This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Original blessing

I’m sure Augustine taught and did many laudable things (“Why We Should Reconsider Augustine” by Brad Roth, June 29). But he also officiated at a wedding I wish had never been consummated: a marriage between sex and sin, which has caused great damage and trauma to Christians.

Augustine taught that sexual desire is sinful and that the resulting infant is infected with “original sin,” which is innate, with no free will to resist. Our beautiful bodies, which God made and called very good, are made to seem ugly and sinful.

After 1,600 years, we are still struggling to recover from such unfortunate teaching. Although there were many Christian think­ers and bishops who opposed Augustine’s views, he won in the end, perhaps partly because his teaching made every human being, even newborn babies, sinners in need of the church’s services — baptism, confession, absolution of sin — not sin of evil behavior but sin incurred at conception and birth.

I suggest we leave the doctrine of “original sin” in the dust bin and embrace instead the belief in “original blessing.”

John Asa Hertzler
Harrisonburg, Va.

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