Reflection on Humanity and Sin

We saw early in the quarter that the doctrine of God is a serious contemporary issue in our culture. The 'doctrine' of humanity is even more widely contested. Some of the most divisive controversies in western churches and western societies concern what is sin and what is not, what is tolerable and what is not, and what it does and does not mean to be human. These play out differently in our different churches, denominations, and wider subcultures. Would they play out differently with greater attention paid to orthodox doctrines of humanity and sin?

Review the course materials on the doctrines of humanity and sin, and read the material on depravity for the final class session. As you do, consider an issue, or set of related issues, playing out in your tradition. (Note well: I am not here speaking of your local church, but the greater tradition in which you and your local church are located. It may be a 'denomination,' or a theological or cultural 'clan,' or a stream as broad as American evangelicalism itself. But it needs to be greater than your local community.)

Craft a message to some concerned party (a denominational leader? an opinion leader? session? the rest of your staff?) describing how the doctrines of humanity, sin, depravity, and/or grace can inform, shift, correct, or affect the course of this issue in fruitful ways in this tradition.

You will of course want to draw on course materials — I am thinking of lectures, WCC, Oxford Companion, Barth, and Barron — and perhaps others if you find them useful.

Please keep your paper 3-4 pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers. Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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