by Bob Wickizer

Tackling the Bible
Bob Wickizer
Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15

''For Christ also suffered for sins once for all''

Mention one religious term and you are likely to run into a storm of controversy and misunderstanding. Consider the term ''sin'' we just heard in these towering words from Peter.

Catholic theology - mortal and venial

Protestant theology - notorious (in the prayer book disciplinary rubric)

Grievous (in the confessional)

American - The only kind of sin that matters involve sex

(started by a 19th century politician)

OR the only sin that matters is if I get caught.

Over the centuries we have added layers of meaning to an important term and taken it far away from the original concept. At least in the United States if we really acknowledge our own sins at all, such acknowledgement is typically a time for personal guilt rather than growth.

Sin in Greek - ha martia ... archery term.

You've either fallen short of your potential or you over-reached

I find it enormously liberating to go back to the original term so that I can use the acknowledgement of my sins as an occasion for reflection and growth.

From here I want to tackle the most difficult and tender subject of all Christian belief. This is something I have struggled with for decades. I have doubted and I still doubt. This might be the underpinning of your own Christian hope so I raise this subject from the pulpit very tenderly recognizing the importance of this theological doctrine. Today I ask your permission and your forgiveness. My intent is not to tear down anyone's faith but to simply pose the questions so that those of us who go from here wrestling with this may be made stronger for it.

''For Christ also suffered for sins once for all.'' The five dollar seminary term for this is ''the atoning sacrifice of Christ.'' We have to remember that Jesus was Jewish f ...

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