Note: This article uses the word “sin” from an Evangelical perspective. Personally, I don’t believe in “sin.” There’s good and bad behavior. Evangelicals often call Adam plunging the human race into sin “the fall.”
According to Evangelicals, “sin” is defined as transgression of the Law of God. From the moment of conception, humans have a sin nature. People don’t become sinners, they are sinners. According to the Bible, sinners are enemies of God, haters of all that is good. It is sin that separates sinners from God and will land them in Hell unless they repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Sin is the problem and Christ is the solution, Evangelical preachers say. Yet, even after Evangelicals are “saved,” they still have a sin problem. Wait a minute. I thought the moment people ask Jesus to save them, the Holy Spirit comes into their hearts, becoming their teacher and guide. I thought when sinners are “born from above” they become new creations, old things are passed away and all things become new. If saved Evangelicals are still sinners, what, exactly, did Jesus save them from?
What do we know about Evangelical Christians? They live no differently from the way non-Christians live. They sin in the same ways and to the same degree as the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. There’s no evidence that suggests that Evangelicals are better people than their unsaved family, friends, and neighbors. Oh, Evangelicals love to self-righteously portray themselves as pillars of morality and virtue. Yet, let their “sins” be exposed for all to see, they all of a sudden want to be viewed as the sinners they condemned before their “fall.” Nobody’s perfect or I’m just a sinner saved by grace or God’s not finished with me yet, Evangelicals say.
It’s the idea of falling into sin I want to address in this post. Let an Evangelical get caught fucking his neighbor or stealing money from his employer, and he will say he “fell” into sin. Let a church secretary have an affair with her pastor, and she will say she “fell” into sin. Let a youth pastor have sex with a church teen, and he will say he “fell” into sin. Let an evangelist get drunk and commit vehicular manslaughter, and he will say he “fell” into sin. All this falling going on, it’s a wonder Evangelicals can metaphorically walk on their own two feet. All sorts of excuses are given for their “fall.” Preachers, in particular, are notorious for making excuses for their sin, especially sexual sin.
Saying someone “fell” into sin suggests that they were passive participants in their sin or that he or she accidentally stumbled into committing adultery, fornication, incest, sexual abuse, or rape (the common sins featured in the Black Collar Crime Series). Acts of passion, violence, and greed are portrayed as accidental behaviors. Why is this?
Evangelicals are taught they are helpless beings, unable to do good on their own. So how better to explain their sins than saying they “fell.” Which is strange to hear when knowing Evangelicals endlessly drone on about personal responsibility. They want other people to be responsible for their sins — especially abortionists, LGBTQ people, and Black Lives Matter protesters — yet when they find their dicks stuck in the proverbial sticky wickets, they want to be viewed as weak, helpless people who somehow fell into sin.
People don’t fall into sin. They walk or run with eyes wide open towards sin. This is true for atheists and Christians alike. We sin because we want to. Sure, there are all sorts of reasons for why people do the things they do, but we choose to sin or not sin. I have a choice to be moral, ethical, and honest. If I choose to do otherwise (and I have), it’s not because I passively choose this path. With eyes wide open, I choose . . .
That’s why I have little patience for Evangelicals who frame their sin as “falling.” Own your behavior. Admit why you decided to sin. There’s nothing more pathetic than Evangelicals who simply cannot fess up to their sins. I have written numerous stories about Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers committing sex crimes. Their justifications for their crimes almost always blame other people. She tempted me. I was exhausted. I had health problems. I was under a lot of stress at the church. My wife didn’t keep herself up. My blood sugar was low. I have yet to hear a preacher say, I was horny. I saw what I wanted and took it. What’s worse are church members who defend their pastor’s sins. She was a slut. She was almost 18. She dressed provocatively. She came on to him. And on and on it goes.
If the Holy Spirit lives inside every Evangelical, teaching and guiding them in ALL truth and godliness, why do they so easily fall into sin? Shouldn’t the still small voice of the Holy Ghost be telling Evangelicals NOT to sin before they do so? Why, it almost seems as if human will is more powerful than God himself; that God is powerless to stop Evangelicals from sinning.
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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