude and it says the God has the darkest chains of hell reserved for “Christian leaders of turning from the truth” to a swift and terrible destruction. If that is what you want to live for: have at it, but I will stick with the bible and my Lord. Tony Jones, you are beyond words, you arrogant little creation, who has a meeting with the God of creation one day. Repent today before it is too late!



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phil_style

posted January 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm


Teresa, read the post. Tony IS NOT denying the reality of Sin, he is discussing a particular niuanced version of the “theology of Original Sin”. Your quick claim to call someone a heretic is scary. Reminds me of a certain group or religious leaders existent in the time of Christ . . . Have you considered your own arrogance? Perhaps it is you who the book of Jude is referring too.



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Your Name

posted January 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm


In response to Phil’s comment I would say read Gensis Chapter Three death is a product of the fall.



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Larry

posted January 27, 2009 at 2:55 pm


I read the book of Jude and it says the God has the darkest chains of hell reserved for “Christian leaders of turning from the truth” to a swift and terrible destruction.
Theresa, the only chains mentioned in Jude are for angels, not people. You evidently don’t know the Bible as well as you think. Perhaps also a little humility is in order before you accuse others of scrambling the Bible.



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phil_style

posted January 27, 2009 at 2:57 pm


Your Name, above.
All Human physical death? All death in nature? All decay and death?
And actually, it is Gen 2 where God instructs Adam that he would surely die if he ate from the tree of life. And Adam does not die in gen 3, when he eats from the tree. Interestingly if there was no death, how was Adam to understand God’s threat, if he knew not what death was?



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Aaron

posted January 27, 2009 at 2:58 pm


phil ont use tolernce as a cudgel to attack people Brian Mclarin is not excatlly what I would call orthodox. Tony Jones endorseing homosexuality, denying Orginal Sin and saying the Trinity is “iffy” at best as a dcotrine makes him a heritc. All the platitudes about Jesus dont make a difrnce The deamons in hell have knowldge of God that doesnt save them.



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phil_style

posted January 27, 2009 at 3:02 pm


Aaron, you’re going to have to identify exactly where I used “tolerance as a cudgel to attack people” before I can take you seriously.



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Dave

posted January 27, 2009 at 3:13 pm


Once again,thanks, Tony, for showing us the true nature of the Apostate Church! Maranatha!



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Larry

posted January 27, 2009 at 3:15 pm


Based on this recent post of Tony’s I don’t see where its fair to accuse him of being “iffy” on the Trinity. Being a social trinitarian and agreeing with Moltman and Wolf are not grounds for a heresy trial.



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Larry

posted January 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm


Sorry, Wolf=Volf, above.



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted January 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm


But Phil, the Doctrine of Original Sin is biblical, as your proponents have yet to respond to. If sin is not within us from birth, or conception, however you look at it, where does it come from? If you deny Original Sin, you are in essence denying an inherent sinful nature, which again the Bible confirms we have.
Without Original Sin, you are in danger of falling into the Pelagian heresy. If we are born without sin, then where does it come from? At what point does it enter into our hearts and separate us from God? If not at birth then we are not bound to it, and then can come to righteousness apart from Christ. This is where your “logic” eventually leads to… A Christless Christianity, just as Pelagius taught.
(He was condemned as a Heretic, if you remember Church history)
And yes i agree that Teresa misquoted Jude, the rest of her argument , which you conveniently ignored, rings true. Anyone who fits the New Testament profile of a heretic or a false teacher, is in fact a heretic or a false teacher.



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phil_style

posted January 27, 2009 at 3:23 pm


Larry, I feel your pain, there’s simply too much unchecked accusation and speculation flying about in this thread for me to continue reading it. What a shame considering the import of the topic.



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Larry

posted January 27, 2009 at 3:43 pm


The URL for the above mentioned post about the Trinity is: http://blog.beliefnet.com/tonyjones/2009/01/is-the-trinity-optional.html#more (I just love this believenet comment system).
Keanon, I wasn’t aiming for a systematic or thorough refutation of Teresa’s post/rant, although such is certainly possible, there is little point. I was just struck by her arrogance, condemning others for lack of Bible knowledge while showing so little herself (nor even taking a couple of minutes to read Jude before she commenced with the ranting).
It is also not so clear what, exactly, Pelagius believed, just about all we know about his beliefs come from his opponents and it is seldom wise to base judgments solely on that. Since many of the arguments against him mirror those of the Calvinists when speaking against Arminianism and Wesleyism I am more inclined to be sympathetic to him and suspect that Augustine, and Pelagius’ other critics, were not fairly construing his beliefs, much in the same manner that Calvinists tend to misrepresent Arminians.



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted January 27, 2009 at 3:51 pm


To continue reading???
Please Phil, check the accusations, respond to the arguments. Show us the error of our ways. I honestly want to hear your side of the argument.
You have a free open forum to display your beliefs and respond to disagreement… why not use it?



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Rob the Rev

posted January 27, 2009 at 3:53 pm


I have a question for you. If the human race has fallen and been corrupted by an “original sin” would not this corruption have had a corrupting impact upon human intellect and reason as well? And if so how can anyone of you come up with any truth whatsoever about whether or not there is such a thing as orignal sin?
http://community.beliefnet.com/northernimager



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted January 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm


Rob, look at the world today. How can you ask if our intellect has been assaulted by sin? What of eugenics and abortion? Genocide and ethnic cleansing?
Our intellect is flawed and is damaged by sin, pure truth is revealed in the Scriptures. That is how we as humans can interpret and receive Christ, through the message passed down in the Word. That is how we can assert the truth of Original Sin.



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Chris Russell

posted January 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm


Let’s look at things logically here.
1. If there is no such thing as original sin, then it is possible for multiple people to live sinless lives. If someone can lead a sinless life, then there is no reason for a savior to save them and they make it to heaven by works alone. If you believe that someone can ideed do that then you may also believe that Jesus himself was indeed not God but simply a good man who never sinned.
Ephesians 2:8-9
8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Even David (the man after God’s own heart) admitted that he was sinful even before he was born.
Psalms 51:5
Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
It is clear through out scripture that we are indeed born sinful and we can not be saved on our own. If you try to refute the idea of original sin, then you are indeed saying that the bible is false.
ROB you ask the question “If the human race has fallen and been corrupted by an “original sin” would not this corruption have had a corrupting impact upon human intellect and reason as well?”
If you are really a reverend as your name suggest then you should know that yes our intellect has been corrupted. Look at all the post claiming something against scripture.
If you are not a revered then please don’t call yourself into the accountability of being one.
What this entire debate comes down to is this, Is scripture true or not? Keanon has given multiple scripture to show what the bible says and other verses can be added. Yet I have yet to see one scripture that gives this any sort of credibility to your argument.
Sorry but i answere to scripture (the word of God) not the reasoning of men.
1 Corinthians 1:27
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.



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robert d

posted January 27, 2009 at 7:46 pm


“This Tony Jones fellow makes me sick.”
No offense to the individual whom posted this, but take out Tony Jones and put in my name and that sums up my “Christian” “experience”. I know Church is the very last place to bring up questions and doubts about God, which is fine. So that is why I am thankful for blogs and Mr. Jones asking questions and stating ideas that many think but fear bringing up in the local body because it will get you kicked out. One other observation, when I first became a “Christian” I was basically told I was a walking corpse dead in my sin and an eternal enemy of God created from the foundation of the universe as a vessel of wrath.
When I “Accepted Christ” that was the last mercy I better ever need in a practical sense, the word autonomy, efficiency success became the operative spiritual gifts I should seek. I failed in that area I need the Lord Jesus each moment. As for original sin some express it in a way I can understand and I am thankful for that.



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Paul M

posted January 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm


This is the view of original sin held by the Orthodox Church In America, Which according to the article about is untrue.
With regard to original sin, the difference between Orthodox Christianity and the West may be outlined as follows:
In the Orthodox Faith, the term “original sin” refers to the “first” sin of Adam and Eve. As a result of this sin, humanity bears the “consequences” of sin, the chief of which is death. Here the word “original” may be seen as synonymous with “first.” Hence, the “original sin” refers to the “first sin” in much the same way as “original chair” refers to the “first chair.”
In the West, humanity likewise bears the “consequences” of the “original sin” of Adam and Eve. However, the West also understands that humanity is likewise “guilty” of the sin of Adam and Eve. The term “Original Sin” here refers to the condition into which humanity is born, a condition in which guilt as well as consequence is involved.
In the Orthodox Christian understanding, while humanity does bear the consequences of the original, or first, sin, humanity does not bear the personal guilt associated with this sin. Adam and Eve are guilty of their willful action; we bear the consequences, chief of which is death.
One might look at all of this in a completely different light. Imagine, if you will, that one of your close relatives was a mass murderer. He committed many serious crimes for which he was found guilty ­ and perhaps even admitted his guilt publicly. You, as his or her son or brother or cousin, may very well bear the consequences of his action -­ people may shy away from you or say, “Watch out for him -­ he comes from a family of mass murderers.” Your name may be tainted, or you may face some other forms of discrimination as a consequence of your relative’s sin. You, however, are not personally guilty of his or her sin.
There are some within Orthodoxy who approach a westernized view of sin, primarily after the 17th and 18th centuries due to a variety of westernizing influences particularly in Ukraine and Russia after the time of Peter Mohyla. These influences have from time to time colored explanations of the Orthodox Faith which are in many respects lacking.



