Thought I am writing this post, I still want people to comment more on the Part 2 of the Objections of the Christianity. So don’t ignore that! But I thought I would write about a conversation we had at our last College group meeting. Right now we’re going through “Pilgrim’s Progress”, and just finished the section where Faithful and Christian run across Talkative.
Talkative is a very interesting character in the book, and like most of Bunyan’s characters, can be known by his name. Talkative likes to talk a lot. He believes it is enough just to hear the Word of God and talk about it, but fails to live it out with his life. He can talk about any religious topic with the best of them, but he has failed to connect it to the way that he lives his life.
Christian catches on to who Talkative really is and recognizes him from the city of Destruction, where he too is from. He tells Faithful who Talkative really is and challenges Faithful to speak of the power of religion. That is, he tells him to discuss how religion impacts the believer on the day to day. So Faithful eventually gets into a great discussion about the difference between ‘crying out’ against sin and ‘abhorring’ sin.
Faithful, when asked what’s the difference, says this,
“Oh! a great deal; a man may cry out against sin, of policy; but he cannot abhor it, but by vertue of a godly antipathy against it: I have heard many cry out against sin in the Pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the heart, and house, and conversation. Joseph’s Mistris cried out with a loud voice, as if she had been very holy; but she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him. Some cry out against sin, even as the Mother cries out against her Child in her lap, when she calleth it slut, and naughty Girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.”
Sorry if anyone was offended by the language, but that is what he wrote. Mind you, it was written in 1678.
I think that the American believer could do very well to listen to Faithful’s words. There is a huge difference between crying out against sin and abhoring it, and I have seen the temptation to just cry out against it in my own life. We recognize it is wrong, but largely fail to run it through and kill it in our hearts.
I saw this pretty clearly at this past Hume Lake high school camp. It seemed like once a day, the movie “300” was being referenced as a casual illustration. But from everything that I know, there are a few very inappropriate parts of the movie. They aren’t ‘grey areas’, but to the discerning heart, should be clearly sin. But here is the speaker referencing the movie. And any speaker knows that when you reference a movie, its basically a recommendation to see it. Did the speaker actually see the movie? i don’t know, but I do know that there were many cheers throughout the chapel whenever he spoke of it.
When God has truly convicted someone of sin, they shouldn’t just cry out against sin, but should truly abhor it. There should be no exception clauses enacted or popularity polls taken to see if it is popular enough to excuse.
And I can’t help but think how much more potent the American Church would be if we truly did abhor sin, and not entertain it and domesticate it like the harmless house cat. We think we can declaw the animal and it won’t be harmful anymore. But the more we pet and protect our sin, the more powerful and hungry it gets for more. It is time to no longer to merely cry out against sin, but to abhor it and declare war on the sin that still comes around, tempting the soul, and robbing it of the joy promised through obedience in Christ.