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August 31, 2015

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Live it consistently? That's not going to happen, because Christians are sinners. Ashley Madison is just one example of something that keeps happening over and over. Let's face it - being born again does not suddenly make you sinless. You keep on sinning - maybe a bit less, or less enthusiastically - but you're still a sinner. The difference is that Christians are forgiven!

Live it consistently? ... The difference is that Christians are forgiven!

John Moore,

Your post does nail it cleanly. But ... what of the rest of the world? What of the Ashley Madison users who are "nones" or "agnostic" or "fulfilled atheist"?

In the question of morality, the argument will always be about an external standard and a culturally derived ethic (the make-it-up-as-you-go-along morality). It is well established that we are good at neither one.

Andy Bannister made a valid point in his The Atheist Who Didn't Exist on the issue of relative ethics and self-actuated morality. He states (on page 162):
Of course, if there is such a transcendent source of goodness, it raises some troubling issues quite quickly, one of which being what the implications are if we fall short of it. After all, if goodness is not something controlled by us, not just a word hammered into shape on an anvil of our own making, then, heaven forbid, it might turn out that we're not actually good. If "good" is under my control, there's a natural tendency to assume that I'm it, and those people over there are bad. But if the darned thing is transcendent -- well, it might turn out that I'm as messed up as the rest of the human race. After all, isn't the whole point of a standard that it enables us to see what or who does not measure up? What if the answer, at one level, is "none of us"?

In all moral questions and ethical matters, there is a degree of "botched factor." Whether divine standard or morality decided on by social compact, failure to abide by the dicta is 100% certain (I submit the evidence of the boulevard stop at intersections with prominently displayed stop signs). In the failure to abide by the divine standard, there are dire consequences or divine grace. This is the forgiveness you allude to. If the morality is based on a set of injunctions which contravene or reject the divine standard, can we be assured of grace? grace is extended to those who hold to God's commandments and still realize our failure to hold it. What of those who wont' respect God's commandments and offer a replacement system of morality? Will there be a replacemnt grace for those who flub?

John Moore,

The idea that Christians can consistantly live out their faith is assumed throughout the NT. Consistancy does not equal perfection.

Christians bleating that "I'm a terrible sinner, but forgiven", is one of the worst things you could say to a non Christian.

We should be visibly better than non Christians in our moral choices. This is completly possible and has been demonstrated by the Church throughout history.

If you are not getting stronger in your faith over time, something is wrong, and you need to examine yourself.

The rash of high profile Christian Leader moral failures hurts our witness. Coral Ridge, Joshua Harris, TGC protecting child molesters, Driscoll, Sproul. Hmm. What do these guys have in common?

Brett is so right in his comments. Great job, Brett!

If so many of the leaders stumble, how much more must the ordinary laypeople? It's just that nobody can see the sinfulness, but let's not pretend it isn't there.

That's why Christians are sometimes called hypocrites. They don't just say you should be better, but they often seem to say they are better.

And anyway, it doesn't matter so much whether you act better, but the really important thing is to confess and receive forgiveness. Yes, you feel remorse and mortification about the fact that you still do what you don't want to do. But the whole point of Christianity is that you are forgiven, redeemed.

>> But the whole point of Christianity is that you are forgiven, redeemed.

John Moore,
Again you have nailed the key facet of Christian teaching. Bravo!

Still, I keep thinking some point is missed in all this...

>> That's why Christians are sometimes called hypocrites. They don't just say you should be better, but they often seem to say they are better.

In so doing, there is a violation of the speck and plank teaching of Christ (Mt. 7:3-5) This teaching applies to all. There is a hypocrisy where those who disagree with those PC advocates are subjected to all sorts of hateful vicious attacks and are called "intolerant and hateful." Honestly, intolerant to those who disagree and still insisting they are the paragons of tolerance! Pure speck and plank. A common human failing, not just the failing of the other side.

There is an honesty in the Christian faith where the believer takes responsibility for individual sins, the mea culpa. We do not concentrate on nostra culpa, our sin, but understand the reality. It is in the difficulty of addressing the universality of the situation where Gospel cedes to Law, if only to present the need of Gospel as the final, only solution. This is that forgiveness you mentioned. But in the situation of nostra culpa, the issue of forgiveness is a gift for some, an offer for others.

But in getting there we need to understand nostra culpa. This tends to spark ire, and then come all those tu quoque arguments. Let's just say it remains our problem, and merely calling one group hate-filled hypocrites is only obscuring matters.

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