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Chris Russell

posted January 27, 2009 at 11:11 pm


Robert D
” I know Church is the very last place to bring up questions and doubts about God, which is fine.”
Robert I think that church is the very place to bring up questions and doubts about God, granted not in the sunday morning service, but there should be no reason why you can’t sit with your pastor and talk with him about your question/doubts about God. I am a youth pastor and I love it when I am asked these sort of questions. It simply shows that there is a desire to learn, which is a good thing.
The only problem Tony Jones saying that it isn’t scriptural and such is that he is a leader over a group of people. He has a certain amount of influence over those under him. Many people will not go off and search the Bible and look for answers and such. They will simply accept what he says because he said it. That is leading people astray. Questions are fine. But he has stated it as a belief, and if you read many of the post that have been posted you will see the scriptural evidence for original sin, which proves that Tony is indeed wrong on this topic and possibly leading people astray in it.



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Larry

posted January 27, 2009 at 11:11 pm


I know Church is the very last place to bring up questions and doubts about God, which is fine
It is not fine, you need to find a fellowship where you can be honest. They do exist.



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Linda

posted January 27, 2009 at 11:25 pm


If we are not born sinners, why must we be born again? In John 3:6 and other places, it is said that we must be born again. But why is this, if the first time around we all enter the world fine? In declaring that we must be born spiritually, Jesus is declaring that physical birth is not enough for salvation (John 3:3-15). But how could He say this if we are born into the world innocent of sin?
If there is no original (or imputed) sin, there is no need for us to be redeemed by Christ. Christ came to save a fallen world. If our world is not in the clutches of original sin, then it is not fallen. If it is not fallen, what ultimate need is there for Christ?
If humanity is not born in sin, wouldn’t we expect there to be some people who have “beaten the odds” and never sinned? If we are born innocent and good, wouldn’t you expect there to be at least some people to have continued in this state and be sinless today? I think all of us know that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 6:23). The fact that everybody sins needs some explanation. The best explanation is that we are sinners by nature–we are born that way. Someone might argue that the reason all people sin is because society is sinful, and thus society renders it impossible for anybody to keep themselves entirely pure. But that only pushes the question back one step. How did society get sinful in the first place? If people are born morally good, wouldn’t we expect there to have been at least some societies develop which are morally good?
The OT ceremonies indicate original sin. In his book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, Loraine Boettner writes: “The Old Testament ceremonies of circumcision of the new-born child, and of purification of the mother, were designed to teach that man comes into the world sinful, that since the fall human nature is corrupt in its very origin.”



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted January 27, 2009 at 11:26 pm


Absolutely Chris, the Church is a place where we all as believers can meet and learn AND fellowship. If your church has no forum or tolerance for questions, get out.
Tony Jones, like Chris said, is a minister, who has a very large flock. He therefor is held responsible for what he teaches to them. If he begins teaching contrary to scripture, then he is in fact leading them astray, and we as fellow believers have a DUTY to question his thoughts and actions, not to embarrass or ridicule but to lovingly show him his error. If he ignores this and continues with the false teachings, then that is another issue and he is then a full on false teacher. We are only fulfilling our biblical mandate to protect the integrity of the Word of God.



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Nancy Poo

posted January 28, 2009 at 9:09 am


The Doctrine of Original Sin is not clearly defined in Scripture as the writers of religious creeds have tried to state them into their beliefs. When the First Couple sinned their descendants did not lose their (our) free will or ability to chose to serve and love God (Deut 30:19; Josh.24:19). People can still believe and repent (Mark 1:15) The First Sin did not completely destroy man’s ability to say “no” to sin. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son (Ezek. 18:20). We have inherited many bad consequences from the the first sin, but it does not appear that we were born to eternal condemnation for Adam’s sin. We soon acquire enough of our own sin and we should, to be Biblical correct, stop using the non biblical expression “original sin.”



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Scott D

posted January 28, 2009 at 9:39 am


Okay, so you reject the teaching that all are held accountable as sinners through Adam’s transgression. What is the downstream “fruit” of this rejection ?
Does it in any way negate the fact that every single person reading this blog is included in Romans 3:23′s statement that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” ? All of us have broken His Commandments OURSELVES. We need not look to Adam’s transgression when we have a multitude of our OWN sins for which we’ll be held accountable. In fact, in the sea of transgressions that each of us has committed against the One, True, Righteous, and Holy God, Adam’s is a drop in the bucket.
It’s much easier to look at his sin than to reflect on our own, isn’t it ? Let’s consider…
Which of us hasn’t spoken a multitude of lies ? Which of us hasn’t coveted something that wasn’t our own ? Which of us hasn’t hated someone at some point (which to Him is murder) ? Which of us hasn’t looked with lust (which is adultery) ? Which of us has put HIM before all other things in our lives ?? None of us have kept His Commandments. Hence, we deserve the righteous judgment due any hardened, serial criminal as we can’t even count the number of times we’ve be lawless before the One before whom we will be judged.
Please don’t let a teaching on one man’s sin take away the focus from your own sin. As others have quoted John 3:3 and John 3:36, I would ask that you go back to the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 36 for the prophecy of being born again — verses 26-27, specifically:
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
As Alistair Begg said (I paraphrase), “Lord, don’t let us confuse your patience with us as being okay with the sins in our lives.”
You must be born again…



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Rob the Rev

posted January 28, 2009 at 10:10 am


Rob the Rev posted on January 27, 2009 3:53 PM:
I have a question for you. If the human race has fallen and been corrupted by an “original sin” would not this corruption have had a corrupting impact upon human intellect and reason as well? And if so how can anyone of you come up with any truth whatsoever about whether or not there is such a thing as orignal sin?
Keanon O’Keefe posted in response on January 27, 2009 4:02 PM:
Our intellect is flawed and is damaged by sin, pure truth is revealed in the Scriptures. That is how we as humans can interpret and receive Christ, through the message passed down in the Word. That is how we can assert the truth of Original Sin.
My response to Keanon: However, Keanon, you are using that same sin corrupted intellect and reason to “interpret” your so-called “inerrant” scripture. Your “interpretation” shall also be corrupt.
And to those who feel the obligation to “Defend the Word of God” why don’t you let God defend it if it is what you say it is. Isn’t God capable of doing so?
http://community.beliefnet.com/northernimager



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Tim from Orlando

posted January 28, 2009 at 11:54 am


Tony,
Interesting take on the doctrine of original sin, but I’m not sure that you understand the teaching. I base that on your own stated views of it. Original sin simply means that sin originated with man’s first test of his free will. And Adam and Eve failed. Paul’s various teachings on the subject are a treatise on how God is judicially able to forgive all sin through one Man, the Son of Man, Jesus the Messiah, i.e. since we were all genetically within Adam, the first man, his sin is inherited by us, judicially, as well as the nature of our flesh.
I opine that to minimize the doctrine of original sin is to minimize God’s ablilty to conclude all able to be forgiven through Jesus the Messiah.
The doctrine of original sin may have been taught by Augustine (and it was), but that does not necessarily impute that he originated it. It is clearly taught in the Scriptures-indeed, it is a main thread of the Scriptures. Also, the disagreements among the various denominations of “Christianity” do not necessitate that this, or any other doctrine is true or untrue, biblical or or unbiblical. It is the Bible that determines the validity of its own teachings. What does the Word say on the subject? Professors, history, all pass away but the Word of our Lord stands forever.
As for true believers, Jesus the Messiah said we would know them by their love for one another – no greater love has a man than this that he lay down his life for another.
Thanks you for allowing us to post our thoughts and to challenge your thoughts in this forum.



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Tim from Orlando

posted January 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm


In reponse to Rob the Rev’s following statement: “And to those who feel the obligation to “Defend the Word of God” why don’t you let God defend it if it is what you say it is. Isn’t God capable of doing so?”
Rob,
He most certainly is able, and has, even in His creation. But believers are “new creations”, and therefore also have the capability to add our own testimonies in support of what God has done for us. According to Jesus the Messiah, if we didn’t give God glory for this, the very rocks would cry out! He has certainly and radically changed me from the inside out! So, I consider it a priviledge and an honor to be counted among those who are of the called to the washing of the Word regeneration of His Holy Spirit. And we are, in the Word, called upon to defend the faith. You, being a respected Reverend should be able to reference the Word to sse if what I say can be based in them, right?



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Dr. David M. Berman

posted January 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm


What is wrong with you Tony Jones? Why do you call yourself a Christian? Why not just admit you are a liberal Unitarian. No wonder our Nation is going to hell in a hand basket. People like you are leading so many astray. If you are not born in sin, you do not need the Savior. If you believe that you were not born in sin, then you are a heretical teacher. Anything goes with you. I have been reading your stuff and it makes me sick.
Dr. David M. Berman
http://www.wakeupandsmellthetruth.com



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Rob the Rev

posted January 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm


Yes, Tim, I know the bible. I used to be like you, brainwashed in the “orthodox” faith of a fundi far-right religion. But now I think for myself and no longer accept the bible as the literal, infallible word of god with its contradictory, irreconcilable images of God. I abandoned my need to protect it so that I could accept what its core message: God is love and he will save everyone either in this world or the next. Yes, I believe in universal salvation for all. Try reading something outside your comfort zone like the book, “If Grace is True: Why God Will Save Every Person” by Gulley and Mulholland.



