There is no hierarchy of sin

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about whether or not it is a sin to drink alcohol raised by the dismissal of Perry Noble from his pastorate for abuse of the same. Biblically speaking, I pointed out the use of alcohol is permitted, but its abuse and drunkenness are sins.

Any liberty afforded the believer in Scripture is to be exercised responsibly and that includes the use of alcohol. There are circumstances in which it is wiser to abstain than imbibe.

This is where Perry failed to exercise wisdom. To his credit, he honestly admitted his fault, “in the past year or so I have allowed myself to slide into, in my opinion, the overuse of alcohol.”

Probably aware that his removal would be rife with rumor, he added, “Let me be very clear, neither [my wife] nor I have committed any sort of sexual sin. I have not stolen money. I have not been looking at porn and there was absolutely no domestic abuse.” Perry seemed to be simply trying to dismiss any possible suspicions that might compound and confuse what had happened.

Craig Gross took issue with Perry’s statement. Craig ranted, “in case you haven’t caught it, let me make it clear: Noble is saying that being consumed by alcohol is not as bad as having an affair or beating up your spouse. Or looking at porn.”

That is not what Perry said; Craig twisted Perry’s words and lied. Craig founded the a ministry dedicated to helping those addicted to sex and pornography. So when it comes to porn and sexual sin he may have a chip on his shoulders, but it does not give him the right to lie. Perry never said, or even inferred one sin is worse than another

If I were asked to describe God’s nature in one word it would be holy. He possesses a righteousness that is humanly unapproachable and only feebly understood. All sins are committed against Him and none is worse than another from the divine perspective.

From the human perspective it is a different matter. We treat different sins (those that are also crimes) with different penalties. Stealing a car, a property crime, is punished differently by the criminal justice system than a murder committed on a person. Each has a different outcome and subsequently differing consequences.

Craig seemed to struggle grammatically to understand what Perry was actually saying, but if he wants to criticize Perry he has the responsibility to first know exactly what Perry said and not misquote him. Craig should have practiced the unwritten beatitude, “Blessed is he who has nothing to say, and cannot be persuaded to say it.”

Craig would have been wise to “be quick to hear, slow to speak,” James 1:19, because lying is as much a sin in the eyes of God as drunkenness is.


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