Many Christians today don’t like to talk about sin. We’d rather talk about positive things like love, kindness, social action, acceptance and so forth. But the Bible does speak of sin, and most of us have a doctrine of sin–even of sin in the believer’s life. I sometimes doubt if we have fully thought through the practical implications of our “hamartiology” or doctrine of sin. I don’t have them all here, but I’ve noticed among students coming into college there are five main views of sin in a believer’s life.
There are other views, but these are the most common ones. What I often don’tsee is a consistent application of these views. Often a person uses one view for themselves, but another view for others. Or they will opt for one view for certain sins and another one for other sins. It seems to me that good theology plays out in the trenches of life, not just in theoretical discussions. So it seems fair to apply one’s position on “sin in believers” to specific sins to test their validity. Let’s test these views on homosexual sin. (We could use adultery, porn or lying just as easily, but homosexuality will hold your attention better.) How would these views play out for a person claiming to be a “practicing Christian homosexual?”
When confronted with this real-life situation, I note that student opinions tend to shift down the chart. While they tend toward the upper views in theory when applied to homosexual sin, they quickly shift downward—even to position five, the promised deliverance from the inclination to sin (the classic “holiness position” espoused by my denomination for many years, though not so strongly recently).
What I’m wondering is this: Does today’s popular harmatology predict tomorrow’s position on homosexual acts?
© 2007, Keith Drury
Keith Drury served The Wesleyan Church headquarters in Christian Education and Youth leadership for 24 years before becoming a professor of religion at Indiana Wesleyan University. He is the author of more than a dozen books of practical spirituality, including Holiness for Ordinary People, Common Ground and Ageless Faith. Keith Drury wrote the Tuesday Column for 17 years (1995-2012), and many articles can be found on his blog “Drury Writing.”
Keith Drury retired from full time teaching in 2012. Keith is married to Sharon and has two adult sons and several grandchildren. He is retired in Florida with Sharon and enjoys cycling.