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Tim from Orlando

posted January 28, 2009 at 3:56 pm


Nancy Poo,
You are right on many points and I commend you on your insightful study of the Word of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Messiah, however, (you saw that coming, right?)
Well, let me gently explain my “however” with these questions and quotes:
1. If by the “First Couple sinned” nomenclature, you mean that the sins of both were on equal moral grounds, perhaps that can be argued, but the difference between the two translates out later in as to why Jesus the Messiah had to be born of a virgin. Was not Eve deceived and Adam not? 1 Timothy 2:14 and it makes his sin deliberate, hers not. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…”
2. Do not the references of Deut 30:19 and Josh.24:19 refer to the Abrahamic Covenant of God with Israel regards the promise to live and be in the land He promised them? And if they were able to keep all of the commandments, why did they fail? Surely the promises of God were enough to persuade them, right? (Please, don’t ask me to cast that stone! I’m not without sin.)
3. What does repentance and faith in the gospel mean? What is repentance? What is the gospel? and why do we need them? if we are capable of stopping sinning on command? or preventing it in the first place? Are there some among us who have lived a sinless life? Which one of us has (or will) escaped death because we sin not? Anyone? (I hear crickets, i.e. no one has come forward other than Jesus the Messiah, Who was born of a virgin, suffered under
Pontius Pilate, was crucified and buried, and on the third day rose again…)
4. Does Ezek. 18:20 indeed teach that “The First Sin did not completely destroy man’s ability to say “no” to sin.” or does it just teach that “The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son”? Ezekiel 18:1-3 sets the tone, creates the subject of the word to Ezekiel:
1. The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,
2. What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?
3. As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. ~quoted from King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain
5. If what you say is true: “We have inherited many bad consequences from the the first sin, but it does not appear that we were born to eternal condemnation for Adam’s sin.” How can you explain Romans 5:18-19?
18. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. ~quoted from King James Version (KJV)
I conclude that we need a more careful study of the Word lest we fall into error-a very difficult undertaking, not because the Word is difficult, but that we so many detractors with intentions of changing it’s true meaning so that we get deceived over time.



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Chris Russell

posted January 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm


Rob the “Rev”
“Yes, Tim, I know the bible. I used to be like you, brainwashed in the “orthodox” faith of a fundi far-right religion. But now I think for myself and no longer accept the bible as the literal, infallible word of god with its contradictory, irreconcilable images of God. I abandoned my need to protect it so that I could accept what its core message: God is love and he will save everyone either in this world or the next. Yes, I believe in universal salvation for all.”
How can you believe that everyone goes to heaven when Jesus talks about people being thrown out of the masters house where there is gnashing of teeth? Oh wait you don’t believe the bible either. Or at least you don’t believe that it is anything more than a good fiction book.
I dare say that if you don’t believe that the word of God is true and accept God for who he is, then you are indeed not a Christian and are in danger of the very fire of hell that you don’t believe in. To add to it you are calling yourself a reverend. Which means that you are holding yourself to a higher accountability because you lead people.
Repent and seek the one true God. You need to take some serious time to lay on your face before God and truly decide if you believe in him at all or not. You can’t be in between.
I don’t mean to sound so hard but when it comes to peoples souls being at stake i am obligated to say something. And it is not only your soul that could be at stake but any that you may lead if you are a reverend.



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Tim from Orlando

posted January 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm


In reponse to Rob the Rev’s following statement: “Yes, Tim, I know the bible. I used to be like you, brainwashed in the “orthodox” faith of a fundi far-right religion. But now I think for myself and no longer accept the bible as the literal, infallible word of god with its contradictory, irreconcilable images of God. I abandoned my need to protect it so that I could accept what its core message: God is love and he will save everyone either in this world or the next. Yes, I believe in universal salvation for all. Try reading something outside your comfort zone like the book, “If Grace is True: Why God Will Save Every Person” by Gulley and Mulholland.” Rob the Rev, I’m sorry. I apperently misunderstood what your title meant. I thought you were a Reverend. My bad. Tim from Orlando P.S. If you think for yourself, why do you need that book to back you up? I personally only need to sniff garbage to be alerted that it is garbage. So I won’t be reading that book any time soon. The Word of God is good enough for me, thank you very much.



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted January 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm


Now it would seem obvious on how the opposition has no scriptural argument, because they have abandoned scripture. Rob, we will never make any progress in our discussion because you have fallen away from truth. Any talk on Christianity MUST be centered on the Word, if at anytime you abandon it you make it impossible to reason with you.
The Word of God being 100% truth is a FUNDAMENTAL core belief of Christianity, and yes, if you abandon that, you are not a believer. By denying Scripture your are directly denying the Word of God and therefor you are calling Him a liar. How could you be a believer if you openly reject what He has said? Simply put you can not.
And our intellectual reasoning is guided by the Holy Spirit when we read the Word, that is how we as sinful creatures can understand and apply it.



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Jack

posted January 28, 2009 at 6:32 pm


I am sorry for the theology you have been taught. Man was NEVER created to be in FRIENDSHIP with God. The Bible time and time again states that we were created to GLORIFY God. Out of the act of bending our knees to His will and obedience, we glorify God thus develop the “friendship” (if you must call it that). I call it a relationship as He is always my Master, and to call God my friend for me places Him on a lower status than I believe He deserves. Rather I call Him Father as that I how I believe His relationship is with me, like an adopted child, but never a “friend”.



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Neil

posted January 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm


JESUS: …You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…(John 15).



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robert d

posted January 28, 2009 at 9:56 pm


Chris thank you for your kind words, in my experience going to the “Pastor” for any reason is extremely inconvenient, my rule is I will go to a “pastor / leader” about ministry issues for other people. I do not consider personal needs or questions a reasonable reason to bother people. I have found autonomy and staying extremely way off the radar is a good way to stay out of the way.
Now as to my first question that I seem to see a problem with, I literal Adam and Eve and a Literal fall. I am not saying I believe these events are not correct but this seems to be the cause of many people’s disagreement and there are not very good answers on our side from what I have seen. Another reason I do not bring these up in real life say at a bible study is I fear damaging another person’s faith, granted that is rather pathetic or weak on my part but it is the way I am about things of faith. I figure on a blog that is geared this way I can do much less “damage” in this area.
I will say I do not think Mr. Jones is “sick” and these questions have helped me as I can not articulate them with the same focus as he seems to be able. I do deeply appreciate your response. God bless your ministry.



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Brad Shockley

posted January 28, 2009 at 10:34 pm


The argument against original sin is so man-centered the holiness of a sovereign, supreme, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God is eclipsed. It’s not about us. It’s about Him. We must approach this from His perspective not ours. That’s the indictment of the emergent church or whatever label you give the postmodern Christian movement, I think. Everything is framed from man’s perspective. The Bible gives us God’s.



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Scott M

posted January 28, 2009 at 10:38 pm


Keanon, the doctrine of original sin as Augustine formulated it rested on five scriptural passages only and a healthy helping of the platonic philosophy in which he was steeped. Of those five, two were an outright mistranslation in the Latin text he used. And the other three were … questionable exegesis at best. I’m more than happy to talk based on a proper interpretation of Holy Scripture. However, I will disagree that the proper interpretation is whatever you feel it should be.



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Jack

posted January 28, 2009 at 10:49 pm


Neil,
Great verse. My view of this verse is Jesus may call us friends. Because He is higher than us, He is able to elevate us to His standards. However in verse 20 Jesus also states, “The servant is not greater than his lord.” Although He calls us His friends, that does not change the relationship. Christ remains higher than I. Again, this is my viewpoint, but let me use this example. It would be awkward for me to have my sons looking to me as their friend, as I am their father and I believe I deserve an elevated status from them above being their friend. Yet at the same time I am consistently telling them that they are my “Best Buddies”. So it is for me in my relationship with Christ. Christ is my Lord, my Father, my King, and my Savior. If Christ calls me friend, I will humbly accept that honor without a word. But I will not lower His deserved status in my life by calling Him friend. There are much more glorifying terms that I can use to call on Him.



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Phil

posted January 28, 2009 at 11:19 pm


So Jesus can call us friends, but we can’t call him our friend? That doesn’t sound like any friend I’d want to have. Sometimes I wonder how it’s possible to so misunderstand the Incarnation.



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Illary

posted January 28, 2009 at 11:54 pm


So.. Original sin is a depraved idea?.
David didn’t think so:
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me”. Psalm 51:5
Solomon didn’t think so:
“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not”.Ecclesiastes 7:20
Paul didn’t think so:
“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” Romans 3:9
Depraved… is the heart of man:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
I’m sure you know these verses, that is why I wonder how can you be so deluded? A thousand theologians can denied original sin as any other cardinal doctrine in the Bible, but, you don’t have to follow them like a blind, nor trust in them. Have you rejected Sola Scritura?



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Your Name

posted January 29, 2009 at 1:58 am


Illary -
No one is making the argument that we are not sinners. No serious student of the Bible would even suggest that. But the question is, are we sinners from birth? Have we a depraved nature? First of all if Psalms 51:5 were a proof text for original sin, why haven’t the Jews picked up on that? Second, he is speaking of his own personal experience. Is it possible that in this, his prayer of self-condemnation and repentance, he is speaking metaphorically? Paul said that he was the “chief” sinner (1 Titus 1:15). Was Paul really the worst sinner? Worse than Lucifer?
Consider Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” If man has a sinful nature from birth, Jesus could not have been tempted “like as we are.”
How about Isaiah 53:6. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” How could we “have gone astray” if we were estranged from birth?
In Romans 5, Paul contrasts Adam and Jesus. In The nineteenth verse, (“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”) if you assert that Adam’s deed is, for us, universal, then to be consistent, you must conclude that the obedience of Jesus saves us all.
Finally, this doctrine of original sin presents some problems that require some “extra Biblical” solutions. Namely infant baptism and
(my favorite) “age of accountability.” Where on earth do you find support for that one? Is it a year of one’s life? A certain day? An hour? Next thing you know people will be inventing things like purgatory and the rapture.



