Siloam's Pool
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Hey guys! I am honored that you would take the time to read this blog. I hope that what I have to share will be worth your time. You may ask yourself, "What's up with the title of this blog?" The title Siloam's Pool comes from John 9:7. There was a man who came to Jesus who was born blind. As Jesus and the disciples passed by the man, Jesus used this man's condition to teach an important spiritual lesson to his followers. Jesus affirmed that the man had been born blind in order that God might be honored through this man's life. Then Jesus said in a dramatic statement, "We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:4-5). He then told the man to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. The name "Siloam" means "sent." The man went and washed and came back seeing. It is my hope that through this blog, that perhaps someone might see as a result of the truth that is shared here. I will do my best to honor your time. God bless!

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09
The Doctrine of Sin
October 9, 2008

I just thought I would share with you a little of my theological book I seem to be writing. I hope that this generates some good discussion.


            The doctrine of sin is one that impacts many different doctrines that we hold. It affects how we view the person and will of God, our doctrine of humanity, our doctrine of salvation, and our doctrine of ecclesiology. A proper understanding of the doctrine of sin will lead to a better understanding in all of these doctrines as well.

            The Bible uses many different words to describe sin, but the effects of sin are destruction of the sinner (Rom. 3:23) and a violation against the character of God (Rom. 2:23). Many have tried to determine the essential nature of sin. Some argue that it is the disruption of shalom. Others argue that idolatry is at the heart of sin, citing passages like Genesis 11:4-9 and the summation of the law in Mark 12:30. Selfishness, pride, sensuality, rebellion, and unbelief are also given as possibilities for the essential nature of sin. All of these have merit for describing sin, but at the heart of all of them is a placing of oneself above God, which is idolatry. This seems to be the best explanation for the heart of our sins.

The early church was not very systematic on the doctrine of sin; however we can glean some important insights from the church fathers. While asserting the responsibility of every man for his sins, Justin Martyr believed Adam set a bad example for us in Genesis 3. Irenaeus held that all were guilty of participating in Adam’s sin, while Tertullian held to the idea of inherited sin, holding to a traducianistic view. Augustine was the first to interpret Romans 5:12 as teaching that man was physically present in Adam, which led to an interesting teaching that infants were guilty of original sin and needed baptism to cleanse them of it. Thomas Aquinas believed the original sin clouds human reason and is passed down through reproduction. Among other important developments were Zwingli’s teaching of sin as a disease, Luther’s teaching of the total loss of the imago dei, Calvin’s teaching of depravity as a hereditary corruption, Schleiermacher’s view of sin as the dominance of the flesh over the spirit and the corporate guilt of humanity, Rauschenbusch’s social gospel which tried to explain the entry of death into the world while denying the historicity of the garden account, and Barth’s view that we all reenact the scene in the garden in our individual experiences. Dagg argued that the human will was not lost in the fall but was corrupted, Boyce advocated the natural and federal headship views, and Mullins viewed the fall as progressive. All of these views have helped to shape our understanding of sin.
 
Sin is an affront against the person of God that is universal in whom it affects (Rom. 3:23) and leaves us totally depraved (Jer. 17:9). Many theories exist to describe the doctrine of original sin. Pelagianism denies original sin, while Arminianism holds that we are only responsible for the sins that we commit. Others hold that Adam represented man in the fall (federal headship) or that we were present in Adam seminally (natural headship). Romans 5:12-19 makes clear that sin and death entered the world through Adam, but the rendering of the interpretation of verse 12 is the hinge on which theory a person may take (natural vs. federal).
 
Original sin has major implications for the salvation of infants and the mentally handicapped. What happens to these people when they die has been of major concern to many and can be a comfort to parents who have lost small children. There seems to be biblical evidence for an age of accountability as indicated in Num. 14:29-31 and Deut. 1:39. David also gave insight on this in 2 Sam. 12:23. Many other passages can be used as evidence for this belief, but the main issue is whether a person is capable of repenting. If not mentally able, whether by age or by mental ability, it seems that God’s grace covers those individuals. Millard Erickson has been very instrumental in helping to shape a proper understanding on this issue, by stating that a person becomes responsible when they accept or approve their corrupt nature.
 
Sin’s consequences are far reaching, affecting our relationship with God, as well as with others and ourselves. Sin brings the wrath of God upon us (Eph. 2:3), enmity with God (Gen. 3:7; Jams. 4:4), guilt, punishment (Rom. 6:23), and death, both physical (Gen. 3:19) and spiritual (Rev. 20:14-15). Sin affects our relationship with others by alienating us from one another through jealousies and hatreds. Disharmony (Gal. 5:19-21) and envy also result from our sins. We become stuck in a pattern of sin that affects not only ourselves, but others as well. We also reap the consequences of our sins. We are held in bondage to sin (Rom. 6:17) and have a self-centeredness we cannot escape (Jms.3:16). We are in delusion (Jer. 17:9), denying our sinfulness and declaring our own righteousness.
 
This doctrine is one that impacts the church on many levels. Because of the immensity of sin, we must now interpret the problems of society in the light of that sinfulness. We must realize that human nature must be evaluated in light of the fall. To fail to make this distinction is to fail to address the heart of the problem. As a church, we must also teach that sin is not God’s norm for mankind. It is not how we were originally intended to be. We also need to realize that humanity is so mired in sin that only Christ can change a person. Government has its limitations in that it cannot change a person’s heart, but can only force a person to obey through the authority vested in it. In order to address these problems, the church must be involved in calling people to repentance and restoration. We must be careful to point out sin and quick to restore people when they have fallen and repented. They need to know the justice and mercy of God, not just a one-sided view, as many are prone to give. The doctrine of sin has far reaching implications that must be evaluated in light of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
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