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It’s God who decides what is sinful and what is not

And while I am on the subject of the old ways versus the new, people today are increasingly approaching the business of finding a church in much the same way that they would go about buying a car or a house, or even the weekend’s groceries.

The consumer culture has been extending itself into the ecclesiastical realm for more than a decade—transforming America into what might best be described as a nation of church shoppers. Like consumers in the secular world, church shoppers prowl the outlets (i.e. churches of the various jurisdictions and denominations) and surf the Internet searching for the best possible deal.

Aesthetic considerations often rank high on the list. However shopping for liturgical satisfaction is one thing. But shopping for convenience of belief, however, is quite another. Even so it is what large numbers of people seem to be doing. It might be reasonable enough if the “shoppers” were actually seeking enlightenment, but many, in fact, are hunting around for the best deal on sin. They aren’t seeking enlightenment. They have made up their minds already. They’re looking for is a parson who will affirm whatever they deem to be “sinful” or “non-sinful.” Come up with an answer that doesn’t appeal, that’s the last you’ll see of them.

This consumer-oriented approach to the faith offers rich fields of endeavor for clergymen with none too many scruples. Sadly, however, honest parsons have a much tougher time.

The problem is that defining sin isn’t the clergy’s job at all. It is God who defines sin—and he did that many thousands of years ago. You’ll find his ideas on the subject in a handy dandy little consumers’ guide called the Bible.

It doesn’t matter a hang what I, or any other human being, thinks about sin. The only opinion that counts is God’s. And it is his opinion we need to worry about. If God approves of something, there’s no need to ponder any further.

The Church, you see, hasn’t been given the job of deciding what’ s sinful and what’ s not. The Church’ s business is the forgiveness of sins—and that’s a horse of an entirely different color. GPH✠

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