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R. Young

posted January 29, 2009 at 2:01 am


The last comment was by R. Young.



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted January 29, 2009 at 10:35 am


Scott M, did I ever reference Augustine or his view? No, I, as well as others, gave scriptural support, not Augustine’s views.
R. Young, Has anyone here mentioned or argued for infant baptism or the age of accountability? No. Though i agree that those are false ideas, stick to the arguments at hand, don’t create a straw man.
Hebrews 4:15, yes Jesus was fully man and fully God, and because He was fully God, he was not sinful, God is not bound be the chains of man’s nature, He is God, i don’ see your argument here.
Isaiah 53:6, all of mankind has gone astray, since Adam.
Romans 5:12
(12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon ALL men, for that ALL have sinned:
u read the whole chapter??
Again, this is a prime example of people creating man centered theology. Herding goats.



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emergent pillage

posted January 29, 2009 at 12:06 pm


–But, while in college, I also took at class on the theology of Augustine from an eccentric professor, Charles Stinson, and therein I learned that the great father of Western theology was the author of the doctrine of Original Sin. Of course, Augustine was not making it up ex novo, but was taking as his inspiration the account of creation in Genesis 3 and certain Pauline texts.–
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm
It is not true that the doctrine of original sin does not appear in the works of the pre-Augustinian Fathers. On the contrary, their testimony is found in special works on the subject. Nor can it be said, as Harnack maintains, that St. Augustine himself acknowledges the absence of this doctrine in the writings of the Fathers. St. Augustine invokes the testimony of eleven Fathers, Greek as well as Latin (Contra Jul., II, x, 33). Baseless also is the assertion that before St. Augustine this doctrine was unknown to the Jews and to the Christians; as we have already shown, it was taught by St. Paul. It is found in the fourth Book of Esdras, a work written by a Jew in the first century after Christ and widely read by the Christians. This book represents Adam as the author of the fall of the human race (vii, 48), as having transmitted to all his posterity the permanent infirmity, the malignity, the bad seed of sin (iii, 21, 22; iv, 30). Protestants themselves admit the doctrine of original sin in this book and others of the same period (see Sanday, “The International Critical Commentary: Romans”, 134, 137; Hastings, “A Dictionary of the Bible”, I, 841). It is therefore impossible to make St. Augustine, who is of a much later date, the inventor of original sin.



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R. Young

posted January 29, 2009 at 2:57 pm


Mr. O’Keefe
OF COURSE no one has mentioned infant baptism or age of accountability. They are the bastard children conceived when logic is applied to this doctrine. I’m happy to be the first one to trot out these “straw men.” To wit: if we are born inherently sinful, anyone who dies not having been born again will go to hell. How does one solve that dilemma sola scriptura?
Now, if this is going to be a profitable debate, you must do more than simply repeat the scriptures I cite.
Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus can understand what we’re going through because He was tempted in the same way. If man is created depraved, with a compromised will that has a predisposition to sin, and Jesus is not; He was not tempted IN THE SAME WAY. IN. ALL. POINTS. If Jesus’ human nature is fundamentally different than mankind’s human nature, He could not be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”
Isaiah 53:6. “…every one to his own way.” He is referring to individual men, not corporate mankind.
In reply to your snarky comment, I have read the whole chapter of Romans 5. And logic dictates consistency in applying the propositions stated by Paul. If all men (the many, Paul says) are condemned in Adam, all men (again, the many) are justified by Christ. We are all condemned. Not because we were in Adam, but because we have followed the example of Adam. “…all HAVE SINNED.”
I fail to see how this is a “man centered” theology. When rightly understood, the Bible puts the responsibility for man’s sinfulness on the individual. We are without excuse before a Holy God. Isn’t this what God says in Ezekiel 18? “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
I’ll let the goat herder comment go.



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Chris Russell

posted January 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm


R. Young
I only have one question. Can someone go their entire life without sinning? Jesus doesn’t count.
If you say no then your logic is flawed
“Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus can understand what we’re going through because He was tempted in the same way. If man is created depraved, with a compromised will that has a predisposition to sin, and Jesus is not; He was not tempted IN THE SAME WAY. IN. ALL. POINTS.”
If Jesus himself was able to live a sinless life, which is what the bible teaches, and we are just like him, not being predispositioned to sin, Then logically a man today can live without sin.



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Rob the Rev

posted January 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm


Hey Chris Russell, Tim from Orlando, Keanon O’Keefe -
I am not intimidated by your arrogant, self-righteous, fire and brimstone threatening, bible thumping bullying. I know what my relationship with God is and it does not resemble anything that you three religious far-right bullies have said.
Without using quotes from the bible, and thereby making a circular argument, prove that it is the infallible, inerrant, literal word of God, please. To say the bible or any book is the word of God is a statement of faith, not fact. Since you are making the assertion that the bible is the word of God the burden of proving it so is your obligation. You choose to believe by faith that the bible is the word of God and that is your perogative. Many other people choose not to so believe and that is there perogative.
I agree with what Ghandi said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”



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R. Young

posted January 29, 2009 at 6:11 pm


Mr. Russell,
Let me first ask you a question. Would God, the being who is the origin of justice, command us to do something that is impossible for us to do? Let me differentiate between assigning a task that is impossible to perform to teach a lesson and making a command that carries with it the dire consequences of eternal punishment. Would God, who cares about just weights and charging interest on loans, deal with us using a stacked deck and our eternal souls in the pot? Would he command us to be holy knowing full well that we could not do it? His moral laws express that we possess the ability to fulfill them. So yes, I do believe, and see no prohibition in scripture, that man, theoretically, can live without sin. But that’s the whole point of Hebrews 4 isn’t it? He can be our High Priest because he faced the same temptations as we yet without sin. It wouldn’t be worth mentioning if it were impossible for Him to sin and impossible for us to keep from sinning. It is no comfort to me if a pastor boasts that he has never looked with lust at a woman if he were blind.
I trust that we can avoid the silly hypothetical arguments of whether anyone will be able to keep from sinning. But if you feel you must, first tell me where infants go when they die unregenerate.



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Chris Russell

posted January 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm


R. Young
The thing about God asking us to do what is impossible for us to do is this, the only way that we would be able to do that is if we went through Christ Jesus. “None can come to the father except by me” Therefore by making the only way for us to get through this life and be holy is by going through the forgiveness offered by Jesus. If there were another way then Jesus was indeed a liar and not without sin.
I do see the need to continue in this “silly hypothetical argument” and I hope that you will see the merit behind it.
But first I will answer your question. Where to infants go when they die?
I don’t know. I pray to God that they go to heaven, but I fully realize that in accordance with everything in scripture they indeed deserve hell. Please realize that I do not say that without sadness. I have two younger brothers that died before they were born. I pray to God that they are in heaven waiting to meet me and my family, however if they are not and God saw fit that they go to Hell, then God is still God and his will is still just.
Now on to my hypothetical question. Please bear with me I am simply putting forth the logic that you use.
IF it is indeed possible for a human today to live a life without sin then what Jesus did here on earth is nothing special and chances are he wasn’t the son of God, but simply a good man who never sinned.
John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me
IF men can go through life then they can make it to heaven without Jesus because we are only separated from God because of sin. Therefore Jesus would have been a liar and the entire Bible thrown to waist.
Ephesians 2:8-9
8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.



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Chris Russell

posted January 29, 2009 at 6:53 pm


Rob
Please realize that we are simply speaking out what we believe. This blog was put here so that we can debate these things. We are not trying to bully but it would be wrong for us to go through this and never correct a brother or sister in Christ if we saw them believing something that is against the Christian faith.
As for trying to prove that the Bible is indeed the infallible, inerrant, literal word of God, we can not. Because it is as you say a matter of faith.
Please do not take any offense to this next part I do not mean it out of meanness.
Prove that you have a brain. (once again only an analogy) Have you touched it? Seen it? Therefore you believe on faith that you have a brain, yet you can not prove it unless you crack open your skull and try to see it.
You see I believe that I serve an all knowing, all powerful God that protected his word for us today. I have to believe that the entire Bible is fact, truth, and completely accurate. I have to believe that it is the word of God. If I don’t then I can’t believe that I have a soul, I can’t believe in a heaven, or in a Christ, or even in the God of the Bible. Because it is all a story that is used to teach us to be good.
If you don’t believe, that is your prerogative. However my prerogative is to go throughout the world spreading the gospel.
P.S. I don’t think Ghandi would have like Christ if he saw how Christ treated the religious leaders that were leading people astray.



