You’ve read this rant before, no doubt, but in the last week, the “imperfect sinner” hype has popped up before my eyes at least a dozen times. So I tweeted:
There are several problems here with the use of “imperfect” and “sinner.” First, we’re using them in senses that are strange to the Bible. Don’t we proclaim to be a people who call Bible things by Bible names? If so, we need to change our language.
“Perfect” is not used in the NT for sinless. It means complete or mature. Remember Mt 5.48? A commandment to be “perfect.”
“Sinner” is used of the one who continues in sin. Not good for Christians. Barry Newton has written well on this point over on Forthright Magazine.
Second, saints are using these terms to appeal to non-Christians as they try to come across as humble. That’s a laudable goal. But if we actually are humble, will that not be communicated in our manners and choice of words, rather than trying at first glance to proclaim it?
Also, does the use of these terms out there before pagans communicate that we’re afraid to say that Jesus saves, and saves completely? Are we afraid to declare that truth exists and that it has been revealed so that all can understand it? Use of these terms may well smell more of complacency or fear than humility.
However strong or weak the second point, the first warns us away from these terms.
¶ The March issue of the Gospel Advocate arrived yesterday by super-snail mail. Will be interesting to read the theme articles on advice to evangelists. My advice: Be one.
¶ Since following storms and tornados via Twitter on Sunday and Monday nights, out of concern for family members and friends, I’ve been doing more on that platform, even less on Facebook. Got an auto-feed going to a new account there, Sermon Lines. Might be of interest to one or two of you.
¶ Ben G. has a good article on how to convert unconverted Christians. He explains his terms, if that bothers you. Are there any, or many, lukewarm Christians in your congregation? Maybe we’re missing something, if there are many. Of course, there always have been such folk among us, since the first century, so it’s not a new phenomenon. But it’s worth asking if we’re omitting something in restoring the New Testament church.
¶ The StrongChurch guys think at least three things are missing, in the article, Three Major Differences Between Us and the Early Church. Uh-oh! More restoring to do, if they’re right. What think you?
¶ I’m a confessed headline gazer, rather than a news reader. So I miss details. That’s OK with me, however, since they’re usually depressing. One headline, actually, several, say an Oklahoma criminal apparently felt pain before his death penalty kicked in. Outcry is raised. But I didn’t hear an outcry when he buried his victim alive. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
¶ Please understand that I’m not in favor of making people suffer. But it strikes me that today’s methods are much more humane, if they can be called that — or we might better say that today people are more squeamish — than, say, stoning, mandated by God in the OT. That had to hurt, and hurt for some moments before the stonee was dead.
¶ Speaking of hurt and death penalty, our Lord had just gotten the news about the Baptizer’s beheading, and he sought to be alone. “Now when Jesus heard this he went away from there privately in a boat to an isolated place” Mt 14.13 NET. The multitude came after him, he felt compassion for them, he multiplied fish and bread to feed them. Even in his grief, he could serve. Not a bad lesson for us, when our emotional banks are low, is it not? (He did get some time alone, later, v. 23.)
¶ NaPoWriMo comes to an end today, for 2014. I’ve not been as regular as back in 2011. But I did get some good stuff out there, one or two, among the someteens I wrote this month. Glad for that. One more yet to go, also.
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