IGNORANCE PROTECTS AND PERPETUATES THE DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN
Most Christians who profess to believe in the doctrine of original sin are ignorant of exactly what its teachings really are. They are ignorant of the fact that the doctrine has not always existed. They are ignorant of the fact that it evolved, that it had its roots in a heathen philosophy, and that it was made a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church in the 5th century A.D. They are ignorant of the fact that it is only a theory, and that there is really not one but several differing theories that have evolved and come down to us in the church. They are also ignorant of the fact that the Bible passages used as proof-texts for this doctrine have been taken out of context and tortured into teaching a doctrine that is completely foreign to the Bible. Finally, they are ignorant of the fact that the doctrine of original sin is an evil doctrine that corrupts Christian practice, blackens the character of God, excuses sin in the sinner, contradicts the Bible, makes Jesus a sinner, harms the cause of Christ, and stumbles professing Christians into hell. And it is this ignorance of Christians concerning these facts that helps to protect and perpetuate the doctrine of original sin.
I must confess that at one time I also preached that men are born sinners. At that time I had only been saved a short while and had little knowledge of the Word of God. I testified and preached at street meetings, in jail services, and in missions and taught that men are sinners and lost because they were "conceived and born in sin." Why? Because that is what I had heard other preachers preach. I was ignorant at that time concerning the very doctrine I was preaching. But at the time I was preaching this I felt a check in my spirit. I did not feel right about telling sinners that they were sinners and on their way to hell because they were born sinners. My God-given convictions of justice told me that a sinner could not be to blame for and could not sincerely repent for the nature he was born with. It was later, in my studies of theology at Bethany Bible College, that I came across a copy of Charles G. Finney's Lectures on Systematic Theology and, through it, came to realize that the doctrine of original sin was a false and unbiblical doctrine.
The doctrine of original sin is not only false and unbiblical, it is also gross superstition. At one time men thought that the earth was flat and that sailors were in danger of sailing off the edge of the world. Now, regrettably, there is superstition in the church concerning the most fundamental doctrine of the Bible the doctrine of sin for the church teaches that sin can be propagated and that men are born sinners.
Are men born sinners? Our answer to this question will affect our attitude toward sin and will ultimately affect our conduct as well. The Christian's views on sin cannot help but affect his conduct. If the Christian believes he is born with a sinful nature and sins unavoidably because of that nature, he is not likely to view his sins as the serious crimes they really are. If he believes he has a nature that makes holiness impossible, he is not likely to be concerned about sinning against God. If he believes that God is his Creator and that he has been created with a sinful nature, this must affect his attitude toward God and the justice of God's dealings with man.
Are men born sinners? Our answer to this question is of supreme importance. For how we answer it will have a direct bearing on our attitude toward sin, toward God, and toward holy Christian living.
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