Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Sin and Worship
Worship services in evangelical churches do not mention sin, a major part of the Gospel message, Dr. Cornelius Plantinga, senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, said Monday at the Ethics and Public Policy Center's Faith Angle Forum.Why does this matter? Because sin is fundamental to our understanding of just what it means to be Christian. We are first sinners and the Christian life is an effort to move away from that.
"In very many evangelical and confessionally Reformed churches these days, sin is a rare topic," he said.
He came to this conclusion from his experience of speaking in different churches most Sundays for the past 30 years, talking to evangelical friends, observing the content of worship music used by evangelical churches, and reading the books and articles of Dr. David Wells, distinguished senior research professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Plantinga explained to the conference of journalists.
Anglicans, Catholics and Lutherans continue to include confession or a rite of penitence as a regular part of their worship services, he noted. But in evangelical and Reformed churches, he sees "less and less" sin-related material every year.
That is quite different from a view that says we are more or less OK - but need God to clean us up around the edges a bit - especially that whole self-image thing.
There is a big difference between being a sinner that seeks to overcome sin in order to feel good about yourself and simply seeking to feel good about yourself. Make that a huge difference. The latter will justify our sin in order the feel good about ourselves. That is very dangerous stuff.
The piece goes on to say, "One of the reasons Plantinga believes evangelical worship leaves out sin is a desire to be "seeker friendly" and avoid topics that may turn off non-Christians or new Christians." I cannot help but wonder if they would be turned on to learn that the reason they feel bad about themselves is becasue of attributes about themselves that can be fixed - by Christ. Rather than put a new coat of pain on this miserable existence, if we are but willing to acknowledge the miserableness of our existence, a new one awaits us.
The good news is not that we are good, but that god makes us good.
confession self image sin