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Tim from Orlando

posted January 29, 2009 at 8:12 pm


In reponse to Rob the Rev’s following statement: “Hey Chris Russell,
Tim from Orlando, Keanon O’Keefe -
I am not intimidated by your arrogant, self-righteous, fire and
brimstone threatening, bible thumping bullying. I know what my
relationship with God is and it does not resemble anything that you
three religious far-right bullies have said.
Without using quotes from the bible, and thereby making a circular
argument, prove that it is the infallible, inerrant, literal word of
God, please. To say the bible or any book is the word of God is a
statement of faith, not fact. Since you are making the assertion that
the bible is the word of God the burden of proving it so is your
obligation. You choose to believe by faith that the bible is the word
of God and that is your perogative. Many other people choose not to
so believe and that is there perogative.
I agree with what Ghandi said, “I like your Christ. I do not like
your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” ”
Well, this is Tim from Orlando and I would like to ask you where I
was arrogant, how I am self-righteous, how I threatened you with
“fire and brimstone”, or bullied you with Bible thumping?
Also, how is it that you paint me with derogatory terms such as
“religious far-right bully” when I gave you no such reason to do so?
All I did was reply to you on your own terms and I quote you:
“Yes, Tim, I know the bible. I used to be like you, brainwashed in
the “orthodox” faith of a fundi far-right religion. But now I think
for myself and no longer accept the bible as the literal, infallible
word of god with its contradictory, irreconcilable images of God. I
abandoned my need to protect it so that I could accept what its core
message: God is love and he will save everyone either in this world
or the next. Yes, I believe in universal salvation for all. Try
reading something outside your comfort zone like the book, “If Grace
is True: Why God Will Save Every Person” by Gulley and Mulholland.
…and I replied:
“I’m sorry. I apperently misunderstood what your title meant. I
thought you were a Reverend. My bad.
(Tim from Orlando)
P.S. If you think for yourself, why do you need that book to back you
up? I personally only need to sniff garbage to be alerted that it is
garbage. So I won’t be reading that book any time soon. The Word of
God is good enough for me, thank you very much.”
If you examine your own comments, wasn’t it you who said I was
“brainwashed in the “orthodox” faith of a fundi far-right religion”?
And although it was nice of you to include your former self in that
category, you built on that to imply that I had the same problems as
you concerning the Word of God. I can not allow you to project your
difficulties with faith onto me like that. Surely you can understand
that. I simply do not accept the doctrine of universal salvation for
all, and that is based on my own study of the Bible, which I have
believed in since I was saved at the tender age of 19 years, old
enough to think on my own.
I also do not feel compelled to read that book you recommended as I
have done enough study on the subject matter to be satisfied with
what I’ve learned. The Bible is my comfort zone and I prefer to stay
with that, no matter how you feel on that subject. I say what I mean,
and I mean what I say. Compared to the Scripture, that book you
recommended smells foul to me, and I won’t be intimidated into
reading it. But again, thank you for the recommendation anyway.
As for proving the Word of God to be the Word of God, I have 2
responses:
First, prove to me it isn’t.
Second, wasn’t it you who said, and I quote: “And to those who feel
the obligation to “Defend the Word of God” why don’t you let God
defend it if it is what you say it is. Isn’t God capable of doing
so?”
Therefore, I’ll take your own advice and defer to God.
Tim from Orlando



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Rob the Rev

posted January 29, 2009 at 9:59 pm


Chris Russell on January 29, 2009 6:53 PM posted: “Rob. Please realize that we are simply speaking out what we believe. This blog was put here so that we can debate these things. We are not trying to bully but it would be wrong for us to go through this and never correct a brother or sister in Christ if we saw them believing something that is against the Christian faith.”
Chris, you hold to a particular interpretive view of the Christian faith that is conservative and fundamentalist, however it is not the exclusive and only valid view of the Christian faith. You are entitled to YOUR interpretation of the Christian faith based on YOUR interpretation of the bible. You are NOT entitled to use that view as an exclusive rule and standard by which you presume to judge someone elses’ spiritual belief system, be it Christian or otherwise, and try to bully and browbeat them to conform to yours.
Chris posted: “As for trying to prove that the Bible is indeed the infallible, inerrant, literal word of God, we can not. Because it is as you say a matter of faith.”
And as your belief in the bible IS a matter of faith it is objectively no better or no worse than anyone else’s faith belief about the bible.
Chris posted: “Please do not take any offense to this next part I do not mean it out of meanness.
Prove that you have a brain. (once again only an analogy) Have you touched it? Seen it? Therefore you believe on faith that you have a brain, yet you can not prove it unless you crack open your skull and try to see it.”
When I had brain surgery the surgeon saw my brain and assured me that it was intact and functioning. I also use it to think with, animate my body and experience my enviornment. That is proof enough for me.
Christ posted: “You see I believe that I serve an all knowing, all powerful God that protected his word for us today. I have to believe that the entire Bible is fact, truth, and completely accurate. I have to believe that it is the word of God. If I don’t then I can’t believe that I have a soul, I can’t believe in a heaven, or in a Christ, or even in the God of the Bible. Because it is all a story that is used to teach us to be good.”
This is a statement of faith that you are entitled to hold to. However none of what you have said is provable fact.
“If you don’t believe, that is your prerogative. However my prerogative is to go throughout the world spreading the gospel.”
My perogative is to believe as God leads me to believe through the reason and intellect he has endowed me with. I have no obligation to believe as you have chosen to believe.
http://community.beliefnet.com/northernimager



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Chris Russell

posted January 30, 2009 at 1:09 am


Rob
Sorry to hear that you had brain surgery. I did not know about that and did not mean to strike a nerve if i did. I was not saying that i didn’t think you had a brain I was simply using an example to show that there are things we know to be true that aren’t “proven” The majority of people have never seen their brain or had anyone else see it.
“This is a statement of faith that you are entitled to hold to. However none of what you have said is provable fact”
may i also point out that nothing you have said either is a provable fact.
I think that we have come to point where we must simply agree that we will disagree. Each of us will be held accountable on the day of judgement for the things that we believe. May we go our separate ways and allow God to sort it out in his own time.
Please realize that at no time did i ever intend to “bully” or ‘browbeat” anyone. I have simply questioned what people believe as they have questioned my belief. I have not used what I believe as the rule and standard, I have used the word of God. And i have done it out of love and for no other reason. I wish to give people the opportunity to accept what I believe to be true, not because i believe it but because it is in the word of God, so that as many as possible may be saved, just as i have.
May God bless
P.S. Are you a reverend? I am just curious.



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted January 30, 2009 at 3:52 am


religious far-right bullies? I like that… interesting that you choose drop down to our level and insult us?? I guess the power of the keyboard reaches farther than I thought, when grown men feel bullied by the exposition of scripture.
To R. Young, who said:
“So yes, I do believe, and see no prohibition in scripture, that man, theoretically, can live without sin
R. Young, the idea that we can live without sin is, like Pelagius was told, is heretical.
1 John 1:8-10
(8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
(9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Maybe that page fell out, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt there.
If you choose to abandon Scripture, we can’t help you. You have made a decision, we have done all we are obligated to do. We provided you with scriptural support, you denied the validity of the Bible. Your arguments never respond to the exact questions asked, you play logic games and dance around with the skill of a politician.
It is a sad day when “Christians” abandon the Bible and its inherent truths. What discontent the apostles and reformers would have if they watched the Body of Christ remove its vital organs for the sake of humanistic appeal.
I commend men like Chris and Tim for contending earnestly for the faith, as we are commanded to do in 2nd Timothy and I will feel proud to stand along side them in continual worship to God in paradise.
2 Timothy 4:1-4
(1) I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
(2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
(3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
(4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.



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Rob the Rev

posted January 30, 2009 at 10:51 am


Chris Russell posted on January 30, 2009 1:09 AM: “Rob, Sorry to hear that you had brain surgery. I did not know about that and did not mean to strike a nerve if i did. I was not saying that i didn’t think you had a brain I was simply using an example to show that there are things we know to be true that aren’t “proven” The majority of people have never seen their brain or had anyone else see it.”
No, you didn’t strike a nerve (bad pun, lol). However I thought you analogy between proving that the bible is the word of God and proving that anyone has a brain was logically invalid and easily overcome.
Chris posted: “May i also point out that nothing you have said either is a provable fact.”
I agree. I’m glad you see that. What I or anyone believes outside of the realm of science is not provable. Belief is a faith statement, not a fact statement. And we all must be humble enough to acknowledge this and consider the possibliblity our beliefs in part or in whole are not valid. This humility is what I desire that you, Tim from Orlando, Keanon O’Keefe, and A.Walker would adopt along with the others of your tribe. Be willing to question your certainity about your beliefs. Be willing to read and study books and listen to people that would challenge your beliefs and get outside your belief comfort zone. You may learn something. Admit the possibility that you do not have a monopoly on truth.
Chris posted: “I think that we have come to point where we must simply agree that we will disagree. Each of us will be held accountable on the day of judgement for the things that we believe. May we go our separate ways and allow God to sort it out in his own time.”
How about agree to disagree agreeable.
Chris posted: “Please realize that at no time did I ever intend to “bully” or ‘browbeat” anyone. I have simply questioned what people believe as they have questioned my belief. I have not used what I believe as the rule and standard, I have used the word of God. And I have done it out of love and for no other reason. I wish to give people the opportunity to accept what I believe to be true, not because i believe it but because it is in the word of God, so that as many as possible may be saved, just as i have.”
Many people do not view God, the bible, sin, grace, salvation, etc in the same way as you, as I have already stated. Also remember love does not force or coerce others, loves woes and wins.
Chris posted: “May God bless”
Thanks, I need all the blessing I can get.
Chris posted: “P.S. Are you a reverend? I am just curious.”
At the end of many of my posts here I have inserted my Bnet profile page. Check it out to find an answer to your question. http://community.beliefnet.com/northernimager



