Dealing with the Word “Sin”

This was such a helpful and insightful thread on Twitter from Derek Rishmawy (PhD at TEDS, blogger here) on the consequences of renaming the biblical term “sin.”


Recent Christian euphemisms for sin (broken, weak, mistake, failure, etc.) are helpful insofar as they help paint a textured landscape hearers can recognize, and highlighting Biblical themes regarding the corruption of humanity, making it pitiable & needing compassion.

But insofar as you stay there, you lose:

1. It’s theological orientation (sin is sin primarily in respect to and against God).

2. You also lose a proper sense of human agency and responsibility. “Sin” can be repented of. “Brokenness”? Not so much.

Which means there’s something morally bracing about having sin named as sin and not only a wounded psyche (as real a component as that is).  So, terms like “transgression”, “rebellion”, “iniquity” need to fill out our vocabulary of the act and condition of sin.

Basically, use a wide, deep vocabulary for a wide and deep phenomenon.  Don’t reduce it.  Scripture doesn’t.


derekrishmawyDerek Rishmawy is a regular contributor to sites like The Gospel Coalition, Christ and Pop Culture, The Local Church, Mere Orthodoxy, and Christianity Today.

Originally posted via Twitter

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