There is a hesitance, actually more like a firm resistance, to calling any behavior, “sin.” When the issue of sexual lifestyles are discussed, even evangelicals are wary of labeling any one behavior as sin. It’s the word we want to run far, far way from. Nobody sins anymore. They make mistakes. They were born that way. They are misunderstood.
The Bible, however, has clear categories. And some things are sin. Sexual license is sin. Murder is sin. Libel is sin. Gossip is sin. Furthermore, the Bible doesn’t just say that humans commit sin, but that humans are actually, by nature, sinners. That is they aren’t naturally good people who sometimes fall off the wagon and sin. We are sinners by nature.
One idea I saw a lot of growing up goes along with the “once saved, always saved” doctrine. I think the doctrine has good intentions towards assurance of salvation, but expects way too little from the faithfulness of God. The implications can lead to what seems like a double life. Assured that praying “the prayer” gives you your permanent ticket to heaven, the necessity of becoming an actual disciple who is being transformed into the image of Christ becomes a mere suggestion. Many opt to maybe get to that part later, and really don’t wrestle with sin. Perseverance isn’t like a race at all (Heb. 12:1-2), but a confidence in one’s own words, and maybe the way they felt when they prayed them.
The cover story is an interview by the missionary “Gene Daniels” (not his real name) with a Muslim follow of Isa named “Abu Jaz” (also not his real name). While we can clearly learn from someone like Gene Daniels laboring in a difficult Muslim context, and while we must certainly rejoice to hear of Abu Jaz’s commitment to Christ, the interview also raises a number of questions and concerns. Let me raise three of each.
As the audience for the Super Bowl has grown over the years, so has the price tag for in-game advertising. With the higher prices, comes increased pressure on advertisers to outdo one another for memorability and influence. The result is that the “line” is pushed further and further every year. Advertisers want to have the commercial that is THE topic of discussion on social media and around the water cooler on Monday. Consequently, a polarization has occurred. We have created two Americas: a noble, inspired America and a sophomoric, risque America. Sunday night’s latest installment of commercials seemed to have brought us to a new crossroads for both audiences and advertisers: will we point to the noble or race to the bottom?