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Mark Priestap

posted January 30, 2009 at 12:11 pm


Without original sin we cannot have Christ, the second Adam to die for the sins of all mankind. Since all are under sin, all can be saved through Christ. Please see Romans 5 for a complete explanation.
Tony, I grew up similar to you and also was in CCC back in the 90′s… the answer to their faulty theology is not to reject the Law and the Gospel. The answer is to embrace that we are sinners and cling to Christ as our substitute, believing that His blood covers our sin completely, no matter what sin that may be or will be in the future. He rose from the dead and proved that His Word is true, witnessed by hundreds in the flesh… his doctrine and his apostle’s doctrine is trustworthy because the resurrection is historically verifiable. That Christ rose fromt the dead could easily be proven in a court of law. Please repent of your wicked doctrine and cling to Christ our only hope to escape the wrath of God — you are leading thousands to Hell.
~ Mark Priestap



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Dave Metz

posted January 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm


Doug Pagitt said: “I know a book that is great on this subject – A Christianity Worth Believing”
nothing like shameless self-promotion! lol ;-)



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Your Name

posted January 30, 2009 at 11:36 pm


“Belief comfort zone” phrase was used by Tony Jones.
Mr. Jones, to get elected by God, we get into just an uncomfortable zone, it isn’t funny. Recognizing and admitting our sin is contrary to our nature. (“Every man will proclaim his own righteousness”).
It that uncomfortable zone is Satan’s battle keep us and it is anything but a comfort zone. Then when God sees our brokenness over our sin, a contrite, sorrowful, remorse, then, and only will he save us. He does the saving, He does the electing. When we offer him nothing but our sin…when we come to him for NO other reason but for righteousness (propitiation) will he save us and then reveal himself to us and let us know this is what took place. You, my friend, will never know this unless you humble yourself. You are building wrath on yourself.
2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
James 4:6 Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
I’d like to say you are putting off crying out to God for His truth and that is out and out rebellion, but that is an understatement about you. You are working for the enemy big time. Since God is Holy, he must call sin sin and punish it. Be thankful for his Holiness; that means He can be trusted to be true to His promises
jxut4k



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Binary Agent

posted January 30, 2009 at 11:56 pm


This is apostasy.
This Emergent Church is denying God’s Word.
Judgment will be visited upon such that “preach” against Jesus Christ (the Word of God made flesh).



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R. Young

posted January 31, 2009 at 2:52 pm


I find the back-and-forth blogging a bit bizarre. Communicating with people we have never met on a topic that can stir up so much negative emotions can really feel like an exercise in futility. I clicked on the link to this topic from an e-mail I had received from Worldview Weekend. This was a subject I hadn’t discussed in many years having never been satisfactorily convinced either way and ultimately deciding that how I came to be a sinner mattered little. The important thing, to me, is what can be done about it. I believe that most all of us can agree on the solution. Like the man standing on a bridge with his pants on fire, how his pants came to be on fire is not the pressing issue. However, I thought I would give it another chance and see if I could be convinced one way or the other on the topic.
Mr. Russell, I would like to thank you for the graciousness and respect in your replies. In Your last post (to me) you stated “IF it is indeed possible for a human today to live a life without sin then what Jesus did here on earth is nothing special and chances are he wasn’t the Son of God, but simply a good man who never sinned.”
First, I beleve you were a little flippant here, as anyone who lives without sin would indeed be something special. Even some of the eyewitnessess of the life of Christ didn’t believe he was without sin. Is it possible Enoch did not sin? He walked with God –he pleased God- and was mysteriously taken up.
Second, there are no chances that Jesus wasn’t the Son of God. He was the Son of God not because he didn’t sin; He was the Son of God because He was the Son of God. So even if a man lived without sinning, he still could not be mankind’s sacrifice. Justice called for a greater sacrifice.
Finally, although the answer to the infant mortality question may be unsatisfactory, I must praise you for your bravery and integrity. Saying “I don’t know” is a courageous thing to say and I think it demonstrates your deep faith in God.
To Mr. O’Keefe – again I say that the debate is not whether we are sinful or not but simply how we came to be sinners. And yes, some of the pages of my bible do fall out due to wear, you superior, self-righteous, jerk.



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R. Young

posted January 31, 2009 at 6:05 pm


After I had posted that last comment, I regretted that I had resorted to hasty name calling rather than pause and express myself with a little more diplomacy, when I realized; the comments Mr. O’Keefe post smack of the impulsiveness and haughty pride associated with the young. I visited his blog and learned that my assumption was correct. He is only 21 years young.
Mr. O’Keefe, your zeal reminds me of the character Mandy Moore played in the movie “Saved” who threw her bible at Jenna Malone and shouted, “I am FILLED with Christ’s love!” Your effectiveness in defending the gospel, as you understand it, is blunted by your contempt for the ones you communicate with. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.



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Your Name

posted February 1, 2009 at 12:29 pm


The bible foretold in Acts 20 that terrrible wolves would come from among you and try to take followers to themselves and towards the end of the end a Great Falling away that would lead to sever judgment. 2 Thess. What you are are doing to scripture now in the last few years is not unique, or cutting edge or even moderatly surprising Tony and friends and supporters. We knew that one day this would happen as so it is. More will be added to your numbers as you fall farther away from the truth that you stamp out as though you have the right to. God saw it coming in the future. Paul back in his day warned for 3 YEARS DAY AND NIGHT w/ tears that heretics and liars would come with deciet and trickery, so he wanted to warn his ( God’s) blessed church. And that has been the case and we know that an Imposer to come will surround himself with all the reigons of the world including your fake christianity that has no power, just an empty form, tha tlaskc true power bc you attempted to kick him out. All you doubters and Christ rejectors of the “Conversation” and the false religons and all your false gods can gather togather as “One” and as evolving towards godhood, just as the bible and God predicted, The lie of Godhood. Romans 1. You aren’t surprising us authentic christians that you couldn’t pry the truth away from us if you tried to; we are not unaware. You are simply doing that which the Holy Spirit told us via his word that you have little to no respect for. If you were you, I would camp out in Romans 5 adn 1 Corinthians and settle up with your prideful self to accept OS and the Savior who came to set us free from physical death and spiritual death. Open your bibles and begin reading them as though you life depended on it. Pay special attention to Revelation 17 and see what the outcome of this religious group who thumbs their nose at the Truth, who is not just a concept, but a person. Come away from the apostasy before it is too late.



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Stephen

posted February 1, 2009 at 2:59 pm


To all of those who are arguing for the sufficiency and authority of scripture (with which I totally agree), all I can say is that you are wasting your time. You cannot argue or convince anyone regarding the authority of God’s word. Apart from a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, all men will deny this. You cannot argue from scripture when those whom you argue with deny it’s authority. The cornerstone of the emergent church is that scripture means whatever you want it to mean. This attitude is to be expected from fallen creatures (yes, those creatures who have been affected by original sin). I can talk all day regarding clear scripture on this doctrine, such as Ephesians 2, Psalm 51:5, Romans 5, etc. But it will do no good to those who will not submit to it’s authority. I fully expect a flurry of criticism following this post, but again, that’s expected. Nothing wrong with answering questions or dialoguing. But God must do a work in one’s heart, because the natural man does not accept these things (1 Cor. 2:14). Just keep praying for those who are lost, and keep preaching “Christ and Him Crucified.” That is the power of God unto salvation. As for Mr. Jones, he truly is misguided, and will have to answer to God for misleading so many. But we are to love him and pray for him, as well as those who blindly follow. Arguing is not the answer.



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Chris Russell

posted February 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm


R Young
When I talked about the chance of Christ not being the son of God I was going to the extreme of what people could be deceived in believing. By no means do I believe that he wasn’t the son of God.
I would like to say that it is a good example to use of Enoch. I must say though that I would find it harder to believe that he never sinned even one time. After all he did live to be 365. I am only 22 (Please do not write me off as being too young to debate someone with more life experience than myself) and have sinned more than my fair share. I would have to say that for a man to live that long and never sin would have to be a direct result of God causing him not to sin. Especially seeing how his time was full of violence and evil.
From what I hear from you I believe that you are a good God fearing man. I don’t know your view on the Bible though and since there are multiple views on it, allow me to share mine.
I believe that the Bible is the direct word of God. I believe that even though it is thousands of years old, God has kept it pure in making sure that it conveyed exactly what he intended. I believe that the bible is completely accurate and should be taken literally with much studying. I do realize that some areas are cultural and may not apply as heavily today as they did at that time. However I feel that these areas should only be determined after much study.
Overall I believe that the word of God is truth and should be studied.
I say all that because it is important for us to understand each other’s beliefs in this area.
So, since I believe that the word of God is correct I will use it to show that men are all sinful.
Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 5:12
] Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
Romans 3:11
None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks God.
I believe that these verses speak for themselves. It is a hard thing to understand that we all born sinful. The bible says that “the sins of the father pass down to the son” That sin, I believe, is our sinful nature. I am fully aware of how believing this does bring up other issues, such as age of accountability and such. All I can say in these issues is that God is God and I am not, and there is no way for me to fully understand his ways until he allows me to understand.
Thank you for the compliment on my faith in God. I do agree with you that it is more important to recognize that we are sinners than how we became sinners. But I also think that “iron sharpens iron” and that by diving deeper into the word of God we come to these sort of issues that should be debated among believers so that we both may become sharper in the word of God.



