A Letter from
I thought, as perhaps some of you did, that making an issue on the seven deadly sins was an interesting choice. It’s not something one hears very often, at least in Protestant circles. Drew Friesen our Editor-in-Chief noted that many Protestants only refer to list jokingly, if at all. It does not carry much weight for Protestants. Yet there is a rich Christian tradition behind this list of sins, and a long history of Christian philosophy and theology surrounding these vices.
Through this issue, we hoped to show you “what’s behind the list,” as Drew put it. All our writers come from different perspectives and backgrounds. Some wrote from a historical perspective, others from a biblical one, still others wrote psychologically and philosophically. Yet we wrote about these seven deadly sins. What we contend is that they still have relevance today, they still visit us profoundly and shape us whether we see them or not. Then why not see them?
Throughout church history these sins have stood out as well springs of evil which derail God’s story. Pride has been understood as the sin which caused the world to fall, Lucifer exalted himself above God—a sin which we are prone to as well. Wrath can cause us to trade God’s story of shalom for our own by using our anger to bring about the righteousness that God desires (Jas 1:10). Envy contorts our view of the world, causing us to filter everything through merit and revile or envy the sight of goodness given to someone we deem undeserving of it. Lust and sloth pervert and impede our longing and desire for love and belonging, giving us empty substitutes. Gluttony and greed voraciously take without remorse and give nothing back. The church has seen these vices as unique in their ability to derail God’s trajectory for the world. We should be wary of these sins too. They are telling a different story of the word. They reward their members for participating in this story just as they destroy their lives. True, no sin should be taken lightly, but perhaps it would be wise to take some cues from the church and pay attention to these sins which we have tried to explain here.
As Christians, we seek to partner with God in the writing of His story and the coming of His kingdom. We seek his virtues. We love righteousness and hate lawlessness (Heb.1:9). So let us examine lawlessness and be alert. “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7b NIV). These sins desire to have us. They desire to bring us into their world, their darkness, their desert. They desire to lure us out of the garden and out of the kingdom into our own kingdom and our own story. But if we are wise and discerning, it is we who can rule over them and tell a new story; partnering with God in His kingdom and being faithful to His story.