Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Words and Meaning

David T. Koyzis writes at First Things about proposed changes in liturgical language:
This is where matters get more dicey. Does it make a difference that the word sin might be replaced with evil in the proposed revision? I believe it does, yes. To oppose evil does not necessarily entail recognition of its presence within myself. I can reject the evil found in oppressive systems out there or in the pettiness of my neighbour next door. But I needn’t look into my own heart. I can, if I like, but the altered rite itself seems not to require it. By contrast, if I am asked, “Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?”, I am compelled to look within, to weigh my own heart in the balance and actively to renounce certain destructive tendencies within myself.

This may not comport with a modern or postmodern worldview, but it nevertheless flows out of a biblical framework within which repentance from sin brings divine forgiveness and is tied inextricably to salvation in Jesus Christ. No liturgical revision should obscure this central element of the gospel message.
I find this to be an extraordinarily concise description of that problems confronting most of modern Christianity. It is as if by becoming a part of the church, we are joining the army to battle evil out there, never realizing that we are the source of the evil. The problems all seem to be "out there." We fight poverty and hunger, we go on short term missions, we sally forth in political battle, but we never sit down and look at ourselves.

Christianity will "fix" the world - it promises that, but it does so by helping each of us fix ourselves, one person at a time.


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