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Jason Ramsey

posted February 3, 2009 at 12:47 pm


Dangerous ground Tony, go back to scripture



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Jason Ramsey

posted February 3, 2009 at 12:49 pm


Dangerous ground Tony, go back to scripture



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted February 4, 2009 at 12:33 am


R. Young.
Its interesting you describe me as impulsive, and haughty, treating others with contempt. Are you not treating me with the same contempt you chastise me for? Instead of embracing a fellow believer who holds Truth and Scripture to such a high standard.
Does my age make what i say untrue? Does my age change the words in the Bible?
NO, you are committing the argumentative fallacy of Ad hominem, where you attack the person rather than the argument.
It matters little what age I am, many have done great things in their youth, sometimes because of their ZEAL, because of their PASSION. A single example is John Calvin, who penned the Institutes of the Christian Religion at 23.
Would Paul have been fully effective without his zeal for Christ? Could Martin Luther have helped break the bonds of the Roman Catholic church without passion? Could any of the Apostles continued on without their full love for their God?
I see one of the things I love most, my Faith, being tampered and assaulted by those who wish to appeal to the wants of man.
You sir have no right, no grounds, and certainly no evidence to label any of those terms to someone you have never met, but only communicated with online.
Of all the people arguing here, we are the LEAST HAUGHTY! We are the ones stating that we are in fact totally depraved, lacking the ability to obtain righteousness in the eyes of God apart from Him only. Our argument is the least human, the least prideful of ourselves, the least edifying to the sinful nature of man.
If you did know me you would realize that i continually communicate with those around me, that i see what I am, I see my sinful nature, I see my lack of ability to please God through works, and I fully understand that the only thing that I have is Christ. I hold no sense of false pride for myself or my abilities, hold no selfish esteem for the things i do or participate in.
Ask Mr. Chris Russel, because he is one of my closest friends and pastor, who by the way, is also 22 years young, and holds many, if not all of the same views as myself and has no issue with my “impulsive zeal” for scripture.
I will not heed to the unrealistic plea that my age makes me less effective, but will continue to contend for the Faith, in what ever medium, media, or method God leads me to.



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Bud Press

posted February 4, 2009 at 4:22 am


Tony Jones’ article, “Original Sin: A Depraved Idea” is a depraved idea from his vain imagination, and demonstrates how easy it is to be conditioned and deceived into believing a lie. Worst yet, Tony Jones is calling God and His written word a liar:
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10. See also Romans 3:9-20).
We are witnessing the Biblical warnings unfold before our very eyes:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
People do not have to be deceived. Stand strong for Jesus Christ. Study God’s written word and trust it over-and-above what men with depraved ideas say.
Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Service



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Eli

posted February 4, 2009 at 9:31 am


Amen Bud. Just more evidence of just how far from sound doctrine the emergent church is heading. To say original sin is unbiblical boots the need for our Savior, right out the door. Which actually is right of the alley of the emergent church proponenets. Jude knew what he was talking about:
Jude 1 3-4: Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[b] and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tony, for your own good, and the salvation of others that hangs in the balance, RETURN TO SOUND DOCTRINE MAN!!



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Carol

posted February 4, 2009 at 10:53 am


My comment is given in the spirit of love and I pray it is taken as such. I only had to scan through a few of the comments here to know people are acting according to the flesh and not the Word of God. We cannot erase sin. Only Jesus can. In fact He has already and we must adhere to sound doctrine given by the Holy Spirit of God and not our own ideas. Sin is apparent as I look around me. How can anyone deny it? Tony Jones or anyone else. What we need to do is accept the fact that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and all our righteousness is as filthy rags. It is this fact that leads us to repentance and belief in the only one who has power over sin. And if we believe the Word, then we believe that it is Christ who lives in us because our flesh was crucified on the cross with Him. To take away sin is to take away Christ and to take away Christ is to serve the devil. Do not be deceived, all will be judged according to what they have done whether it be good or bad. Fear God! Believe and repent and turn away from sin and allow the Holy Spirit to change your life! Give your burdens to Jesus because He cares for you! Examine yourself. Do not think that you cannot fall from grace. But we know that where there is sin, grace abounds all the more. Praise God and worship the King with your bodies. This is our spiritual act of worship.



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted February 4, 2009 at 12:33 pm


and R. Young
Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for other believers in your speech, behavior, love, faithfulness, and purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)



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Diane Conklin

posted February 4, 2009 at 1:14 pm


Scripture speaks for itself about Tony Jones’ departure from it, and how believers are to respond to false teachers:
SEPARATION FROM ALL RELIGIOUS APOSTASY IS COMMANDED OF GOD
SEPARATION FROM FALSE TEACHERS AND FROM RELIGIOUS APOSTASY WORD STUDY
Definitions below are specific to the word usage per each verse. The following two resources were used to determine definitions: The Complete Word Study New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. and Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
Ø “mark” (4648) – literally, to spy out; to look at, behold, watch, contemplate
Ø “divisions” (1370) – literally, a standing apart; a separate faction
Ø “offenses” (4625) – occasions of stumbling, teaching of things contrary to sound doctrine
Ø “doctrine” (1322) – teaching; that which has been taught
Ø “learned” (3129) – be increased in knowledge
Ø “avoid” (1578) – to turn away from, to turn aside
Ø Note under “heretic” (141) – See Ro 16:17 where clearly one still belongs to the fellowship, but whom the fellowship eventually had to exclude.
“A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject” (Titus 3:10).
Ø “heretic” (141) – pertaining to choice, capable of choice; hence an opinion, especially a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of truth, and leads to division and the formation of sects.
Ø “admonition” (3559) – literally, a putting in mind; of that which is to be administered for the correction of one who creates trouble in the church; of remonstrance, reproof, blame, as required.
Ø “reject” (3868) – to decline, refuse, avoid
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed: For he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 10).
Ø “doctrine” (1322) – teaching; that which has been taught
Ø “receive” (2983) – to take persons, or receive persons
Ø “house” (3614) – dwelling, residence, family abode
Ø “bid” (3004) – to speak, to say
Ø “Godspeed” (5463) – to rejoice, to give greeting; the author of 2 John 10 forbids that such a salutation should be given to heretical teachers.
Ø “partaker” (2841) – participate, be a partaker in or of something
Ø “evil” (4190) – labor, sorrow, pain; evil in a moral or spiritual sense: wicked, malicious, mischievous
Ø “deeds” (2041) – act: performance, doing, labor, work
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).
Ø “form” (3446) – the external form of the Christian life with no inner power, the mere appearance or mask of pious conduct; an outward semblance of godliness.
Ø “godliness” (2150) – holiness, to worship, devotion, piety toward God; the doctrine which is according to godliness signifies that which is consistent with godliness, in contrast to false teachings.
Ø “denying” (720) – to reject, retract, renounce, deny, disown, disavow, refuse
Ø “power” (1411) – inherent power; being able, capable
Ø “turn away” (665) – to cause to turn away; to deflect, avoid
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).
Ø “we” (2249) – only used when emphatic [expressed with emphasis], us, we, ourselves
Ø “preach any other gospel” (2097) – is almost always used of “the good news” concerning the Son of God as proclaimed in the gospel [exceptions are…Gal. 1:8]
Ø “preached” (2097) – to evangelize, declare, proclaim the good news
Ø “accursed” (331) – given up to a curse and destruction; the object on which the curse is laid; in Gal. 1:8-9, the apostle declares in the strongest manner that the gospel he preached was the one and only way of salvation, and that to preach another was to nullify the death of Christ.



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Rev Peter Hodge

posted February 6, 2009 at 8:12 am


Well are we to be surprised by this latest heresy from Tony Jones of the so called “emerging church?” We are clearly warned by God’s Word that this sort of thing would get more and more prominant in the days leading up to the second coming of our Lord and perhaps even more disturbing that more and more people would believe it. I’m going to say something that may cause a stir now. I don’t thing that any believer should pray for Tony Jones or any other false teacher who ought to know better and I site Rev.22:11 (read in context) in support.



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Mike Yarbrough

posted February 6, 2009 at 2:56 pm


The Bible warns us over and over again to be on guard against false teachers…the “Emergent Church” is full of such teachers who deny the Bible…ask yourself, where have we seen this before? why it is the major thing that the devil questioned with Eve in the garden and so it continues today and men like Jones have fallen for it just as Eve did so many years ago…follow this pied piper at your own peril…



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R. Young

posted February 8, 2009 at 9:31 am


Mr. Russell
I do not view youth as a liability nor an impediment to an interesting and lively debate.
A co-worker of mine approached me one day to inquire if I had read “The DaVinci Code” and what I thought of the bible. My response was to propose that if there was indeed a God, and He was omnipotent, would He allow His main instrument of communication to become corrupted? That pretty much sums up my view of the bible.
It sounds like we also agree on the sinfulness of man. Totally depraved. However, you state that the bible says the sins of the father “pass down” to the son. If you are referencing Exodus 20:5, Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18, or Deuteronomy 5:9, the term is “paqad” – translated “visiting” in the KJV. It is an interesting word and scholars do not agree on what exactly is meant here. I know that He didn’t use the word “yacar” – punish, or “chata” – blame. Whatever is meant, He states pretty clearly in Ezekiel 18 man’s personal responsibility is for his own sin, not his father’s.
Mr. O’Keefe,
I did not disparage you on account of your youth, nor did I describe you as impulsive and haughty. I simply noted that those qualities are often the hallmarks of the young. I did, however, regretfully call you a superior, self-righteous, jerk. I did that because you seem insecure in the force of your own argument and so resort to snide remarks. “(Did yo)u read the whole chapter??” “Maybe that page fell out, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt there.” Now, are those comments advancing your argument? Are they designed to help me to see my errors? Were they said in love? Would you talk to someone you respect that way? Your father? Your God? Are you advancing the gospel? Do you think you converted anyone on this site to your way of thinking? I came not to influence but to be persuaded and finally the only thing I am convinced of is your disdain for people who disagree with you. I imagine you will interpret this as an attack and seek to defend yourself. Taking a critical view of one’s character can be difficult and even painful, but necessary if you would like to be more effective.
Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. Ps 141:5



