Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Heresy and Sin

Imagine when confronting a heresy was as dramatic as the painting posted yesterday and today of St. Augustine doing just that. We still like, on occasion, to think we are dramatically heretical-heretics for the sake of heresy-but, I believe, thinking ourselves so just marginalizes us more and more.
Better the way of positive affirmation-even of sin. Thus Rufus Ellis on "The Way They Call Heresy" (continued from yesterday)

"3. Again, the people called Unitarians are agreed in confining the word " sin" to conscious wrongdoing, and in declaring that such wrong-doing is the worst of calamities here and hereafter, and that there is no salvation worthy of the name which does not promise and go on to accomplish for us a complete deliverance from conscious wrong-doing. " His name shall be called Jesus, because He shall save His people from their sins." It is simply in loyalty to this practical conviction that we protest against all dogmas about birth-sin, and a righteousness which is ours by some theological fiction. We see that we have a lower nature as well as a higher nature, and that we inherit evil tendencies from sinful parents; but we say with the Apostle, " Whosoever knoweth to do good and doeth it not," to him, and to him alone, it is more than a misfortune, more than an infirmity, — it is a sin. And we are satisfied that we must put away sin or die; and that it can be put away only as with the help of God in Christ, we subject the lower nature to the higher, and make that lower nature a blessing through obedience. For us our divine religion, with all its wondrous divine means and its holy mysteries, is unto righteousness. Does the Saviour from His cross pronounce our sins forgiven ? — it is that we may go and sin no more. Do we by baptism declare our children children of God ? — it is that they may live divine lives, and be children indeed through the Spirit of holiness. Do we gather about the Lord's Table ? — it is that we may be enabled to grow into His blameless life. All names and forms are secondary and subsidiary to the creation of character.
And so, at the risk sometimes of seeming to make light of names and forms and doctrines, we put the supreme emphasis upon character, and strive to save men in their sins only that we may save them from, their sins. We hold that the supremely good is the supremely sacred; that only what is sinful is profane: and so find in our Christianity the hope of the triumph, however remote, of all good,— that hope which is the inspiration of modern art, science, literature, government."

"The hope of the triumph...of all good" That is a heresy I can embrace. Blessings

1 comment:

Robin Edgar said...

Well I like tom think that I am doing my bit as an "excommunicated" Unitarian "heretic". . .