"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Monday, November 2, 2009

On Original Sin & Prohibitions

In his book Sin Bravely, author Mark Ellingsen offers "a joyful alternative to a purpose-drive life." In it, the author speaks about Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and others who tend towards the Prosperity Gospel view which he finds caters to the self-centered, individualistic American mindset.

Critiquing the book is not the purpose of this post. (I've not finished it for one thing.) I wanted only to write down a couple of quotes. First about Martin Luther whom the author claims considered "even our best deeds" as sins. Luther wrote of original sin as a man's beard, something we are unable to get rid of by ourselves.

The original sin in a man is like his beard, which, though shaved off today so that a man is very smooth around his mouth, yet grows again by tomorrow morning. As long as a man is alive, such growth of the hair and the beard does not stop. But when the shovel beats the ground on his grave, it stops. Just so original sin remains in us and bestirs itself as long as we live. . . . (pg. 56)

On the next page, he writes:

Prohibitions have a way of causing rebellion, at least of the covert sort. When someone says "do it my way or else" or that you cannot undertake a certain activity, it is likely you will want to do that forbidden deed even more. In our sinful condition, we never outgrow our childishness. We are like children who are forbidden certain toys or teenagers wanting more "freedom." The prohibitions of God's Law make us want what is forbidden even more. The Law is indeed the curse St. Paul said it was in Galatians 3:10-14.


Amber said...


I've been back to read these a couple times, mostly because they're so out of context that I'm not entirely sure what the author means by even including them. Of course, as you said, you're not critiquing the book, since you haven't finished it yet. I expect we'll get a complete report later on. :)

a) *strokes perfectly smooth, never been shaved face* Sooo... does that mean girls get a pass on original sin? *grin*

b) I don't agree that we don't outgrow the childishness that comes from being told 'don't do that!'. Even if you agree that the Law is no longer valid, we're still expected to follow the Ten Commandments, right? Or does he think we should do away with those because being told 'don't murder' makes us want to commit murder? Yes, there is the lure of the forbidden, and as kids we do have that desire to do it, just because we're told not to, so we assume that it's fun! But as we grow, we learn better. Similarly, we start out as children in our faith (whether we are raised Christians or adult converts), and we grow out of the lure of the forbidden. As we grow in our faith, we realize that God tells us not to do certain things because they're not good for us.

So yeah. I'm guessing this author comes from the, 'we're all doooommeeed and *broken*' school. But that's just from your quote, so I could be wrong. :)

Nocturnal Queen said...

I'm not like that quote about wanting to do or have the forbidden. For instance, when I was single sex didn't tempt me at all. I knew it was wrong and since I wanted to please God, having sex before marriage was not a desire of mine.

When God's Word says something is wrong, then that's good enough for me. Why would I want something God doesn't want me to have? He knows best.

Marcus said...

Thanks for posting info on what you're reading. After reading the title when you posted on F'book the other day, you piqued my interested. I tucked it away to revisit later. With a bit of free time this evening, I came to your blog to see if you had posted anything about the book. Then, I started digging around a bit to find some info about Luther's "sin boldly" quotes. You've gotten me really interested in this book. I'd love to read a review when you're done.

Susanne said...

Amber, this book isn't long, but I've had to reread the same things over and over to "digest" them so it's taking me a while to get through it.

Yeah, it does seem the author comes from the school you mentioned, but he wants us to "sin bravely" instead of trying to be good. He said it's a matter of God's grace and not our being good. Actually he makes it sound like a joyful place to be - not one of doom and gloom. :)

I may write some more quotes from the book later. Sorry if they are out of context, but I can't quote the whole book. I'm just quoting things that seem thought-provoking to me. :)

I appreciate your comment.

Niki, I'm glad you never struggle with wanting the forbidden. Obviously that guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Thanks for your reply. :)

Marc, thank you. Always a pleasure to have you drop by. I'll see what I can do as far as reviewing the book. It may just be more quotes to ponder. :)