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Keanon O'Keefe

posted February 8, 2009 at 10:52 pm


Haha
R. young I know I haven’t converted anyone, ever. That credit goes to God the Father and Him alone. My disdain is for those who abandon the canon of scripture, and if your statement of belief on that is true, which I pray it is, then I would never have had a quarrel with you. But the idea that one can live without sin, however hypothetical, is wrong and impossible. Its a simple and fundamental Christian belief and IS scriptural, as we tried to show you.
I seek not your approval, but the approval of my youth kids, their parents, my parents, my fellow bible believing Christians, my Pastors, my mentors, and above all of these, God.
I see daily growth and joy in the youth I work with and the Pastoral leadership has no issue with me or my, and i will agree with you here, abrasive ways. I understand sarcasm can offend, especially when on an impersonal medium such as the internet where you can not interpret tone, but yes all I do, I do with love for my God and His teachings and for the Kingdom.
True love for others includes never compromising scripture when approaching a controversial issue. Some of us have been created differently than the rest, and will debate and contend in different ways. Paul was quite abrasive in his methods of teaching and combating error, as was Christ.
So I simply wash my hands of this argument with you R. Young, because you seem unable to accept a view contrary to yours. You accuse me of the same action, but I and the others here who stand in agreement have scripture on our side, so I will not falter.
Maybe arguing with me feels like looking in a mirror.
God Bless



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Rev Peter Hodge

posted February 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm


Why is it taht these topics nearly always seem to degenerate into arguments?



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R. Young

posted February 10, 2009 at 10:21 pm


Mr. O’Keefe and Mr. Russell,
But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
2 Thessalonians 3:13-15
Robert Young



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raphael

posted February 19, 2009 at 8:11 am


tony, you’re starting to go too far with what you’re believing in. and to say that it’s absolutely true that original sin doesn’t exist is in itself a fault on your own belief system. since the emergent church is supposed to stand by that absolutes cannot be made so easily. so in this case, you’d have to be open to the idea still to original sin. won’t it be logically based that over thousands of years, original sin is still taught? can something like that what you may call ‘heretical’ have lasted all these years in Christianity? look at all the old teachings. the best scholars (yes, some even better than you guys) have stood by the doctrine of original sin.
did you even read your bible? original sin can be found in a lot of passages. in adam all die, in Christ there is life.
you’re dabbling on pelagianism, and that was already ruled out as heresy long ago.



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Lafe

posted February 26, 2009 at 3:25 pm


Tony J.,
Romans 5: 12, 14 convict you of your apostasy…that is, if you were really one of us.
By trying to re write Holy Writ to fit your own passion and desire of not answering for your sin to a holy God, you have detracted from the Word of God and for that you are under a curse. You need to repent and believe the Gospel and contend for the faith (Jude).
Your man made philosophy will not serve you at the day of judgment.
Your will stand on your own and the Word of God convicts you or rejecting the final and finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross wherein he died for the sins of the world.
Yes Tony, there is original sin and you are a sinner in need of salvation. Your good works just won’t cut it.



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William

posted July 23, 2009 at 8:47 am


Hello SIR,
I want to share my view of original sin as I interpret the bible. Original Sin is real, it exist, but not in the way that most people think it does. Original sin is merely the first sin ever committed, that is, by Adam and his lovely wife Eve, in the garden of Eden. And that’s all it means. Due to that sin, certain effects or consequences take place, such as pain during child labor and working the fields for food. Humans are born into the effects of that sin, NOT THE SIN ITSELF. Allow me to make an analogy. Let’s suppose for a moment that a woman has promiscuos sex with a man who turns out to have AIDS. In turn the woman becomes infected also. She finds out later that she is also pregnant. Now when the baby is born, it too has AIDS. The sin of the woman is fornication, the effect of that sin is AIDS. So her baby isn’t born with her sin but the effect of her sin. That is what happens with original sin. We are NOT born with the sin itself rather its effect (a likelihood and propensity to sin). In other words, I am stating that humans are in fact born sinless but due to the extreme sinful conditions into which we are born, the likelihood that we will sin becomes insurmountable and we sin.
Secondly, how can anyone who believes that almighty GOD who is all-loving, all-merciful and all-just could imput the sin of one person onto another person who had nothing to do with it. It is like my brother robbing and bank and the police arresting and encarcerating his entire family and finding them guilty of bank robbery. That is the exact thing that is occurring when we say the GOD does that. Does that seem like a fair, just and loving GOD.



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mabus

posted August 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm


honestly, the idea of original sin goes against many biblical ideas, and it seems like the idea that only Christ (and not the Father) forgives was added as an afterthought to keep the sheep from questioning why Adam wasn’t just forgiven instead of being eternally tortured just for eating an apple.
furthermore, since Adam tried to do what he perceived as “right” (by clothing himself) when he had the knowledge of both good AND evil seems to devalue the argument that mankind is inherently evil. also, since he didn’t have this knowledge BEFORE he ate the apple, how could he have known it was wrong, just because God “warned” him about it?
the Catholic church (which pretty much owned the Bible racket for countless centuries) has committed numerous heretical atrocities in their own right, including “editing the word of God” numerous times… how does any man see himself as fit to EDIT the word of God? who knows what was added into the scripture purely for deception?



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Daniel

posted September 6, 2009 at 1:04 pm


This doctrine of original sin is completely unknown as a Jewish doctrine, not one of the Jewish systems — orthodox, coservative, liberal or whatever holds to this system. In fact, there is no reference to it even in the dead sea scrolls. Without the doctrine of original sin, the mary hearsays all fall flat because there is no need for a sinless mary demon, nor a need for an ever virgin. One need only read Eze 18 to see that biblically speaking the doctrine of original sin is biblically impossible.



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Tony Arens

posted February 9, 2010 at 10:45 am


Tony – if you pray about it and ask the spirit for guidance on this, I have to believe that the truth will be revealed to you. Perhaps you are placing these historical and more recent theologians and professors too high up on the pedestal – you won’t find truth there – only in the spirit. Pray for guidance and you’re questions will be answered! You have great energy with regard to pursuit of the truth, but I think maybe you’re looking in the wrong places…
TA



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Athelstan

posted February 15, 2010 at 3:00 am


Tony- I too reject the idea of original sin. A child’s vision which has no basis in genetics, history, anthropology. It is Paul’s, not St. Augustine’s or Calvin’ doctrine, and it has received far too much attention by child-like Christians since he established it. Upon this faulty foundation we also have the noxious and false doctrine of justification by faith , either with works or alone.
Christ came into the world and was crucified and died to blot out our nature based in concupiscence which we have by virtue of the free will with which we are born. Adam has nothing to do with it.
Baptism simply makes you a member of Christ’s inner circle. It is an initiatory rite and nothing else. Blotting out the sin of Adam or original sin with which we are invested at birth is phantasmagorical. A total concoction first produced by St. Paul and then passed on as as established given.
Ask yourself this, if Adam sinned and this was passed on to us as a natural state of ours down through time, without our consent or say in the matter at any point, why would God then need to forgive you Himself or by Christ’s atoning death for this natural, inherited state of sin with which God had endowed you at birth? God becomes the author of SIN. This is contradictory and makes no sense. It destroys the whole foundation for Christianity and the need for a Saviour.



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Athelstan

posted February 15, 2010 at 3:16 am


Poor Mabus. Nobody doctored –butchered would be a better term– the Scriptures more than Luther did by adding “solo” to “fidei”. The entire canon of Scripture is largely “doctored” stories based upon an oral tradition which more than likely leaves out more of what Christ said and taught than it ever included. This is generally true of the texts of ALL religions.
Reading the history of the early Christian Church together with, particularly, the pre-Nicene Fathers, will ultimately pull down the underpinnings of one’s faith in evangelical protestantism faster than any one denomination’s manipulation of Scripture could ever accomplish to justify it’s teaching.



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Sandy

posted March 24, 2010 at 9:20 pm


I also reject the doctrine of Original Sin. I came to realize this when I started studying the Scriptures for myself back in 2005. Since then my website has been dedicated to doctrine and Biblically refuted. It makes sin a ‘substance,’ which it is not. Sin is a moral issue, not a physical issue. The doctrine of original sin also affects other doctrines of the Bible. All this may be read on my webpage.
Thank you for your time.
Sandy
http://www.dividingword.net



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Cris Conti

posted February 12, 2013 at 11:55 am


Totally agree with you. In the hands of the clergy of most churches, the doctrine of the Original Sin has been a tool for the manipulation of the laypersons.



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Clif

posted January 26, 2014 at 10:37 pm


I agree that original sin is not biblical. However, does this mean a person could hypothetically live a perfect life. If so, why do we need a savior?



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